What are you cooking these days? I’m hardly cooking at all because it’s been relentlessly hot and all I want to eat for most meals is a big salad and some fresh fruit. This Cucumber Noodle Pad Thai recipe was my attempt to switch up the rather boring baby spinach and bean salad that’s been happening on repeat, and also use the giant cucumber I bought at our farmer’s market…while still not turning on my oven.
Swapping the usual rice noodles for vegetables makes for a seriously refreshing (and hydrating!) take on Pad Thai that will leave you feeling both satisfied and a little cooler temperature-wise, despite whatever crazy humidity the weather is currently throwing your way. I like to use a combination of cucumber and zucchini noodles for variety and texture, and because I feel like I’ve been drowning in zucchini this month. Just give the zucchini noodles a quick sauté on the stovetop to make them tender.
Like everything I make, I’ve gone super minimal with the sauce: 3 ingredients, mix, pour. Produce is so good right now, it really needs very little fussing.
- 1½ tablespoons soy sauce (if gluten-free, sub tamari)
- 1½ tablespoons sweet chili sauce
- 2 teaspoons rice wine vinegar
- 2 tablespoons toasted sesame oil, divided
- 1 medium-large zucchini, spiralized
- sea salt, to taste
- 1 medium-large cucumber, spiralized
- 1 small head broccoli (florets only), chopped small
- 1 cup bean sprouts
- 3 scallions, divided and sliced
- 2 medium cloves garlic, minced
- ½ cup lightly salted roasted peanuts, crushed
- 1 small bunch fresh cilantro, chopped
- lime wedges and sriracha
- Make the sauce: Add all of the ingredients to a small bowl and stir to combine. Set aside.
- Make the noodles: Heat a large skillet over medium heat. Add 1 tablespoon of sesame oil followed by the zucchini noodles to the skillet. Lightly season with salt and cook stirring occasionally until just barely tender, about 2 minutes. Transfer the noodles to a large serving bowl, making sure to drain off any excess liquid. Set aside.
- Cook the vegetables: Add the remaining 1 tablespoon of sesame oil to the skillet, followed by the broccoli. Cook until tender but crisp, about 3 minutes. Add the bean sprouts, 2 of the sliced scallions, and garlic. Cook for 2 minutes, stirring every 30 seconds. Add the sauce and stir to evenly coat. Season with salt to taste, then turn off the heat and transfer to the bowl of zucchini noodles. Add the spiralized cucumber and toss to combine. Season with salt once more.
- Divide into bowls and top with peanuts, cilantro, remaining scallion, and a squeeze of fresh lime juice. Drizzle with sriracha.
Peanut oil is also delicious in place of the toasted sesame oil.
If you're gluten-free, be sure to check the ingredients on the sweet chili sauce as some weirdly contain wheat. I use this gluten-free sweet chili sauce.
If you'd like to increase the protein in your pad thai, edamame or baked tofu is delicious.
Recipe adapted from my Vegetable Pad Thai Lettuce Wraps with Tempeh and Zucchini Noodle Lo Mein.