Basil Thai Chicken With Zoodles (Whole30, Paleo, GF, DF)
Delicious and easy homemade takeout in under 20 minutes, this Basil Thai Chicken With Zoodles will be your new favorite dish. Full of flavor and easily adaptable to any dietary needs, Basil Thai Chicken is also a make-ahead meal prep dream dish.
A former client of mine from Thailand brought this dish to a potluck and I was instantly hooked. I very sweetly but (quite) aggressively demanded the recipe and still have a print out of the email in my homemade recipe book today.
Another name for Basil Thai Chicken is Gai Pad Krapow (or pad kra pao gai). The recipe my client shared with me used American-ized ingredients because our town lacks a really good Asian market.
What Ingredients are in Basil Thai Chicken?
Well, we’re going for a Captain Obvious answer on this one, but basil and chicken kind of play a significant starring role.
- Thai basil
- Ground chicken (or pork or turkey)
- Fresh ginger
- Soy sauce or coconut aminos
- Chicken stock (related: How to Make Chicken Stock – Three Ways)
- Salt and pepper
- Red pepper flakes
While the recipe I was given only called for carrots, I’ve also added green beans, asparagus, and/or snap peas depending on the season. Peppers, mushrooms (barf), broccoli, or even squash would be wonderful additions as well. Go nuts!
Many recipes call for sliced chicken breast. I’m not sure why Jirapa chose to use ground meat, but I’ve stuck to her directions and it has never steered me wrong.
Traditional recipes will call for whole Thai chilies to be cooked with the meat. I was told to use red pepper flakes, and again, I believe that is due to the availability of local ingredients. And I wasn’t about to “American-splain” how to cook Thai food to someone from Thailand, so I still use red pepper flakes.
I’m always looking for brainless ways to add more veggies to my meals, so I prefer to serve this over zucchini noodles (“zoodles”). Pro tip: to make this a meal prep-style dish, spiralize the zucchini and place in a colander over a bowl or plate. Lightly salt the zoodles to draw out extra water. They can sit uncovered in the fridge for up to 24 hours.
If you are vegetarian/vegan, check out this recipe from Nora Cooks for directions on how to incorporate “ground” tofu into this recipe.
How is Thai Basil Different From Regular Basil?
Just the appearance alone will let you know it’s not the traditional basil you find in a lot of Italian and Mediterranean cooking. The leaves are smaller and there often are streaks of purple underneath. It has a bit of a spicier flavor than “normal” basil, and you’ll find it served with many Thai curries.
In Thailand, most of the basil used in this type of recipe is called “Holy basil”. It is not a type commonly found here in the states, so look for herbs labeled as “Thai Basil” in your grocer’s produce section.
Can’t find Thai basil at your grocery store? Just use regular basil and we’ll still be friends. But you’ve been officially put on warning. Get your life together man.
Can This Recipe Be Made Whole30 or Paleo?
Yes! The only substitution you need to make would be to use coconut aminos instead of the soy sauce. And of course, serve the chicken over cauliflower rice, stir-fried veggies, or my favorite, zoodles.
Here’s How to Make It:
- Cook the ground chicken in a wok/frying pan until cooked through. Remove from pan.
- Add the ginger, garlic, carrots, red pepper flakes, soy sauce, and chicken stock, and cook for 3 minutes.
- Add the chicken back to the pan, and top with basil. Remove from heat and set aside for 2 minutes.
- Salt and pepper to taste and serve over rice, cauli rice, or zoodles.
Pro Tips/Recipe Notes:
- Make sure your rice is cooked and ready to go before you start cooking the meat.
- Thai Basil Chicken is a meal prep dream. It reheats so nicely and tastes even better the next day!
- To break up the ground chicken into a really fine “mince” I like to cook it until most of the pink is gone. I then take a pastry cutter and chop the meat into teeny pieces.
- Add more of any of the ingredients to your taste/preference. For instance, I love a bunch more basil in mine than what is called for in the recipe.
- I prefer the zoodles to be cold and topped with the warm chicken, but if you like yours warmed up it is just a 2-minute process. Add a tsp of olive oil to the empty pan and gently toss the zoodles around with tongs until warmed through.
More Recipes Like This:
- 10 Minute Instant Pot Bruschetta Chicken
- Real Food Instant Pot Orange Chicken
- Bahn Mi
- One Pan Teriyaki Chicken Dinner
Making this recipe or others?
Delicious and easy homemade takeout in under 20 minutes, this Basil Thai Chicken With Zoodles will be your new favorite dish. Full of flavor and easily adaptable to any dietary needs.
Place a frying pan or wok over medium heat. Preheat for five minutes.
Cook the ground chicken through; remove from the pan and set aside.
Add garlic, ginger, carrots, soy sauce, red pepper flakes, and chicken stock to the pan and cook until the carrots are crisp-tender - about 3 minutes. Add the chicken back to the pan.
Add basil. remove from heat and allow to sit for 2 minutes. Serve immediately over rice, cauliflower rice, or zoodles (zucchini noodles).
Make sure your rice is cooked and ready to go before you start cooking the meat.
Thai Basil Chicken is a meal prep dream. It reheats so nicely and tastes even better the next day!
To break up the ground chicken into a really fine "mince" I like to cook it until most of the pink is gone. I then take a pastry cutter and chop the meat into teeny pieces.
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This post was originally published in August 2011. It has been retested and updated with reader feedback. New photos were added and the recipe was made printable.