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10 Surprisingly Easy (and Healthy!) Thai Food Recipes

Thai recipes can be so much more than pad thai and stir fry.

In fact, Thai food is known for using a variety of spices, vegetables, and meats to create unique flavors not normally found in American dishes.

And although they have a reputation for being complicated, there are plenty of Thai recipes that are made with simple, easily available ingredients like chilis, peppers, fish sauce, and spices.

Those the types of recipes you’ll find here.

They’re perfect for people who want a bit more flavor, without spending hours in the kitchen, and they’re all easy to make and macro-friendly as well.

The Pork Laab is a simple, easy recipe to get your feet wet. Try the Stir-Fried Pork & Green Beans with Chili Paste for a quick, high-protein dinner. Ready to go all-out? Try the Thai Grilled Whole Chicken.

Enjoy!

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Thai Grilled Whole Chicken

Serves 8

Instead of roasting a whole chicken, why not grill it? Once you butterfly it, the chicken can be skewered and cooked on grill racks. It’ll take about an hour and a half, similar to how long it would take in the oven.

But this recipe is perfect for summer when you don’t want to heat up the kitchen. Grill it for a backyard barbecue or outdoor feast, where the chicken will be the star even before everyone gets a taste.

 

Nutrition Facts (Per Serving)

638

Calories

56 g

Protein

19 g

Carbs

37 g

Fat

Ingredients

Marinated Chicken:

2 whole chickens (1.8 kilos each)

4 Tbsp. soy sauce

1 Tbsp. fish sauce

2 Tbsp. palm sugar

1 Tbsp. dark soy sauce

1/2 cup water

4 heads garlic

2 stalks lemongrass

2 1/2 Tbsp. black peppercorns

8 coriander roots (optional)

Sauce:

1 1/2 Tbsp. toasted rice powder

1 1/2 Tbsp. chili flakes

1 Tbsp. sugar

3 Tbsp. fish sauce

1/2 cup tamarind paste + water (or to taste)

Few springs of cilantro (optional garnish)

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Stir-Fried Pork & Green Beans with Chili Paste

Serves 2

Eat your veggies, yet enjoy tons of flavor at the same time with this spicy stir fry. It’s packed with flavor and nutrition, but is quick to make with just a handful of ingredients.

This stir fry recipe uses pork, but you can easily make it with other proteins like chicken, beef, or tofu.

Nutrition Facts (Per Serving)

210

Calories

32 g

Protein

13 g

Carbs

4 g

Fat

Ingredients

4 cloves garlic, chopped

1 Tbsp. prik khing curry paste

1/2 cup pork, thinly sliced

2 cups green beans, cut into 1–2” pieces

1/2 cup water

3 kaffir lime leaves, thinly sliced

1 red jalapeno pepper, sliced

1 tsp. fish sauce

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Shrimp Pad Thai Noodles

Serves 4

If you’re always ordering Pad Thai, it’s worth learning how to make it from scratch. Not only can you learn to nail the authentic flavor, but you can ensure you’re cooking it with a minimal amount of oil. And you can even add extra protein, whether you’re making it with shrimp, chicken, or beef.

 

Nutrition Facts (Per Serving)

496

Calories

28 g

Protein

59 g

Carbs

19 g

Fat

Ingredients

Sauce:

1/4 cup tamarind pulp

1/4 cup coconut sugar

1/4 cup fish sauce

Pad Thai:

1/4 cup chopped shallots

1/4 cup preserved radishes (or turnips)

1/2 cup cubed firm tofu

1/4 cup dried shrimp

1 package (14 oz.) Thai rice noodles

4 large eggs

24 medium shrimp, peeled and deveined

4 cups bean sprouts, loosely packed

1 cup garlic chives, chopped

1/4 cup crushed peanuts

4 tsp. sugar

2 Tbsp. oil

Crushed chili pepper flakes to taste

Lime wedges, to serve

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Pineapple Fried Rice

Serves 4

Fried rice gets a bad rap for being in high in fat, but don’t let the name fool you. The amount of fat per serving depends on how much oil you use and, of course, the fat content of the protein you choose. This recipes uses a mix of seafood for lean protein, and you can use any shellfish you have available.

Any fried rice will have lots of carbs, so if you want to minimize those, eat smaller portions while serving as a side dish with curry.

Nutrition Facts (Per Serving)

458

Calories

22 g

Protein

70 g

Carbs

9 g

Fat

Ingredients

1 small pineapple

2 Tbsp. vegetable oil

1 tsp. butter

3 cloves garlic, chopped

3 mussels, cleaned and debearded

2 prawns, shelled and deveined

3 scallops, sliced into bite-sized pieces

8 oz. squid, scored with a diamond pattern and chopped

1 Tbsp. light soy sauce

1 Tbsp. nam pla (Thai fish sauce)

1 tsp. granulated sugar

1 tsp. ground turmeric

1/4 red bell pepper, finely chopped

1/4 green bell pepper, finely chopped

1 Tbsp. diced onion

10 oz. jasmine rice, cooked

Fresh cilantro (to garnish)

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Grilled Beef Salad with Green Apples

Serves 4

Wish you could switch the ratio of meat to veggies in a salad? This Thai recipe is a must-try. It’s a fresh and flavorful green apple salad– yet it’s mostly protein because it’s loaded with steak.

