I absolutely love shrimp. Maybe it’s because I grew up surrounded by the ocean. Or maybe it’s because shrimp is just delicious. This shrimp Pad Thai recipe features those large, raw shrimp that you can buy in a big bag on sale at the local grocery store. But you can use any kind of shrimp, prawn, or even scallops, either raw or cooked, frozen or fresh. Regardless of your choice, the seafood adds a wonderful flavor and texture to the dish, complementing the tangy flavors of the Pad Thai.
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Why I Love This Shrimp Pad Thai Recipe
Shrimp occasionally goes on sale at our local grocery store, and I can eek three or four meals out of one large bag. That significantly cuts down our the grocery bill. Plus, it give a taste of seafood without the exorbitant seafood prices.
I thought that perhaps putting it in Pad Thai might make it a bit rubbery, but the trick is to not overcook the shrimp. Just make sure to toss it with the onions and garlic until just pink, then take it off the stove and let it rest until the noodles are done.
Shrimp can stay frozen, too. So you don’t have to pre-defrost them. Just stick them in a bowl in lukewarm water while you prepare the rice noodles, chop the onions, mince the garlic, and sauté. They will be ready to peel and devein and then you can toss them into the pan.
Kitchen Equipment Needed
Health Benefits of Shrimp
Shrimp is not only a popular seafood choice but also brings along several health benefits, making it a nutritious addition to your diet.
- Nutrient Density: Shrimp is a powerhouse of nutrients, offering a variety of essential vitamins and minerals. Despite being low in calories (106 kcal per 100 grams), shrimp is rich in selenium, which plays a critical role in DNA repair, fighting oxidative stress, and strengthening the immune system. It’s also a good source of vitamin D, which is vital for metabolism, immunity, blood pressure regulation, and disease prevention.
- Heart Health: Despite previous concerns about shrimp’s cholesterol content, recent research indicates that dietary cholesterol does not significantly impact blood cholesterol levels. In fact, consuming shrimp may improve cardiovascular health markers, such as the LDL to HDL ratio and triglyceride levels. This is partially due to shrimp’s omega-3 fatty acids content, which is linked to better heart health.
- Protein Density: Shrimp is an excellent protein source, providing more than 20 grams of protein per 100 grams while being low in calories. This makes it more protein-dense compared to many meats and eggs, offering a healthy option for maintaining or increasing protein intake without excessive calories.
- Low Mercury Content: One of the concerns with seafood is mercury contamination. Fortunately, shrimp is among the seafood with the lowest mercury concentrations, making it a safer choice compared to other types of seafood like shark and bigeye tuna. Additionally, the high ratio of selenium to mercury in shrimp helps mitigate the toxicity of mercury.
- Good Source of Iodine: Iodine, essential for thyroid hormone production, is another nutrient found in shrimp. Regular consumption can help meet the body’s iodine requirements, supporting overall thyroid health.
- Skin and Blood Pressure Benefits: Shrimp is one of the best dietary sources of astaxanthin, an antioxidant carotenoid. Astaxanthin is known for its potential benefits in reducing wrinkles, improving skin texture and elasticity, and may even help in reducing blood pressure, although more human research is needed to fully understand these benefits.
- Considerations for Pregnant or Breastfeeding Individuals: If you are pregnant or breastfeeding, it’s recommended to limit shrimp consumption to a maximum of two weekly servings. This recommendation is in line with general guidelines for seafood intake during pregnancy.
- How should I store leftovers? When storing leftovers of Shrimp Pad Thai, use an airtight container and keep it refrigerated. Ideally, consume within 3-4 days for the best flavor and texture. When reheating, it’s recommended to gently warm in the microwave, possibly adding a splash of water or chicken broth to prevent the noodles from drying out.
- What are some good pairing suggestions? For a well-rounded meal, consider pairing Shrimp Pad Thai with sides like crispy tofu, chicken lettuce wraps, or a fresh Asian cucumber salad. These choices complement the flavors of the Pad Thai and add a variety of textures to your meal.
- What are some gluten-free substitutions? To adapt this recipe for a gluten-free diet, ensure you use gluten-free soy sauce or tamari. Check the labels of all other ingredients like fish sauce and rice noodles to confirm they’re gluten-free as well.
- Can I make this dairy-free? This Shrimp Pad Thai recipe is inherently dairy-free, making it a great choice for those following a dairy-free diet.
