This Vegan Pad Thai dish combines the essence of Thai cuisine with plant-based goodness. This vibrant and satisfying recipe features tender rice noodles, crispy tofu, and a colorful array of fresh vegetables, all tossed in a luscious peanut sauce.
Each bite of this incredibly delicious Pad Thai is packed with of flavor and texture. The chewy rice noodles provide a perfect base for the medley of ingredients, while the crispy tofu adds a protein-packed element.
It's all combined with veggies such as red bell peppers and julienned carrots for the dish's refreshing crunch and sweetness.
The real star of this recipe is the creamy peanut sauce, featuring the perfect blend of umami, sweet, and savory ingredients. This flavorful sauce coats every ingredient, giving the dish richness and depth.
- What is Vegan Pad Thai?
- Why This Is The Best Vegan Pad Thai Recipe
- What You Need to Make Vegan Pad Thai At Home
- How to Make Vegan Pad Thai Step by Step
- Tips For Making the Best Vegan Pad Thai Every Single Time
- Serving Suggestions
- What Other Types of Plant-Based Protein Can I Add to Vegan Pad Thai?
- Recipe Variation Ideas for Vegan Pad Thai
- Frequently Asked Questions
- How to Store Leftover Vegan Pad Thai
- Similar Recipes
This vegan version of Pad Thai is incredibly delicious and showcases plant-based ingredients' versatility. It captures the essence of Thai cuisine in a delicious vegan dish for a vibrant and satisfying meal that's both delicious and nourishing. I'm sure you're going to love the flavors.
Read on to learn exactly how to make this delicious Vegan Pad Thai recipe!
What is Vegan Pad Thai?
Vegan Pad Thai is a plant-based version of the popular Thai dish called pad thai.
Traditionally, pad thai consists of rice noodles stir-fried with eggs, shrimp, or chicken and a flavorful sauce made with ingredients like fish sauce and oyster sauce.
In the vegan version, these animal-based ingredients are replaced with plant-based alternatives. This creates a delicious and cruelty-free dish. What's best is that my recipe calls for some simple ingredients, all of which can be found in most grocery stores.
Why This Is The Best Vegan Pad Thai Recipe
Authentic flavors: This recipe captures the essence of traditional Pad Thai while using plant-based ingredients. Our homemade vegan Pad Thai sauce will give you a rich and flavorful sauce that closely resembles the taste of non-vegan versions.
Nutritious: This Vegan Pad Thai incorporates a variety of colorful vegetables and protein-rich tofu, providing a well-rounded meal packed with essential nutrients. Plus, it's low in sodium and calories!
Simple ingredients: All you need are some simple pantry staple ingredients to make this delicious dish at home.
Easy to make: What's best is that this recipe is incredibly easy to make, even for first-time cooks making it accessible to just about everyone!
What You Need to Make Vegan Pad Thai At Home
All you need are some incredibly simple, pantry-staple ingredients to make this delicious vegan pad Thai recipe at home.
Vegan Pad Thai ingredients: rice noodles, cooking oil, peanut butter sauce, roasted peanuts, firm tofu, bell peppers, carrots, cilantro, green onion, and lime.
Pad Thai ingredients: peanut butter, Maple syrup, soy sauce, sriracha, lime juice, garlic, ground ginger, and water.
For the Pad Thai:
Rice noodles: Rice noodles are the perfect base that easily absorbs the flavors of the sauce and other ingredients in the dish. This allows the pad thai noodles to soak up the rich peanut sauce, adding flavor to every bite.
Vegetable oil: We'll also use some vegetable oil in this recipe. I love and recommend using avocado oil. It has a high smoke point, which means it can withstand the high temperatures needed for stir-frying without breaking down or imparting unwanted flavors.
Tofu: You'll also need some firm or extra firm tofu pressed and sliced into small pieces. It's a great source of plant-based protein in this recipe. It also makes the dish more filling and nutritionally balanced, adding a delicious textural contrast to the tender rice noodles and crunchy veggies.
