Lightened Up Pad Thai for Two

Low Carb Pad Thai Recipe with Cabbage Noodles!

photo by Aran Goyoaga, from my cookbook, “Eating in the Middle”

I am obsessed.

Like, completely, overwhelmingly, not-gonna-stop-unless-you-make-me-and-even-then-it’s-iffy. I’ve been making this lightened up (and low carb) pad thai for…oh, I don’t know…ten days?

I’m using shredded cabbage as noodles in the recipe, which really does mimic the slippery, carb-like texture of the noodles. They still absorb the flavors of soy and sesame, and even give the dish a nice freshness, too, and who wouldn’t love that? For 300-ish calories, this portion is so big and filling; you’ll be shocked and so, so happy.


**Note that this recipe isn’t authentic. It’s simply a quick, easy meal to throw together that tastes a bit like pad Thai, with thin strands of cabbage serving as the noodles. It’s so delicious I’d call it blissful. 

Lightened Up Pad Thai for Two

Delicious and healthy pad Thai made with cabbage noodles!
Prep Time5 minutes
Cook Time12 minutes
Total Time17 minutes
Course: lunch, Main Course
Cuisine: Thai
Keyword: easy pad thai, low calorie pad thai, pad thai recipe
Servings: 2 Servings
Calories: 319kcal


  • 3 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 2 garlic cloves minced
  • 2 teaspoons sugar
  • 1 tablespoon sesame oil
  • 1 small head green cabbage finely shredded (about 5 cups)
  • 1 ½ cups mushrooms chopped (any kind)
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 ounce salted dry roasted peanuts chopped
  • ¼ cup fresh cilantro or Thai basil chopped
  • Sriracha optional, for serving


  • In a small bowl, stir together the soy sauce, garlic, and sugar.
  • Set a large frying pan or wok over medium-high heat. Add the oil and swirl to coat. Add the cabbage and cook, stirring frequently, until tender-crisp, 6 to 8 minutes. Add the mushrooms and cook until softened, about 3 minutes. Add the soy sauce mixture and stir well to combine.
  • Add eggs and stir constantly, scrambling them into the hot cabbage mixture. Stir in the cilantro. Divide the pan among two large plates or bowls and top with the peanuts and plenty of Sriracha.


Calories: 319kcal | Carbohydrates: 25g | Protein: 17g | Fat: 20g | Fiber: 8g | Sugar: 6g


92 thoughts on “Lightened Up Pad Thai for Two

  1. Vanessa

    Ok so I won’t make this recipe because I am allergic to soy, sesame and peanuts, but I just wanted to say that I am so glad to know that other people get obsessed with meals! What a relief I thought I was nuts, wanting to eat the same thing over and over until I get sick of it and move on to something else.

  2. Linda

    That’s a great idea. What sauce do you have on top of the meal?

    Now I have to put this recipe to my todo-list because I just yesterday followed your tip to make big batches of food. I made huge bowl of salad, salmon soup, chicken soup and lots of meatballs. Next few days will be really busy for me, but I’m still able to eat well!

    By the way, I would love to hear how your book project is going on!

    1. admin

      The red in the last picture is Sriracha, which for anyone who doesn’t know- is a hot red chili sauce found in the asian food aisle of most grocery stores. It’s amazing :)

      The book is going great! In the final stages of editing the memoir now. I’ll consider a post about it!


  3. Amy

    Looks amazing – as a half asian girl I love cabbage so this is fantastic. I wanted to Pin this and looked everywhere for the “Sharing is Sexy” you used to have before the website upgrade… miss that :)


    You’re right, you’re obsessed. And you crack me up which is why I think you rock. I can not WAIT to try this recipe, especially being a Pad Thai lover who is also pre-diabetic. I feel like you have given back to me one of my favorite dishes. To me, that’s worth a double “you rock!”

  5. Megan

    I’m allergic to eggs and I honestly had no idea until I just read this that there were eggs in Pad Thai and that’s why it’s made me sick every time I’ve had it. Thanks for saving me!

  6. Ashley

    Andie – thank you so much for the Thai Red Curry Shrimp recipe! We haven’t even finished the first batch (I doubled it) and I’ve already been requested to make it again. We loved it! Thank you for sharing! My next venture will be this delicious looking pad thai!

