Paleo Shrimp Pad Thai (Sorta)

Shrimp Paleo Pad Thai
This is another Well Fed win, so I can't take full credit for it. I keep messing with the recipes depending on what I have on hand, so this is somewhat different from the original. It's not authentic whatsoever. In fact, Pad Thai is a misleading name. It's more like a peanut curry (without the curry). It is what it is... and it's more than edible.
I don't trust myself to make non-mushy spaghetti squash as it calls for in the original recipe, so I decided to create this with shaved Brussels sprouts, baby bella mushrooms and snap peas as the veggie base. Snap peas?! But legumes are on the no-no list! Well, green beans and snap peas are mostly pod so they are allowed. That's good enough for me.
Also, let's talk about coconut aminos, something that has resurrected Asian food in paleo-world. With soy and wheat on the ingredient list, soy sauce and tamari are both out for the Whole30. However, at Whole Foods (or Amazon—I like the Coconut Secret brand) you can buy a substitute called coconut aminos. You guessed it—it's made with coconut sap. Honestly, I doubt I'll ever be dipping my sashimi in coconut aminos (yelch). The flavor is distinctly not soy sauce-y, but I'm really happy to have it for things like this dish where it's not the star ingredient. It does its job well.

Shrimp Pad Thai

Paleo and Whole30-approved
Almond Sauce (adapted from Well Fed's Sunshine Sauce):
  • 2 T lemon juice (lime is better if you have it though!)
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1/2 tsp crushed red pepper
  • 1 T coconut aminos (soy sauce substitute)
  • 1/4 tsp powdered ginger
  • 1/2 tsp rice vinegar
  • 1/4 cup almond butter (add some salt if you have the unsalted kind)
  • 1/4 cup coconut milk
Mix all these things in a food processor until smooth, then set it aside.
Pad Thai (Sorta) for Two:
  • 1 batch of sauce (you may not even use it all, depending on your preference)
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 tsp coconut aminos
  • coconut oil (for cooking)
  • 1/2 cup leeks, chopped (or a 1/2 a medium onion, sliced thinly)
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • Brussels sprouts or cabbage, chopped or shaved thinly
  • Two big handfuls of snap peas, sliced lengthwise
  • 7 baby bella mushrooms, quartered or sliced
  • about a 1/2 lb shrimp
  • Cajun seasoning (I know, it's weird... but it adds a non-competing flavor kick to the shrimp)
  • Lemon juice
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Optional: Cilantro, green onion, crushed cashews/almonds and a lime for garnish

Egg crepes come first! This was unexpectedly one of my favorite parts of the dish. Heat a little bit of coconut oil in a medium size nonstick pan on medium high. Scramble one egg with 1 tsp coconut aminos and then pour it into the pan. Let it spread out like a thin crepe and cover the whole bottom of the pan. It only takes a minute or two for this to cook. Once it starts browning on the bottom and is fully set on the top, take it out of the pan and set it aside. Repeat to make a second crepe for your dinner date.

Then veggies. In the same pan, heat some more oil and throw in the Brussels sprouts until they are starting to caramelize a little. Then add the mushrooms. Wait a minute. Then the garlic, snap peas and leeks and let this saute until the snap peas are cooked crisp tender. Overdone snap peas are pretty gross. Take this out of the pan and set aside for a hot minute. Don't worry, they won't be off the heat very long.

Now, shrimp. In the same pan, heat a little more oil and throw in the shrimp (dusted with Cajun seasoning), turning as soon as they are half opaque (this takes 2-3 minutes). Once you flip them, then throw all the still-hot veggies back into the pan. Pour in the sauce and stir to coat. Try not to disturb the shrimp until they are done cooking. It doesn't take long.

Pile some of this Thai-inspired goodness onto each egg crepe, top with your garnish of choice and you're in business.

Other notes, ideas and uses:

  • You can easily sub chicken or pork (beef might be too much). Those would both make better leftovers than the shrimp, which I prefer to be cooked right before eating.
  • This would also make a great vegetarian dish with extra veggies instead of the meat.
  • The egg crepes would be wonderful with moo shoo pork or even just for breakfast.

Still listening? Good. It's delicious.