Paleo Pad Thai

paleo pad thai

I hadn’t made this recipe since we originally published it back in September of 2010…but I still agree with my 2010 self when I said, “This has to be one of my all-time favorite recipes.”  Zucchinis are pretty tasteless on their own, so a strongly flavored sauce as the base, and a texture that isn’t quite noodle-like, but seemingly similar, makes this dish work really, really well. For kids (the picky ones that don’t like the color green in their food), you could peel the zucchini, then proceed with the rest of the recipe, and I betcha they wouldn’t even realize these aren’t real noodles.


  • 1/4 c fat (butter or coconut oil)
  • 2-3 zucchinis
  • 1 onion, finely diced
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 T apple cider vinegar
  • 2 T fresh ginger, minced
  • 3 T almond butter
  • 1 T chili garlic sauce
  • 1 T fish sauce
  • 1 lime, juiced
  • s&p


If you have a mandoline, get it out and start slicing the zuchinnis lengthwise. If you don’t have one, you can get one on the cheap at TJ Maxx or you can get it from Amazon or you can use a knife to slice the zukes as thinly as you can (lengthwise). Slice the slices into thin strips, just like the shape of a spaghetti noodle. Another option, for speed, lack of the proper tools or sheer laziness, you can just chop the zukes into chunks. Not quite the same effect, but same flavor.

Over medium heat, melt your fat of choice. Saute the onion, garlic and ginger, until soft. Add the fish sauce, chili sauce, vinegar, lime juice, almond butter and a bit of salt. Stir to combine.

Add the zuke noodles to the saute pan. Stir them around to get the sauce incoporated onto the “zoodles”. The point here is get the zoodles hot and very slightly cooked through (just like an al dente noodle!), about 10 minutes.

Serve hot. Any kind of grilled or pan seared meat or seafood would go really well with this.

114 thoughts on “Paleo Pad Thai

  1. Danielle Cailliau Reply

    Thank you so much for posting this recipe!! I didn’t use your sauce recipe, but adapted the concept for what I had on hand. Using zucchini for noodles will forever change my life. I used my husbands potato slicer that he uses to make homemade fries and it worked out perfectly. The noodles were shorter and thicker but had the same feel as shanghai noodles. Yum. I made just enough for myself for supper and the kids were begging me to let me try it too so my supper ended up being split 4 ways :) anyway, zoodles are a genius concept! Thank you for posting!

  2. Becky Reply

    Must add my voice to the happy chorus of folks who are thanking you for this! What a bright spot in a sometimes blah Paleo world! I messed with it, as one does with all good recipes, but am delighted to say that your recipe rises to the occasion wonderfully. Am sharing it with my readers, linking to you.

  3. Ben Reply

    Just made this tonight, exactly to recipe (adding small cubed chicken).. freaking STELLAR. I have always had a huge weakspot for chicken pad thai, and even before we switched to primal eating I always knew it was a bad bad weakspot. Always left the restaurants feeling like hell, basically just eating a plate full of gutbomb.

    This recipe is total perfection. I just had an enormous plate of the best chicken pad thai I’ve tasted, and feel great. I don’t think I’ll ever crave the restaurant noodle versions again. Thank you so much!

  4. Dania Welch Reply

    I would like to try this recipe but will need to look for the garlic chili sauce and fish sauce to see what’s in them. There are not ones I typically buy so not sure what they consist of. I just found your site so I’m hoping to try a recipe this week. Thanks.

  5. Tina R Reply

    This looks amazing!
    I’m going to make it this weekend.

    Q: How many servings does your recipe make?

    Do you have a calorie count on it, just curious..


    • megan keatley Reply

      hi tina. it’s so hard for us to say how many servings something makes, as it all depends on how much of it you eat at one time. i try to make enough for 1 hungry man + 1 portion conscious female + leftovers.

      there are a few calorie/nutrition calculators out on the web. is one.

  6. Jess Reply

    This was so so good. It tasted like restaurant food and that rarely happens when I am the cook. I used two zucchinis and it was a little too much sauce. Can’t wait to make it again with three. Thank you!

  7. oly Reply

    This was really good even though I didn’t have lime, garlic sauce or the vinegar. delicious.

  8. Emily Reply

    This. Is. Incredibly. Tasty!!! My zucchini hating boyfriend is asking for it at least once weekly, and has since changed his feelings about that misunderstood squash. We’re making it again tonight, this time with a little ground turkey added to the party. So damn good.

  9. Rachel E Reply

    I just made this with chicken and it is SOOO delicious! Thank you for posting. :) I only used 1 Tbs of coconut oil and it was great. Also, I thinly sliced the chicken breast and threw it in when the onions were almost done cooking, which worked out well. I’ll definitely make it again when I’m craving pad thai!

  10. Amanda Reply

    Another amazing dinner thanks to you!!!
    I’ve decided to have a “health-bent” day of the week.. trying a new recipe of yours at least once a week until we’ve tried them all.

  11. Bena Reply

    We love this recipe!! Especially my carb-loving 5 & 6 year olds. I am a happy momma when I can get them to happily eat more veggies!

  12. Megan Reply

    Hi there. I am eager to try this recipe- looking at cooking it later this week. Before I do though, can you tell me where to look for fish sauce and chili garlic sauce? In the spices section? or with ethnic foods?

    I live in a small town, so I’m crossing my fingers that they have it!

  13. Carla Reply

    This is by far the best paleo pad thai (or any pad thai, for that matter) recipe I’ve ever made. This will definitely become one of my staples!

  14. Stephanie Reply

    This was excellent. I am usually really skeptical trying new recipes I come across online because 8 times out of 10 I am disappointed. However, I loved this. I doubled the sauce, added sliced turkey breast, and used about 10 medium organic zucchini’s. It was perfect. I could have easily added more zucchini to make it go further with plenty of sauce to spare. I loved the “al dente”-ness of the zucchini.

  15. Jenny Reply

    GUYS! i made this today. Tasted like my step moms, and shes thai

  16. Danielle Reply

    I used a spirooli to make noodles out of the zucchini. This was a great recipe!

  17. Shelley Reply

    My husband and I just made this and it was SO delicious! This will be a staple in our household going forward. My husband liked the residual sauce so much he spooned it all over his pork. Thank you for all your fantastic recipes, it makes eating paleo so much easier (and tastier) for non-creative folks like myself:).

  18. Andrea Frey Reply

    This was so delish! I added shredded cabbage, chopped some carrots, and then added an egg at the end and mixed it with everything…amazing!

  19. Jess Reply

    Wow!!! This was a mind blowing event….better than the “real” stuff IMHO! Made with some big yellw crookneck squash. And they slurped great too, as my kiddos happily discovered ;)

  20. Brett Deutscher Reply

    My husband thought the the zucchini were noodles….this was fantastic. My only issue was the sauce wasn’t liquidy so I added some water. Any suggestions??
    I want to make this regularly…thanks!!

  21. Unimaginative Reply

    I made this tonight and am eating it right now. Delicious! (I added thawed shrimp before adding the noodles).

  22. Pooja @ Running the Body Reply

    I had my doubts when I was making this because it just seemed too simple…but it was INCREDIBLE. i haven’t been able to eat pad thai in over a year and i am so thrilled to now have a recipe that’s better than any pad thai dish i’ve tried at a restaurant–i was practically licking my bowl clean! i used two fairly large zucchinis and about half the coconut oil recommended, but that’s it. LOVE this. thank you!

  23. Jennifer S Reply

    Made this and it really was great. If you have one of those julienne peelers it will make the zucchini look like the rice noodles. Excellent flavor. Thanks for this recipe!!

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