- Can I use a different type of noodle? While rice noodles are traditional for Pad Thai, you have flexibility. Other Asian noodles can be used, and in a pinch, options like linguine or fettuccine can serve as a substitute. However, the texture and flavor profile might slightly differ from the traditional dish.
- Is Shrimp Pad Thai spicy? The spice level of Shrimp Pad Thai can be adjusted to taste. It usually depends on the type and amount of peppers used. For a milder flavor, reduce or omit the peppers, and for more heat, consider adding chili oil or extra chili powder.
- Can it be made in advance? Shrimp Pad Thai is a dish that’s best enjoyed fresh. However, you can prepare the ingredients ahead of time and cook them just before serving to save time.
- What about using chicken or beef instead of shrimp? You can easily swap out shrimp for other proteins like chicken or beef strips. Just ensure that these alternatives are cooked thoroughly before adding the noodles and other ingredients.
- What are traditional toppings or garnishes? Traditional garnishes for Shrimp Pad Thai include lime wedges, chopped peanuts, fresh cilantro, and Thai seasoning. These add freshness, crunch, and an extra layer of flavor to the dish.
- How do I properly thaw frozen shrimp? To thaw frozen shrimp, place them in the refrigerator overnight in a sealed container. Alternatively, for a quicker method, rinse the shrimp under cold water in a colander for a few minutes until completely defrosted.
- What are some tips for cooking shrimp? For convenience, opt for shrimp that’s already deveined and peeled. Cooking shrimp is quick; they’re ready once they turn pink. Removing the tails can make eating easier, although they can be left on for presentation.
- Can I add vegetables to the dish? Absolutely, vegetables like red bell peppers, matchstick carrots, and snow peas can be included. They not only add color and crunch but also nutritional value to your Pad Thai.
- What is a good substitute for fish sauce? If fish sauce isn’t available, you can substitute it with additional soy sauce, oyster sauce, coconut aminos, tamari, or Worcestershire sauce. Each alternative adds a unique flavor to the dish.
- Can I make this recipe nut-free? If nuts are a concern, you can modify the recipe by omitting the nuts. This adjustment helps cater to those with nut allergies while maintaining the dish’s flavor integrity.
- Are there any tips for the perfect Pad Thai noodles? For ideal noodle texture, soak rice noodles in lukewarm water rather than boiling. This prevents them from breaking during stir-frying and stops them from overcooking. If you’re short on time, soaking them in hot water can work, but be cautious not to overcook them.
- 1/2 medium onion, diced
- 1 tablespoon garlic, minced
- 2 tablespoons sesame seed oil
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 pound shrimp, frozen (any variety)
- 16 ounces of rice noodles, any variety
- 3/4 cup Pad Thai sauce without tamarind
- 2 stalks scallions, julienned
- scrambled eggs for garnish (optional)
- sliced scallions for garnish (optional)
- soy beans for garnish (optional)
- peanuts for garnish (optional)
- lime slice for garnish (optional)
- Soak rice noodles in lukewarm water for about 30 minutes. Meanwhile, take out the frozen shrimp and soak in a bowl of lukewarm water.
- In a large pan, heat 1 tablespoon sesame seed oil and 1 tablespoon olive oil over medium heat.
- Sauté the diced onions and minced garlic for 2-3 minutes. Meanwhile, deskin and devein shrimp.
- Add the shrimp to the pan. Cook until the chicken is pink and the onions are translucent, stirring occasionally, for about5-6 minutes. Try not to overcook the shrimp, as they can get rubbery.
- Drain the noodles and add them to the pan with the shrimp, onions, and garlic mixture.
- Drizzle the Pad Thai sauce over the mixture, stirring constantly.
- Add the julienned scallions to the pan and gently toss all ingredients to ensure they are evenly coated with the Pad Thai sauce. Continue to cook for an additional 2-3 minutes, stirring occasionally.
- Transfer the Pad Thai to a serving dish. Optionally top with scrambled eggs, sliced scallions, soy beans, peanuts, and a slice of lime for garnish.
- This recipe is adaptable to various dietary needs and preferences. Feel free to substitute or omit ingredients as needed.
Nutrition InformationYield 4 Serving Size 1
Amount Per Serving Calories 785Total Fat 17gSaturated Fat 3gTrans Fat 0gUnsaturated Fat 13gCholesterol 282mgSodium 5709mgCarbohydrates 119gFiber 6gSugar 81gProtein 41g
Nutrition automatically generated.