Vegan Pad Thai

Vegan Pad Thai made with flat rice noodles, veggies and tofu!

This is one of my favorite weeknight meals and comes together rather quickly.

noodles served in a plate, garnished with crushed peanuts, chives and lime wedges

If there’s one dish that I eat at every Thai restaurant, then it’s this- Pad Thai along with the Thai fried rice maybe.

However more often that not, I am left disappointed with the vegan pad thai that most restaurants serve. I think mostly I am not a fan of the sauce.

There are few places though including a local Thai place who make amazing vegan pad thai, so whenever I have a craving, we would just drive to that place.

But with how things are in the world right now, dining in is not an option (not for now at least).

So, few days back when I had the pad thai craving, I knew I had to make it at home.

I have made these noodles several times at home but never really used the right type of noodles.

Mostly I would just use spaghetti because that’s what I had on hand. But this time around, I ordered all the grocery and made the real deal.

I can’t claim it to be authentic (because I am not Thai!) but I can guarantee that it tastes like a good pad thai from your favorite Thai restaurant!

What is Pad Thai

Pad Thai is a stir-fry rice noodle dish served as a street food in Thailand.

It is extremely popular not only in Thailand but world over.

The first time I had pad thai was many years ago at a local Thai restaurant.

And since then it’s go to-dish whenever we eat at a Thai place.

Making this dish at home is not difficult. But you do need the right ingredients for that authentic taste.

Here are few things in my opinion are essential good a good pad thai.

Choose the right noodles- starting with the noodles of course, make sure you choose the right type of noodles for this dish. Pad thai is made with flat rice noodles.

I use medium width rice stick noodles which works very well for this recipe. You can choose any wide rice noodles here.

For the pad thai recipe, these rice stick noodles only need to be soaked in hot water for around 8 minutes, then drained and added to the stir-fry.

pack of rice stick noodles

Right ingredients for the sauce- the flavor of pad thai depends on the sauce so the ingredients have to be correct.

This sauce has three main ingredients:  tamarind, soy sauce and brown sugar.

The sourness in pad thai comes from Tamarind. You have to use it for that authentic flavor.

I always have a jar of tamarind concentrate in the fridge because I use it in sambar often. Traditionally for sambar and also for pad thai, the tamarind block has to be soaked and then the juice has to extracted.

But, I feel the tamarind concentrate works well and saves me time. You will be find it at any Indian grocery or Asian grocery store.

Sure, you will find recipes using vinegar but for that authentic flavor, don’t skip on the tamarind.

If you have whole tamarind block, soak a small block in hot water for around 20 minutes, then extract the thick juice using a strainer and use that in the recipe.

The second key ingredient in the sauce is fish sauce but since I am a vegetarian, I just use more of the soy sauce.

If you want to add more depth of flavors, you can add some vegetarian oyster sauce. I did not add it.

Other essential ingredients- so, the other ingredients which you need for that authentic taste are bean sprouts, tofu and garlic chives.

You can find these at any Asian grocery store. If you can’t find garlic chives, use green onions.

Garnishes are important- a pad thai is incomplete without those crushed peanuts and lime wedges. Do not skip on these!

I also like to serve mine with a bowl of hot chili sauce. It’s a must in my opinion.

pair of chopsticks picking noodles from a plate

Method

1- Add rice stick noodles to a large pot and then pour boiling water over the noodles. Soak noodles in boiling water for 8 minutes.

2- Then drain the water and rinse the noodles under cold water and set aside. I also cut the noodles sometimes with a scissor so that it’s easier to toss the noodles with the sauce and veggies later.

I followed the instructions for the rice stick noodles that I used, if using any other noodle type, follow the instructions on the package.

3- To a measuring jar or bowl, add all the ingredients for the sauce- tamarind concentrate, soy sauce, brown sugar and 1 tablespoon water. Mix well and set aside.

4- Press the tofu with a heavy object for around 20 minutes, do this before you soak the noodles. Then cut into small cubes and toss the tofu with cornstarch until coated.

step by step picture collage of making vegan pad thai

5- Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a skillet on medium heat. Once hot, add the cornstarch tossed tofu to the pan in a single layer. Cook for around 7 minutes on one side until it turns golden brown in color. Then flip and cook the other side. Remove the cooked tofu on a plate.

6- To a wok, now add the remaining 2 tablespoons of oil on medium-high heat. Once hot, add the chopped garlic, sliced onion, thai chili and cook for 2 minutes.

7- Then add the sliced carrot and peppers and cook for 2 more minutes.

8- Add the bean sprouts and mix.

step by step picture collage of making vegan pad thai

9- Add in the prepared sauce

10- Followed by the noodles. Mix well until everything is well combined, I use a pair of tongs to mix everything together.

11- Cook for around 3 minutes until all of the sauce is absorbed by the noodles. Then add garlic chives.

