With a perfect balance of sweet, sour, salt and fat all tossed together with the comfort of noodles, the crunch of peanuts, and an unexpected fresh burst of herbs this Turkey Pad Thai has it all! And ready in just 30 minutes making it an awesome weeknight meal!

turkey pad thai in a blue bowl sitting on a cutting board and linen with a sprig of cilantro

Why We Love This Recipe For Turkey Pad Thai

The perfectly balanced flavor profile of this Ground Turkey and Rice Noodle dish is just one of the things that makes it special. Being able to get it on the table in just 30 minutes is a major bonus, too.

It is healthy, in part, because the Napa cabbage bulks up the serving size and takes place of some of the calorie-dense noodles. Each serving has only 3 grams of saturated fat. So at long last, here is the healthy seasonal Pad Thai!

Key Ingredients For This Ground Turkey Pad Thai

napa cabbage, scallions and chopped cashews for turkey pad thai

Ground Turkey

Ground turkey provides protein, fat and a variety of nutrients and minerals. It is lower in saturated fat than beef.

Brown Sugar

The caramel notes of brown sugar add a much needed sweetness to balance the tangy acidic flavors.

Lime Juice, Thai Fish Sauce and White Vinegar

Lime juice, thai fish sauce and white vinegar work together to add a fresh, tangy acidic flavor profile that complements the sweet creamy notes.

Napa Cabbage

The mild and slightly sweet taste of Napa Cabbage is perfect for this dish. It is low in calories, but full vitamins and antioxidants making it a great way to bulk up each delicious serving. Try our sauteed Napa Cabbage, Napa Caesar and this Napa and Ramen Salad for more ways to use this favorite low-cal veggie!

Lite Coconut Milk

Lite coconut milk contains less fat than regular coconut milk, but still adds a creamy texture and delicate flavor.

Nuts and Fresh Herbs

Roasted cashews or peanuts and fresh cilantro and thai basil are a great way to top off this dish. The crunchy nutty flavors and fresh brightness of the herbs complement the overall sweet and sour flavor profile.

Other Ingredients For This Recipe

  • 6 ounces Thai stir-fry rice noodles
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 4 teaspoons canola oil
  • 1 bunch scallions, sliced and whites and green parts divided

Step By Step Instructions For Healthy Pad Thai

Step 1: Prepare noodles

Bring a kettle of water to a boil. Place noodles in a low wide baking dish. Pour boiling water over the noodles to completely submerge them and swish them around a little bit. Let sit 10 minutes to soften, agitating gently once or twice to prevent clumping. Drain and rinse with cold water.

Step 2: Combine the sauce ingredients

Meanwhile, whisk brown sugar, tomato paste, lime juice, fish sauce and vinegar in a small bowl. Set aside.

Step 3: Cook the turkey and veggies and transfer to a bowl

Heat oil in a large skillet over medium high heat. Add turkey and scallion greens. Crumble and stir the meat with a wooden spoon as it browns. Cook until the meat is cooked through, 6 to 9 minutes. Add cabbage and coconut milk and reduce heat to medium. Stir until the cabbage is just slightly wilted, 1 to 2 minutes. Transfer the turkey mixture to a large bowl.

Step 4: Finish and serve

Add the reserved sauce to the skillet and the drained noodles and cook over medium heat, stirring, until the noodles are heated through, about 1 minute. Transfer the noodle mixture to the bowl with the turkey, add the scallion greens and toss to coat. Serve each portion topped with the herbs and nuts.

scallions on a blue flowered linen

FAQ’s and Expert Tips

What is the difference between lo mein and Pad Thai?

Pad Thai is a Thai noodle dish made with softened rice noodles that are cooked with a sweet and tangy sauce, protein and topped with crushed peanuts. Lo Mein is a Chinese noodle dish where the wheat noodles are parboiled, tossed with a light sauce, and added to a wok after the veggies and protein have been cooked.

What is the flavor in Pad Thai?

The overall flavors of this dish are a combination of sweet, savory, salty, nutty, tangy and acidic.

