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Better than takeout, and on the table in 30 minutes! This vegan pad Thai is packed with flavor, easy enough for a weeknight, but also perfect for special dinners.

Time for some bad news. Pad Thai isn’t normally vegan. This is true for even veggie pad Thai! So be careful if you order it at a restaurant.

It’s usually made with fish sauce. So I set out to create a vegan pad Thai using absolutely no fish sauce. All I had to do was increase a few of the other ingredients you normally find in pad Thai to supply that salty, sour, umami flavor.

Jump to:
  • What You’ll Need
  • How to Make Vegetable Pad Thai
  • Shelf-Life & Storage
  • Frequently Asked Questions
  • More Vegan Thai Recipes
  • Vegan Pad Thai

What You’ll Need

  • Rice noodles. You preferably want to use pad Thai noodles, which are flat and about as wide as linguine, but other shapes of rice noodles work as well.
  • Soy sauce. Substitute with gluten-free tamari if needed.
  • Brown sugar. Use organic to keep the recipe vegan.
  • Tamarind paste. This might also be labeled “tamarind concentrate,” but be careful: not all products labeled “tamarind concentrate” are the same. Look for a product sold in jars that’s deep brown and the consistency of ketchup. Don’t use anything that’s pulpy or sold in blocks. Check out the brand I’ve linked to in my recipe if you’re uncertain.
  • Water.
  • Sambal oelek. This ingredient adds heat, so leave it out if you prefer a milder dish. Look for this in the international foods section of your supermarket. Sriracha can be substituted if needed.
  • Garlic.
  • Canola oil. Another high heat oil can be substituted, such as peanut or vegetable.
  • Snap peas. Substitute another firm green veggie such as broccoli or asparagus if these aren’t your thing.
  • Red bell pepper. Or orange, or yellow.
  • Shallot. Use red onion if this isn’t available.
  • Scallions.
  • Bean sprouts. These add great texture but can sometimes be hard to find (for me at least). Leave them out if you must!
  • Roasted peanuts.
  • Limes.

How to Make Vegetable Pad Thai

The following is a detailed photo tutorial on how to make this dish. Scroll down if you’d prefer to skip right to the recipe!

  • Do your prep work before starting on the stir-fry: mix your sauce, chop your veggies, and boil your noodles. You want everything to be ready to go when you need it!
  • Now pan-fry your tofu. Lightly oil a skillet and add diced, pressed tofu.
  • Cook the tofu pieces for about 5 minutes on each side, until they’re browned and crispy.
  • Remove the tofu from the skillet.
  • Turn up the heat and add some more oil to the skillet. Add the snap peas, sliced bell pepper, and sliced shallot. Stir-fry the veggies until they intensify in color and become tender-crisp, about 2 minutes.
  • Turn the heat down a bit and push the veggies to the side of the skillet. Carefully pour the sauce into that space that you just created.
  • The sauce should start to bubble up pretty quickly. If it’s taking a while, turn up the heat.
  • Now add your noodles and chopped scallions. Stir everything up with a fork, distributing the ingredients and coating the noodles with sauce.
  • Stir in the tofu, then take the skillet off of heat and top your pad Thai with crushed peanuts and bean sprouts. Serve it with lime wedges on the side.

Shelf-Life & Storage

Leftovers of this dish will keep in the fridge for 2-3 days. The noodles will start to stick together, but it’ll still taste delicious.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can this pad Thai be made gluten-free?

Sure! Just use gluten-free tamari instead of soy sauce.

Is there a substitute for tofu in this recipe?

Try using tempeh, seitan, or some extra veggies instead.

Where can I find tamarind paste?

Try the international foods section of your supermarket. If they don’t carry it, try an Asian market or online.

Is this recipe spicy?

It has a very slight kick. If you prefer a milder version, leave the sambal oelek out.

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