So, a lot has happened since I created this recipe just two weeks ago.
Before I fill you in, let me rave about this fantastic Pad Thai Salad with Grilled Shrimp! It’s a salad spin-off of a classic Thai noodle dish that features a sweet and spicy sauce, bean sprouts, egg, and peanuts. My Pad Thai Salad has some similarities to the hot noodle version, including a delicious Thai-style sauce, but I’ve replaced the rice noodles with cool spiralized cucumbers and carrots, added red pepper and cilantro, and topped it off with succulent grilled shrimp!
This refreshing main dish salad is perfect for hot summer evenings! You could also eat this as a side salad without the shrimp or change it up with chicken or steak. It’s easy, full of flavor, and a healthier, grain-free version of original Pad Thai.
Now that I’ve baited you with my Pad Thai Salad, I’m going to leave you hanging for a minute as I share two behind-the-blog updates.
I started working with a functional medicine doctor in early July due to unexplained health issues. I’ve undergone various tests and am awaiting the results to hopefully pinpoint what’s wrong. In the meantime, I’ve been given some gut-healing supplements and I have been instructed to start an autoimmune protocol (AIP) diet and stick with it for at least 60-120 days.
For those who have no idea what AIP is, it’s basically like a Paleo diet on steroids! I’ll share more about the diet in a future post, but one thing to note is that this diet is VERY restrictive. So much so, that I can’t actually eat this Pad Thai Salad with Grilled Shrimp at the moment! 🙁
While the AIP diet is a challenge because it requires even more cooking, prepping, and planning than I had been doing before, I will say that I haven’t yet felt deprived. It is pushing me out of my comfort zone in that I’m now incorporating things like liver, sea vegetables, and shellfish into my regular diet. It also prevents me from eating out, which is kind of a bummer.
But I will say that I feel like God has been preparing me for this diet over the years. After going gluten-free and then eventually Paleo, I had heard of AIP and was a little familiar with it. It’s still been an adjustment for me, but I can’t imagine starting on this straight from a standard American diet.
I’m hopeful that staying on AIP for as long as it takes will yield good results – at the very least, a healthier digestive system that will hopefully heal fully after so many years of gluten!
I celebrated my 31st birthday last weekend. Normally, I LOVE birthdays – getting older has never bothered me. But this year, I honestly wasn’t all that thrilled about it. I’ve been told that once you hit 30 (or maybe 25), the birthdays become less exciting. Personally, I was pumped about my 30s, but so far, they’ve been more challenging than I imagined. It’s been hard to get myself motivated to begin another year.
So, why am I even bothering to share about my birthday? Two reasons:
1) A Bible verse really stood out to me that day as I was sipping kombucha and coloring with my husband. (You’re NEVER too old to color!)
The verse on my coloring page was part of 1 Peter 1:6-7, which says, “So be truly glad. There is wonderful joy ahead, even though you must endure many trials for a little while. These trials will show that your faith is genuine. It is being tested as fire tests and purifies gold—though your faith is far more precious than mere gold. So when your faith remains strong through many trials, it will bring you much praise and glory and honor on the day when Jesus Christ is revealed to the whole world.”
Reading this on my birthday wasn’t mere coincidence. It was God’s way of snapping me out of my birthday blues and reminding me of His awesome truth: Trials endure for a short time, but what we learn from them can have a lasting impact on our faith and character. Rather than dwelling on my life’s current struggles and dark season, I can look forward to the “wonderful joy ahead” – in this life and the next.
2) My ridiculously awesome husband and family made it such a special day that I am overwhelmed with gratitude and want to give them a shout out. I couldn’t help but enjoy the day and enter this new year of life with more hope than I started with.
My family has also been a source of strength since I started my new health journey. Mark has been the best husband I could ask for! He’s a steady rock of encouragement and keeps me moving forward. And he never complains about what foods I make (or don’t make)!
My dad is always willing to lend a helping hand and has driven me to doctor’s appointments when I was too weak to drive myself. My brother knows how to make me laugh even when life gets hard and my sister-in-law whisks me away on adventures when I need an escape.
And then, there’s my mom – my cheerleader and teammate. No matter what dietary issues I’m dealing with, my mom jumps in right alongside me, even though she can eat whatever she wants. My mom not only makes this new health stuff tolerable, but she has a way of making it fun – sending me new recipes or surprising me with AIP snacks. She even planned a crazy delicious birthday dinner for me that included an AIP-friendly carrot cake with homemade coconut milk ice cream! (Best Mom Award!)
To have my family gathered around the dinner table, sharing good food and conversation, laughing and playing games… well, it just reminded me of how blessed I am. I’m so thankful for all of them and the way they each have helped me through tough times to kick off my 31st year in the most joyful way.
Before I tear up, I better get back to the star of this post: Pad Thai Salad with Grilled Shrimp! I was fortunate to eat this as one of my last meals before embarking on my autoimmune diet. And hopefully before too long, I’ll be able to enjoy it again soon!
Just spiralize your cucumbers and carrots and throw them in a bowl with red pepper and bean sprouts to make the base of the salad. Then, add in chopped fresh cilantro, scallions, and peanuts and your salad is ready to go! Easy, right?!
For the dressing, I mixed a bunch of delicious Thai ingredients together to create a sweet and spicy peanut sauce. I thinned my dressing down slightly with some water, but do as you see fit. You can save the dressing to drizzle on individual salads or just pour it over the whole thing like I did here.
And last but not least, the shrimp. I reserved a bit of dressing to brush on my raw shrimp that I had put on wooden skewers. (Be sure to soak your skewers for about an hour prior to grilling.)
I passed the shrimp off to Mark to grill up for me and he did an amazing job, as usual! You want them cooked through, but not tough – about 2-3 minutes per side.
I served my Pad Thai Salad in bowls because I just have a thing for eating out of bowls – especially noodles! Since we’ve replaced rice noodles for veggie noodles you can eat a pretty huge portion, which is very satisfying! I topped each bowl with a skewer of my grilled shrimp. YUM.
There you have it! A light, healthy, and exotic Pad Thai Salad with Grilled Shrimp that is a lovely summer alternative to a classic Thai favorite! Break out your chopsticks and dig in! 🙂
- 1 lb large raw shrimp, peeled and deveined
- 2 large or 4 small cucumbers
- 2 large carrots
- 1 red pepper, julienned
- 1 - 14 oz. can bean sprouts, drained and rinsed
- ¼ cup chopped cilantro
- ¼ cup chopped scallions
- ¼ cup chopped peanuts
- ¼ cup creamy peanut butter
- 2 tablespoons rice vinegar
- 1 tablespoon honey
- 1 tablespoon sesame oil
- 2 teaspoons lime juice
- 2 teaspoons fish sauce
- 1 teaspoon chili garlic paste
- sea salt and pepper to taste
- ⅛-1/4 cup water, to thin dressing if needed
- Using a spiralizer, spiralize cucumbers and carrots into a large bowl. Add pepper, bean sprouts, cilantro, scallions, and peanuts.
- In a small bowl, whisk together dressing ingredients, using water to thin out if necessary. Set aside 1-2 tablespoons of dressing in a separate cup to brush on shrimp.
- Place shrimp on pre-soaked wooden skewers, about 5-6 shrimp per skewer.
- Brush shrimp with dressing.
- Heat grill to medium heat and grill shrimp until opaque and cooked through, about 2-3 minutes per side.
- Toss salad with dressing and serve, topped with grilled shrimp.
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