  7. Stephanie Rose

    I made this tonight for the husband and I because I was super craving Asian cuisine without the meat and it was oh so delicious! I added some sprouts for extra crunch and lots of Sriracha for a kick! Thanks so much for bringing this awesomeness into our lives!

  8. karen

    I’ve made a similar version with bean sprouts added. If you mix the oil with the soy sauce and sugar and leave everything raw, it makes a great salad on day one…leftovers wilt overnight in the fridge and the next day it makes a very awesome stirfry. The recipe I have uses sunflower seeds and green onion.

      1. Sheila

        Thanks for getting back to me! Love Love Love your blog! You have an amazing gift and I am grateful I stumbled across your blog, I am hooked!

  9. Stephanie

    I made this tonight for my husband and I, and I am obsessed as well. I added the lime wedge and sriracha like you have it in the picture. I am making it again tomorrow and will add some chicken on top too. Someone else mentioned adding bean sprouts, that sounds like a lovely addition as well! Oh the possibilities are endless! As a mother to a four month old who is trying to lose the baby weight, I appreciate fast, healthy, and delicious recipes like this! Thank you Andie :)

  10. Natalie

    I have been wondering for a while now…. What are the essentials to keep in the freezer when you are focused on eating healthy and natural. I’ve noticed that most things that are kept in the freezer are the meals that you heat up with loads of preservatives. So I guess I’m wondering what you keep in your freezer?

  11. Judith R.

    I think this is going to be my lunch for the next six months or so. Looks great!!! I get on streaks, too! Switching from avocado turkey rollups to this sounds good for my next streak. Making the same thing for lunch every day seems to help me with weight management. No temptation.

  12. Sarah Satellite Eyes

    I really, truly wanted to love this dish, but it came out very bland and I’m not sure where I went wrong. I skipped the sugar but stuck with the recipe otherwise. But I’d love to try it again. Can you recommend any spices or other ingredients to snazz it up a bit?

    1. admin

      Oh no! I’m sorry, Sarah. This is one of the bummers about recipe creation and testing, isn’t it?
      I would say to try upping the garlic, adding some minced fresh ginger (saute with the garlic), another drizzle of sesame oil, some red pepper flakes, or curry powder. I realize that these additions take the recipe away from being more pad-thai-tasting, but they’ll certainly add more flavor.

      I appreciate you trying the recipe. Hope some of these ideas help :)


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  14. Mary

    We just inhaled this for lunch. Light, tasty and definitely a keeper. Glad I bought enough cabbage to make this for another lunch tomorrow. Andie, all the recipes I’ve tried from your site have been a hit!

  15. Anne

    I made this for the second time tonight. Great recipe!!! I add crunchy peanut butter instead of peanuts. It’s so, good and so filling. Thank you!!!

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  17. Cara V

    I’m SO excited to try this. For those that are pad thai lovers, the key ingredients for the sauce are fish sauce, sugar, and tamarind in equal measure. The commercial versions often use lime juice in place of tamarind and/or soy sauce in place of fish sauce. But it’s basically sweet, salty and sour. So, if you add some life juice, you’ll be closer to authentic.

  18. Alicia

    Have you ever tried adding shiratake noodles (tofu noodles) they are amazing in recipes like this and a entire pack is only 40 calories! Just make sure to rinse them well before cooking

  19. RBee

    Had to drop by and thank you for this recipe. I made it twice in 3 days time. It’s sooo yummy, economical, and health-savvy. Couldn’t ask for a better combo.

  20. Nancy keefe

    I wanted to lighten up the meal after thanksgiving and this was it…I loved the favors..can’t imagine what is making the calories but it was terrific.

  21. Johanna

    I’ve been in a cooking rut, but I think this recipe got me out of it! I cannot believe how tasty this pad thai is! Already excited for lunch tomorrow!

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  23. Linda G

    Andie, your story is amazing! Thank you for this recipe, I followed it exactly and def, the peanuts, cilantro, lime, and siracha (aka kickin chicken sauce) make it awesome. Will def put in our rotation!!!!

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  25. Amanda

    I just found your blog and I have found it to be truly inspirational! Of course, I’m always finding weight loss blogs, and I just can not relate. They are slaves to it. I am like you in many ways. I passionately love to cook. And to eat! I will never give those things up. Seeing your blog is a great way to see someone succeed and eat the foods they still love (and is not a slave to the gym, either). Yay moderation! I just moved away from hometown, and also, my most favorite Thai restaurant. I made this tonight and totally got a healthy pad Thai fix. Thank you!! It’s excellent. OK, world longest blogger comment officially finished. Thanks!

