Pad Thai Salad

PrimalPad Thai is a favorite take-out dish for many, but when it arrives tasting too sweet, oily, and starchy it’s not worth the splurge. When ordering Pad Thai, you can ask restaurants to hold the peanuts, but you’ll have less luck asking them to leave out sugar, vegetable oil, or rice noodles. Especially rice noodles, since they make up most of the dish.

Although rice noodles aren’t the worst noodles out there, it’s possible to enjoy the sweet, funky flavor of Pad Thai without them. Made without noodles, refined oil, or too much sugar, this Pad Thai salad is a winner. Crunchy purple cabbage and bean sprouts are tossed with egg and shrimp and a bold dressing inspired by the flavors of traditional Pad Thai.
Still craving those noodles? Then go ahead and toss rice noodles into the salad, too.

Time in the Kitchen: 25 minutes

Servings: 2



  • 1 small purple cabbage, thinly shredded
  • 2 cups bean sprouts (155 g)
  • 2 tablespoons fish sauce (30 ml)
  • 2 tablespoons coconut aminos (30 ml)
  • 1 tablespoon maple syrup (15 ml)
  • 1 tablespoon lime juice (15 ml)
  • ¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes (1.2 ml)
  • 3 tablespoons avocado oil (45 ml)
  • 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 2 teaspoons finely chopped ginger (10 ml)
  • 1 small shallot, finely chopped
  • 1 egg, whisked
  • 12 to 16 ounces raw shrimp, peeled and deveined (340 g to 455 g)
  • Optional: fresh mint and cilantro for garnish


Cooking ingredients

In a large bowl, toss together cabbage and bean sprouts. Set aside.

In a small bowl, whisk fish sauce, coconut aminos, maple syrup, lime juice and red pepper flakes. Set aside.

Heat avocado oil in a wok or large skillet over medium-high heat. Add garlic, ginger and shallot. Sauté for two minutes.

Push the garlic, ginger and shallot to the side and pour the egg into the skillet. Stir just until the egg begins to set (about 30 seconds). Add shrimp, continuing to stir and break up the egg, until the shrimp are just turning pink (about 3 minutes).

Pour the fish sauce mixture into the skillet. Rapidly simmer 2 to 3 minutes, until shrimp are cooked through. Pour everything in the skillet over the cabbage and bean sprouts. Toss well, and serve. Add fresh herbs if desired.


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8 thoughts on “Pad Thai Salad”

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  1. I do Primal Thai all the time and. I used to use roasted cashews as a peanut replacement because they add a sweetness necessary for balanced Thai flavors. Lately I have discovered Thai Chili Lime Almonds at Trader Joes. Just chop them up and use as topping before serving. No roasting step necessary. Also Napa cabbage is a good noodle substitute I shred a whole head and stir fry in bacon drippings and a little fish sauce.

    1. I use the chili lime cashews at TGs and you’re right, they totally make the dish! I also add zucchini noodles and a bit more lime so it tastes kind of like a green papaya salad.

  2. Sounds amazing…need to get some fish sauce! Seems to be the ingredient that pulls everything together in some of these Asian inspired dishes.

  3. The Thai restaurant I ate at most often served green beans in their Pad Thai so I just replaced the egg noodles with pan roasted green beans when I started eating low carb. I do still use peanuts in Asian dishes that call for them because it really isn’t very much and I don’t eat those dishes frequently. That’s an 80/20 call for me.

  4. This is a fantastic sub and it gives me few other ideas as to how I can get creative with the recipe. I’ll need to test this out! 🙂

  5. Wow this is a great idea, thanks Mark! I so often crave a good pad thai. Will clearly try this. For those who like it more authentic and with a zing, i’d add a bit of tamarind paste in there, a key ingredient of a good pad thai. Usually can be used raw or cooked.

  6. Wow, n I love Thai food and, these seem healthy and tasty so tonight I am definitely gonna try this.
    Thank you for sharing such recipe.