In Thailand, a lot of salads have more meat than vegetables, which can be a great source of inspiration for a high-protein diet. This beef salad has nearly 50 grams of protein per serving.

Nutrition Facts (Per Serving)

377

Calories

48 g

Protein

12 g

Carbs

14 g

Fat

Ingredients

1 1/2 lb. flank steak

1 Granny Smith apple

1/2 medium red bell pepper

Juice of 1 lime (to taste)

1/2 medium red onion

2 small shallots

Handful of herbs (cilantro or basil)

Fish sauce to taste

Red pepper flakes (optional garnish)

Get the Recipe

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Thai Cucumber & Shrimp Salad

Serves 4

Thai cucumber salad is a simple classic. And it’s no wonder. To make the quick version, just mix chopped cucumbers with fish sauce, rice vinegar, chili flakes, and sugar to taste.

Add shrimp, and you can also upgrade it to an appetizer or lunch that has 20 grams of protein. Other optional extras to choose from include fresh herbs, sliced shallots, and coconut flakes.

Nutrition Facts (Per Serving)

177

Calories

20 g

Protein

17 g

Carbs

3 g

Fat

Ingredients

Cucumber Salad:

2 large cucumbers, sliced (about 2 cups)

2/3 lbs. shrimp

1/4 cup Vietnamese perilla (or fresh shiso leaves), roughly chopped

1/4 cup cilantro

1 cup shallot, thinly sliced

1/4 cup coconut flakes

Dressing:

1/4 cup fish sauce

3 Tbsp. lime juice

2 Tbsp. rice vinegar

1 Tbsp. palm sugar

5 Thai birds eye chilies (or more to taste)

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Homemade Tofu

Serves 8

Any tofu that you buy from the store is made from soybeans, but when you make it yourself, there’s also the option to use mung beans.

They’re similar to peas and lentils, easier on the digestive tract than soy and more popular beans. And they have as much fiber as protein, which makes them an excellent choice for a bodybuilding diet.

Nutrition Facts (Per Serving)

218

Calories

15 g

Protein

39 g

Carbs

1 g

Fat

Ingredients

2 1/4 cups (about 500 grams) yellow mung beans

4 liters water

1 tsp. salt

2 Tbsp. lemon juice

Muslin cloth or cheesecloth

Get the Recipe

Stir-Fried Clams

Serves 4

Clams are easy to cook. Stir fry is easy to cook. So why not combine the two for a clam stir fry? You’ll have dinner on the table in under 15 minutes, and the meal is as healthy as it is convenient.

If you prefer a spicy stir fry, take a couple minutes to cook the chilies in the hot oil before adding the clams. For a mild version, just add the clams to the pan right after the red chilies.

Nutrition Facts (Per Serving)

192

Calories

27 g

Protein

8 g

Carbs

6 g

Fat

Ingredients

14 oz. clams

1 Tbsp. minced garlic

1 Tbsp. sliced red chilies

Handful of sliced long red chilies

Handful of sweet basil

1 Tbsp. vegetable oil

1 Tbsp. oyster sauce

1 Tbsp. soy sauce

1/2 tsp. sugar

Get the Recipe

Chicken Ginger Soup (Gai Tom Khing Orn)

Serves 8

Canned chicken soup never has enough protein. Instead of relying on convenience, get in the kitchen on a day off and make this pot of Thai soup.

Then you can have a comforting dinner – full of healing ingredients like ginger and lemongrass, both great for soothing stomachs and fighting viruses – all with 40 grams of protein per bowl.

 

Nutrition Facts (Per Serving)

250

Calories

40 g

Protein

11 g

Carbs

5 g

Fat

Ingredients

2 1/4 lbs. boneless skinless chicken breast, cut into bite-sized strips

2 cups chicken liver, cut and clean

6 cups chicken stock

1 cup young ginger, thinly cut

1/4 cup galangal, thinly cut

2 stalks lemongrass, crushed and roughly cut

2 – 4 kaffir lime leaves, roughly shredded

2 shallots, chopped

3 Tbsp. fish sauce (or to taste)

3 Tbsp. lime juice (or to taste)

1 Tbsp. red chilies, crushed and roughly chopped (optional)

1/2 cup chopped cilantro

Get the Recipe

Pork Laab

Serves 2

If you’re new to cooking Thai food, laab (or larb) is an easy place to start. It’s essentially ground meat that’s infused with Thai flavors, including dried chilies, fresh cilantro, and fish sauce.

This Thai entrée is easy to make and usually served with papaya salad or string beans, plus sticky rice. Try this recipe with other kinds of meat too, like chicken or even duck.

Nutrition Facts (Per Serving)

229

Calories

25 g

Protein

10 g

Carbs

10 g

Fat

Ingredients

5 sprigs sliced cilantro

3 Tbsp. fish sauce

1 sliced green onion (optional)

1/4 Tbsp. ground dried chili pepper

1/2 lbs. 90% lean ground pork

1 lime

1/4 shallot, thinly sliced

3 sprigs spearmint (optional)

1 Tbsp. toasted rice

Get the Recipe

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