I love take-out just as much as the next person, but I don’t like how I usually feel afterwards.
The last few times we’ve gotten take-out, I ended up with a terrible headache and felt bloated.
Who wants that?
So I set out to come up with a recipe that satisfied my take-out cravings without the unfriendly consequences.
Swapping out the rice for spaghetti squash, I slashed the carbohydrate content by over 20 grams per serving. No more needing a nap after eating something like this! My blood sugar stays nice and steady.
Spaghetti squash also packs in the nutrients. It’s a good source of fiber, it contains minerals like potassium and magnesium, as well as vitamins A, B6, and C.
For this recipe, you may not be familiar with all of the ingredients, and that’s ok! It wasn’t long ago when I didn’t know what tamarinds were or how to use fish sauce. But now I can appreciate the complex flavors they add to Asian-inspired dishes.
Don’t be intimidated! Here’s a little explanation for the ingredients with which you may not be familiar.
Fish sauce is made of fish that have been fermented with salt. You can omit it from this recipe if you can’t find it. I really enjoy the flavor it brings to this dish, however.
Coconut aminos are a good substitute for soy sauce if you have to avoid soy (like me). Coconut aminos come from coconut sap and are great to use in Asian-inspired dishes when you need that “umami” flavor without the gluten or soy found in soy sauce.
Tamarinds are a type of fruit used in Asian cooking. I use tamarind paste and enjoy the tangy flavor and zing it adds to dishes.
Swerve is a lower-calorie, all-natural sweetener that I like to use when baking. It does contain some carbohydrates but it does not upset my digestion like other sweeteners. It measures cup for cup like sugar. You can read more about it here. If you can’t find it (order it on Amazon.com!), you can substitute an equal amount of brown sugar in this recipe (that will affect carbohydrate and calorie counts).
So there you go…
It’s time to break out of your spaghetti/taco/hamburger rut and try something new! 🙂
This dish can easily be made vegetarian by omitting the shrimp or subbing in tofu.
I hope you like it! Leftovers the next day are super yummy, too.
Thai Shrimp with Spaghetti Squash
- Spaghetti squash – medium
- Spray oil
- 1 ½ lbs frozen/peeled/deveined/tail-off shrimp
(you can use fresh shrimp too, just skip the step below about defrosting)
- 1 tablespoon cooking oil (I like coconut, grapeseed, or sunflower seed oil)
- Small onion, diced
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- Reserve additional 1 tablespoon cooking oil for sautéing defrosted shrimp (step 6)
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 3 tablespoons coconut aminos (or use soy sauce instead)
- 1 tablespoon fish sauce
- 2 tablespoons tomato paste
- ¼ cup Swerve granulated sugar substitute (or use brown sugar instead)
- 1 tablespoon Tamarind paste
- 1 tablespoon coconut cream (I like Native Forest)
- 1 tablespoon sesame oil
- 1 teaspoon onion powder
- ½ teaspoon garlic powder
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 2 teaspoons cooking oil (I like coconut, grapeseed, or sunflower seed oil)
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 bunches bok choy, rinsed and roughly chopped into 1” pieces
- Pine nuts, toast 2-3 minutes in a dry skillet over medium high heat (careful not to burn)
- 2 stalks green onions, sliced thinly
- Juice of 1 lime
To make spaghetti squash noodles
Preheat oven to 400 degrees and line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Set aside. Pierce the spaghetti squash about 6 times with a fork. Microwave the whole squash for 1 ½ minutes to make it softer to cut open (this step is optional). Cut the squash in half and scoop out the seeds. Save the seeds and set aside (roast them using this recipe). Spray the cut sides of the squash with oil and place cut side down on the parchment-lined baking sheet. Bake for 30 minutes. Once tender, take out of oven and flip over. With a fork, shred the spaghetti squash into “noodles” and set them aside in a medium bowl. (A medium squash yields 4-5 cups of “noodles.”)
If using frozen shrimp, defrost them in a large bowl filled with water. Let them defrost for about 30 minutes and then drain using a colander. Set defrosted shrimp aside until needed towards the end. Meanwhile, in a large skillet, heat oil over medium heat. Add diced onions and sauté until starting to brown. Add minced garlic to the onion and sauté for about 1 minute. Set aside the cooked onion and garlic in a bowl to add to shrimp at the end.
Add all sauce ingredients into small saucepan and stir to combine. Heat over medium heat until bubbling, then turn down heat to very low to keep sauce warm.
Sauté bok choy
Heat oil in large skillet over medium high heat. Add garlic and sauté until starting to brown, 1-2 minutes. Add cut bok choy and sauté for 4-5 minutes until greens are wilted. Set aside in a bowl. Use this same skillet to sauté the defrosted shrimp (step 6).
Using a paper towel, wipe the large skillet clean that you used to sauté the bok choy in step 4. Heat reserved oil (1 tablespoon) over high heat in the large skillet. Add shrimp to the hot skillet and sear on one side. Stir shrimp to cook evenly in the skillet and add reserved onion/garlic mixture from step 2. Stir to combine. Do not overcook the shrimp – usually 2-3 minutes is enough. Shrimp is done when it is no longer translucent and it turns pink.
Place a large mound of spaghetti squash “noodles” on a plate. Add a spoonful of bok choy on top. Then layer a portion of shrimp. Drizzle some of the sauce over the noodles and shrimp. Garnish everything with toasted pine nuts, thinly-sliced green onions, and lime juice.
-Caitlin Russell MS, RDN, LD, CLT