Vegan Pad Thai
This vegan Pad Thai recipe tastes just like your favourite takeout version, but it’s made without fish sauce or scrambled eggs, making it perfect for plant-based diets! Bonus: you only need 20 minutes to make it from start to finish!
Pad Thai is one of those restaurant dishes that’s sometimes stealthily un-vegan. You might think ordering tofu Pad Thai will mean it’s plant-based, but then: oops, there are scrambled eggs in there! So next time, you ask for no eggs, but: oops again, there’s fish sauce in traditional Pad Thai too!
Well, when you make Pad Thai at home, there are no oopses. You know what you’re getting is vegan!
Now, there are a lot of vegan Pad Thai recipes floating around online, and many of them don’t measure up to the restaurant version. Often, the reason is because they don’t use tamarind paste.
While we all hate having to buy ingredients we might not use often, tamarind paste really is key to that Pad Thai flavour. Without it, you just have stir fried noodles, which are nice, but, well, they’re not Pad Thai. So don’t skip it!
Notes on Ingredients
Please note that this is important information on the ingredients and instructions and the FULL recipe with amounts and details can be found DOWN BELOW (scroll to it) in the recipe card.
- Wide flat rice noodles
- Avocado oil – Or another neutral-flavoured oil suitable for cooking.
- Extra-firm tofu – You’ll need to press the tofu first; learn more here: How To Cook Tofu 101 + Best Tips on Making the Most Delicious Tofu.
- Tamarind paste
- Tamari or low-sodium soy sauce
- Brown or coconut sugar
- Rice wine vinegar
- Chili garlic sauce – Add more or less, according to your preferences.
- Bell pepper
- Baby bella mushrooms – White mushrooms or an Asian variety of mushroom works, too.
- Bean sprouts
- Roasted peanuts – If you happen to have a peanut allergy, roasted cashews are also excellent in Pad Thai, even if they’re not quite as authentic!
Where Do You Find Tamarind Paste in the Grocery Store?
You should be able to find tamarind paste in the Asian section at your grocery store, either by the Thai or Indian products. Sometimes it can be found with the Latin American products, too. If not, you can always order it on Amazon.
How to Make Vegan Pad Thai
While this is the kind of recipe ideal for an easy weeknight dinner, vegan Pad Thai also keeps well in the fridge, so it works for meal prep too! Here’s what you’ll need to do.
Prepare the noodles. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over high heat, then add the noodles and cook them according to the package instructions. Drain and return the noodles to the pot.
Cook the tofu. While the noodles boil, heat 2 tablespoons of oil in a large skillet set over medium heat. Add the tofu and cook until it’s browned on all sides. Transfer the tofu to a plate.
Make the sauce. Stir together the tamarind paste, tamari or soy sauce, sugar, rice vinegar, and chili garlic sauce in a small bowl or liquid measuring cup.
Cook the Pad Thai. Heat the remaining tablespoon oil in the skillet, this time over medium heat. Add the peppers and mushrooms and cook until softened, about 5 minutes, stirring often. Return the tofu to the skillet, then add the noodles and sauce. Stir to combine and cook for 1 to 2 minutes, or until everything heated through and evenly coated in the sauce.
Finish. Stir in the bean sprouts and lime juice, then turn off the heat. Serve with peanuts and cilantro.
Tips for Success
There’s not much to this vegan Pad Thai recipe, but here are some simple tips to make sure it’s perfect.
- Cooking the tofu. Be sure to press the tofu to get all the water out, then when you’re cooking it, split it into batches if necessary to avoid crowding the pan. Don’t move the tofu until the bottom is brown and crispy; at this point, you can flip it and cook the other side.
- Making it your own. Pad Thai at restaurants doesn’t usually have veggies added to the mix, but that’s the beauty of making it at home! I added bell peppers and mushrooms, but feel free to add any veggies you like or happen to have on hand—or skip them if you prefer.
- Don’t over-cook it. Once the sauce is absorbed, the noodles will start sticking to the bottom of the pan.
Because this vegan Pad Thai recipe is so easy to make, you can easily pair it with other Thai-inspired recipes and have a takeout-at-home night. Here are some of my favourites:
- Quick and Easy Thai Green Curry
- Thai Peanut Sauce
- Vegan Thai Red Curry with Tofu
- Fresh Spring Rolls with Peanut Ginger Sauce
How to Store and Reheat Leftovers
Leftovers can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 4 days. Reheat in the microwave, or in a skillet on the stovetop with a splash of oil.
Can This Recipe Be Frozen?
You can freeze this vegan Pad Thai for up to 3 months. Store it in an airtight container or freezer bag. It can be microwaved from frozen, or you can let it thaw in the refrigerator first for more even heating.
Enjoy friends! If you make this vegan Pad Thai recipe, please snap a photo and tag #jessicainthekitchen on Instagram! We’d also love it if you would leave a comment below, and give the recipe a rating! Thanks so much!
Vegan Pad Thai
- 8 ounces wide flat rice noodles
- 3 tablespoons avocado oil
- 7.5 ounces extra-firm tofu, pressed and cut into 1⁄2-inch cubes
- 2 tablespoons tamarind paste
- ⅓ cup tamari or low-sodium soy sauce
- 2 tbsp brown or coconut sugar
- 2 tbsp rice wine vinegar
- 1-3 tsp chili garlic sauce, to taste
- 1 bell pepper, sliced thinly
- 8 ounces sliced baby bella mushrooms
- 1 lime, juiced
- 2 cups bean sprouts
- ½ cup roasted peanuts, chopped
- ¼ cup fresh cilantro
- Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over high heat. When boiling, add the noodles and cook according to package instructions, then drain and return to the pot.
- Meanwhile, heat 2 tablespoons oil in a large skillet over medium heat. When hot, add the tofu and cook until browned on all sides, working in batches if necessary to avoid crowding the pan. Transfer the tofu to a plate.
- Meanwhile, stir together the tamarind paste, tamari/soy sauce, sugar, rice vinegar, and chili garlic sauce in a bowl or liquid measuring cup.
- Heat the remaining tablespoon oil in the empty skillet over medium. Add the peppers and mushrooms and cook, stirring, until softened, about 5 minutes. Return the tofu and noodles to the skillet, along with the sauce. Stir to combine and cook for 1-2 minutes, until heated through and the sauce coats the noodles. Stir in the bean sprouts and lime juice and turn off the heat.
- Garnish with peanuts and cilantro to serve.
Disclaimer: Although jessicainthekitchen.com attempts to provide accurate nutritional information, kindly note that these are only estimates. Nutritional information may be affected based on the product type, the brand that was purchased, and in other unforeseeable ways. Jessicainthekitchen.com will not be held liable for any loss or damage resulting for your reliance on nutritional information. If you need to follow a specific caloric regimen, please consult your doctor first.