  26. KP

    I have found I had to drain the cabbage before adding the final touches because the moisture from the mushrooms and cabbage tend to soak the mix. Did you come across this issue too?

    1. Morgan

      Made this and loved it! Added yellow onion and red pepper with the cabbage. Finished it off with a good squeeze of fresh lime juice. It was delicious and definitely a keeper!

  27. Amelia

    I made this last night and HOLY HELL was it delicious!

    I added pea pods and broccoli so it was closer to pad see eww (which is my all time fav).

    I will be making this again tonight. And maybe tomorrow.

  28. Maggie

    I made this tonight, and it was delicious! As a shortcut, I used my food processor to chop up the cabbage, which means it really turned out more like rice than noodles. But still delicious! The lime is also definitely necessary for taste. Hopefully it will be equally wonderful as leftovers for lunch tomorrow…

  29. ian

    ive made something similar for a few years. its amazing!! and yes i have also eaten it for weeks straight…its the most versatile recipe i have ever tried!! examples: 1. use a little peanut butter 2. srirachi is a must 3. add chicken or beef or shrimp 4. add whatever veggies you crave that day. 5. add a little ginger. 6. add toasted sesame seeds 7. make it extra garlic/extra sweet/extra nutty/extra spicy depending on your mood. ! 8. borrow ideas from other thai/indian/oriental recipes and try to add them!

    good luck! (ps. maybe i am extra lazy, but I make it in the microwave. 4 minutes and its done, including perfectly cooked and crunchy cabbage)

  30. Rachel O.

    Andie strikes again! Home run! I just made this tonight. It’s been sitting in my to-do pile since I got the email. Gotta move your recipes to the top. This dish was light and fresh tasting. Added siracha and it was indeed blissful. Thank you!

  31. Kimmie Sue

    Just wanted to drop a note to tell you how much my fiancé and I enjoyed this tonight!! We’re both trying to be a bit more healthy in preparation of our upcoming wedding – which is so very hard when you love food as much as we do! Thank you for providing so many delicious (and healthy) options for us!!

  32. Caitlin

    Just made this. It was GREAT!
    I ended up adding celery, carrot, onion and red pepper. Stir fried the veggies in a separate pan then threw them on the cabbage once it had all cooked down. Like everyone else said, adding lime, cilantro and sriracha is a must. Might as well use the rest of my cabbage and make this again tomorrow!

  33. Danica

    I love cabbage. I think I will try this this weekend. Thanks for sharing!

    And I’m glad that I’m not the only one who make meals an excessive number of times in a row! I get totally stuck! Right now for breakfast I’m having the [one banana blended with two eggs] “panfakes” for breakfast. Every morning. And sometimes again for dessert. Oh, my.

  34. Scott

    Thank you for this recipe. Pad Thai is a favourite of ours but we have stopped having it because we are trying to cut down on white carbs. The cabbage is a great alternative and we will surely start having Pad Thai more often.

    We added sweet chilli sauce because it is more traditional. Can’t wait to try the rest of your recipes.

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  36. Kim

    This is SO delicious! So I substituted a few things to make a tad less salty and it was still…amazing!
    Use coconut oil instead of sesame oil (it’s very good for you)
    Use Liquid Amino instead of soy sauce (very good for you)
    Use honey or agave nector instead of sugar (again…honey is reallllly good for you)
    I used green onions on top instead of Thai Basil

    Thank you so much for sharing!

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  38. Cadi

    Holy crow. Been reading/following forever and finally made this, with the addition of some fish sauce and dry sherry, as well as a squeeze of lime right at the end… this was incredible. I used pre shredded cabbage from the produce section of the store, it was Angel hair pasta fine and the finished dish consistency was spot on pad Thai. Made my mouth happy. Adding bean sprouts next time. Thanks Andie!!

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  40. Kathryne

    This is… amazing. It is SO filling too! I added sriracha too- and I imagine this would go super well with a beef or chicken (or a meat sub)—- I am constantly hungry- so thankful for a low cal option like this that REALLY fills you up. a+!

  41. Emily

    Just wondering how this ends up with 20 grams of fat! Looks incredible but it can’t be from the one tablespoon of oil on the pan can it?

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