What is the best way to reheat Pad Thai?

The best way to reheat leftovers is to place the Pad Thai in a covered microwave-safe dish, add a bit of water and reheat in 30 second increments.

turkey pad thai in a bowl with another bowl in the background

More Recipes With Thai Flavors

  • This vegan Thai pumpkin soup recipe comes together in 15 minutes—really! Plus, it’s paleo-friendly and gluten-free.
  • This Slow Cooker Thai Chicken Coconut Soup is loosely based on the classic Thai soup- Tom Kha Gai, but I’ve loaded it up with veggies and rice noodles to make it a easy, hearty and healthy weeknight meal.
  • Thai-style fish cakes with herbal salad made with Tilapia, cooked in coconut oil and served with a flavorful shredded salad with fresh lime, mint, cilantro and basil. It’s a flavor explosion! 
  • I marinated this Grilled Skirt Steak in an easy Coconut Lime combination that gives it Thai-inspired flavor.
  • Just a simple platter of sliced tomatoes with a #stupideasy 4 ingredient Thai Basil dressing.
turkey pad thai in a bowl sitting on a cutting board next to cilantro and chopped peanuts

Thanks so much for reading. If you are new here, you may want to sign up for my free weekly email newsletter where I share weeknight meal plans delivered right to your inbox. Or follow me on Instagram. If you make this recipe, please come back and leave a star rating and review! It is very appreciated. Happy Cooking! ~Katie

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turkey pad thai in a blue bowl

Turkey Pad Thai

  • Author: Katie Webster
  • Prep Time: 30 minutes
  • Cook Time: 20 minutes
  • Total Time: 30 minutes
  • Yield: 4 servings 1x
  • Category: Main Course
  • Method: Stove Top
  • Cuisine: Thai

Description

With a perfect balance of sweet, sour, salt and fat this Turkey Pad Thai has it all! And ready in just 30 minutes making it an awesome weeknight meal!


Scale

Ingredients

  • 6 ounces Thai stir-fry rice noodles
  • 3 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 2 tablespoons lime juice
  • 2 tablespoons Thai fish sauce
  • 1 tablespoon white vinegar
  • 4 teaspoons canola oil
  • 1 pound ground turkey
  • 1 bunch scallions, sliced and whites and green parts divided
  • 8 cups Napa cabbage or Chinese cabbage, (about 1 small head)
  • ½ cup lite coconut milk
  • 1/3 cup chopped roasted cashews or peanuts
  • 2 tablespoons chopped cilantro
  • 2 tablespoons chopped basil, preferably Thai

Instructions

  1. Bring a kettle of water to a boil. Place noodles in a low wide baking dish. Pour boiling water over the noodles to completely submerge them and swish them around a little bit. Let sit 10 minutes to soften, agitating gently once or twice to prevent clumping. Drain and rinse with cold water.
  2. Meanwhile, whisk brown sugar, tomato paste, lime juice, fish sauce and vinegar in a small bowl. Set aside.
  3. Heat oil in a large skillet over medium high heat. Add turkey and scallion greens. Crumble and stir the meat with a wooden spoon as it browns. Cook until the meat is cooked through, 6 to 9 minutes. Add cabbage and coconut milk and reduce heat to medium. Stir until the cabbage is just slightly wilted, 1 to 2 minutes. Transfer the turkey mixture to a large bowl.
  4. Add the reserved sauce to the skillet and the drained noodles and cook over medium heat, stirring, until the noodles are heated through, about 1 minute. Transfer the noodle mixture to the bowl with the turkey, add the scallion greens and toss to coat. Serve each portion topped with the herbs and nuts.

Notes

How to reheat leftovers:

Place the Pad Thai in a covered microwave safe dish, add a bit of water and reheat in 30 second increments.


Nutrition

  • Serving Size: 2 cups each
  • Calories: 365
  • Sodium: 494mg
  • Fat: 13
  • Saturated Fat: 3 g
  • Fiber: 3 g
  • Protein: 21 g