12- Also add salt and red chili flakes, mix and turn off the heat.

step by step picture collage of making vegan pad thai

Place this Vegan Pad Thai on serving plate and garnish with lots of crushed peanuts and serve with lime wedge and a side of hot sauce.

noodles with a pair of chopsticks on a plate garnished with cilantro, crushed peanuts and lime wedges

If you’ve tried this Vegan Pad Thai Recipe then don’t forget to rate the recipe! You can also follow me on FacebookInstagram to see what’s latest in my kitchen!

Vegan Pad Thai

noodles served in a plate, garnished with crushed peanuts, chives and lime wedges
Manali
Homemade Vegan Pad Thai Noodles with veggies and tofu! This is one of my favorite weeknight meals, so easy and so much flavor!
5 from 1 vote
Prep Time 15 mins
Cook Time 20 mins
Course Main Course
Cuisine Thai
Servings 3
Calories 533 kcal

Ingredients
  

  • 200 grams rice stick noodles 7 oz
  • 2.5 tablespoons tamarind concentrate
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce 30 ml
  • 3 tablespoons brown sugar 36 grams
  • 1 tablespoon water 15 ml
  • 4 oz extra-firm tofu pressed and then tossed in 1 tablespoon cornstarch
  • 3 tablespoons oil divided, use any oil of choice
  • 3 large garlic cloves chopped
  • 1 medium onion sliced, I used yellow onion
  • 1 thai chili chopped
  • 1 medium carrot sliced thin
  • 1 large red pepper sliced
  • 1.5 cups bean sprouts
  • 1/2 cup garlic chives chopped 3/4 inch long
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt or as needed
  • 1/4 teaspoon red chili flakes or as needed
  • crushed/chopped peanuts for serving, around 2-3 tablespoons
  • lime wedges for serving
  • hot sauce for serving
  • cilantro optional, for serving

Instructions
 

  • Add rice stick noodles to a large pot and then pour boiling water over the noodles. Soak noodles in boiling water for 8 minutes.
    Then drain the water and rinse the noodles under cold water and set aside. I also cut the noodles sometimes with a scissor so that it's easier to toss the noodles with the sauce and veggies later.
    I followed the instructions for the rice stick noodles that I used, if using any other noodle type, follow the instructions on the package.
    rice stick noodles soaked in water
  • To a measuring jar or bowl, add all the ingredients for the sauce- tamarind concentrate, soy sauce, brown sugar and 1 tablespoon water. Mix well and set aside.
    measuring jar with soy sauce, tamarind concentrate being mixed together
  • Press the tofu with a heavy object for around 20 minutes, do this before you soak the noodles. Then cut into small cubes and toss the tofu with cornstarch until coated.
    cubes of tofu coated in cornstarch
  • Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a skillet on medium heat. Once hot, add the cornstarch tossed tofu to the pan in a single layer. Cook for around 7 minutes on one side until it turns golden brown in color. Then flip and cook the other side. Remove the cooked tofu on a plate.
    tofu being cooked on a cast iron skillet
  • To a wok, now add the remaining 2 tablespoons of oil on medium-high heat. Once hot, add the chopped garlic, sliced onion, thai chili and cook for 2 minutes.
    sliced onion, garlic and red thai pepper in a wok
  • Then add the sliced carrot and peppers and cook for 2 more minutes, then add the bean sprouts and mix.
    sliced carrots, peppers, bean sprouts in a wok
  • Add in the prepared sauce followed by the noodles. Mix well until everything is well combined, I use a pair of tongs to mix everything together.
    noodles with stir-fry veggies in a wok
  • Cook for around 3 minutes until all of the sauce is absorbed by the noodles. Then add garlic chives.
    Also add salt and red chili flakes, mix and turn off the heat.
    noodles in a wok garnished with chives
  • Place this Vegan Pad Thai on serving plate and garnish with lots of crushed peanuts and serve with lime wedge and a side of hot sauce.
    pad thai noodles served in a blue plate with pair of chopsticks

Notes

  1. If you wish, you can add the pan fried tofu at the end before serving. This will keep them crispier.
  2. To make this gluten-free, use gluten-free soy sauce (tamari).
  3. While you soak the noodles, press the tofu too. And then chop everything. 
  4. If you have whole tamarind block, soak a small part of it in hot water for 20 minutes, then use a strainer to strain the juice. Use that thick juice in the recipe. 

Nutrition

Calories: 533kcalCarbohydrates: 90gProtein: 10gFat: 16gSaturated Fat: 1gSodium: 1041mgPotassium: 527mgFiber: 5gSugar: 27gVitamin A: 5158IUVitamin C: 84mgCalcium: 75mgIron: 3mg
Keyword vegan pad thai
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2 thoughts on “Vegan Pad Thai

  1. 5 stars
    Really easy! I would recommend decreasing tamarind concentrate to ~ 1.5 tbsp ( this may also depend on what kind of concentrate you are using). Otherwise, really good recipe for an authentic pad thai!

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