Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Paleo Pad Thai

My first couple of months following a Paleo lifestyle, I was obsessed with searching online for recipes. I looked up just about every possible dish, sticking a "primal" or "paleo" in front of it in the search box.

As time has gone on, I've gotten more comfortable with the diet and preparing meals for it. I've also refined the technique of cooking Paleo for myself even if the crowd I'm feeding isn't down with cave cuisine.

I know it's almost blasphemous to some to imagine that I do feed my children non-Paleo food. I have never served up processed "white" foods, but my kids do still get brown rice pasta, some Ezekiel bread and organic yogurt and cheese. They eat Paleo more often than they're probably aware, and as I'm in nutrition school are much better versed in healthy food choices than most kids their age.

Meanwhile, the caveman has two sons of his own, one of whom I'd term a pickier eater. While they both like my cooking, if I go *too* far outside their comfort zone it just doesn't fly. Thus my "confession": I never, ever prepare more than one dinner. I think parents who treat mealtime like they're short order cooks are ridiculous. I do, however, sometimes prepare dishes that might wind up in different forms depending on whose dish I'm filling.

For example, I have a Paleo Pad Thai recipe from Health Bent that both the caveman and I love. I've made it a bunch of times, but frankly it's not at all like traditional Pad Thai (and is a bit too spicy for my kids).

I made my own traditional Pad Thai recipe, which I created for my healthy family cooking site. Made with gluten-free soy or coconut aminos, palm sugar and cooked in olive or coconut oil it is totally Paleo-friendly. The only glaring exception, naturally, is the noodles.

Tonight I made a double batch, but in one wok cooked up brown rice noodles, and in the other zucchini ones. The kids all got some of my zucchini, but I didn't have the noodles. I didn't exhaust or annoy myself by whipping up separate dishes, and no one even noticed the contents of my bowl were a little bit different.

If you can forgive me for even cooking up the noodles for others, I do highly recommend my Pad Thai recipe. The sauce is pretty authentic tasting; if you tend to like things spicy, add some crushed red pepper flakes or chile garlic sauce.

Paleo Chicken Pad Thai

2 tbs. palm sugar
2 tbs. freshly squeezed lime juice
3 tbs. fish sauce
1 tbs. rice vinegar
2 tbs. GF soy sauce or coconut aminos
2 eggs, lightly beaten
3 tbs. coconut or olive oil
6 chopped scallions
1 small diced red pepper
2 small zucchini, cut into noodles with a mandoline
3 cloves of garlic, minced
1 lb. chicken breast, cut into small pieces
for topping: finely chopped cashews, minced cilantro and lime wedges

Combine palm  sugar through soy sauce in a small bowl, stirring to combine with a small whisk or fork.

Heat 1 tbs. oil in wok or skillet over medium heat. Add beaten egg and cook until dry, breaking up into small pieces with a wooden spoon. Remove and set aside.

Heat remaining 2 tbs. oil in skillet and add red pepper, scallions and garlic. Cook for one minute before adding chicken, then cook for five minutes or until meat is no longer pink.

Add zucchini noodles to pan. It might be helpful to use two utensils to thoroughly incorporate them. Cook for a few minutes.

Add sauce and combine well, again cooking for a couple of minutes. Stir in egg, cook for one final minute.

Top with chopped nuts and minced cilantro, plus a generous squirt of lime juice.