Red bell pepper: One of the veggies you'll need is red and green bell peppers. They add a pleasant sweetness to the dish, balancing out the savory and umami elements of the peanut sauce.
Carrot: We'll also need some carrots that add a delicious crunch to the recipe and the flavors work perfectly with all the other ingredients.
For Garnishing Pad Thai:
Fresh cilantro: You'll need some fresh chopped cilantro to add a delicious flavor and freshness to the dish. It also looks great for presentation!
Green onions: For a slightly sharp flavor, we'll also garnish it with chopped green onions to our pad thai. It enhances the flavor and gives it a more authentic flavor.
Roasted peanuts: You'll also need some roasted peanuts. Some famous Thai recipes include roasted peanuts, including Pad Thai. So adding it to our dish will give it that authentic feel.
Lime wedges: We'll also be serving it with some lime wedges. Squeezing lime wedges over the Pad Thai adds a refreshing burst of acidity and tanginess.
For the Homemade Peanut Sauce:
Smooth peanut butter: Peanut butter is the primary ingredient for the peanut sauce in this recipe. It acts as a base, providing a smooth and creamy consistency that coats the rice noodles, tofu, and vegetables.
Plus, it adds a subtle umami flavor, contributing to the savory notes of the dish.
Soy sauce: We'll also need some soy sauce which adds a rich and savory flavor to the Pad Thai. It provides depth and complexity to the dish, enhancing the overall flavor.
Water: You'll also need some water to help us achieve the perfect consistency for the sauce.
Lime juice: We'll also need some lime juice that perfectly balances all the flavors and adds a slight acidity to this dish.
Maple syrup: We'll use some maple syrup for a deliciously sweet flavor. It's perfect to use and a great alternative to sugar.
Sriracha sauce: You'll also need some Sriracha sauce to add some heat to the peanut sauce. It allows you to easily adjust the level of spiciness in the dish according to your taste preferences. Simply add more or less sriracha sauce for just the right level of spiciness.
Garlic: Garlic is the perfect aromatic for this dish since it's known for enhancing the umami flavors in a dish. When combined with soy sauce and peanut butter, it intensifies their savory notes, adding depth and complexity to the peanut sauce.
Ground ginger: We'll add some ginger to our homemade pad Thai peanut sauce. It's a classic ingredient for Asian recipes and helps capture the authentic flavors of pad thai.
How to Make Vegan Pad Thai Step by Step
Making this delicious Vegan Pad Thai recipe at home is super easy and will give you great results every single time. Here's how to make it step by step:
- Cook the rice noodles. In a large pot of boiling water, cook the rice noodles according to the package instructions. Drain and set it aside.
- Prepare the peanut sauce. In a small bowl, whisk together peanut butter, soy sauce, water, lime juice, maple syrup, Sriracha sauce, garlic, and ginger until smooth. Set it aside for now.
- Pan-fry the tofu. Heat the avocado oil over medium-high heat in a large skillet, pan, or wok. Add the sliced tofu and cook until lightly browned, about 5-7 minutes.
- Stir fry vegetables. Add the sliced red bell pepper and julienned carrot to the skillet.
Cook for an additional 3-5 minutes or until the vegetables are slightly softened.
- Add cooked rice noodles and peanut sauce. Add the cooked rice noodles to the skillet, along with the peanut sauce.
Toss everything together until the noodles and vegetables are coated in the sauce and heated through.
- Garnish Pad Thai
Divide the Pad Thai among serving plates and garnish with sliced green onions, chopped cilantro, chopped roasted peanuts, and lime wedges.
Your delicious Vegan Pad Thai is ready to be served.
Tips For Making the Best Vegan Pad Thai Every Single Time
Prep and organize ingredients: Before you start cooking, make that all your ingredients are prepped and ready to go. Slice the tofu, bell pepper, and carrots, chop the green onions and cilantro, and have the peanuts and lime wedges prepared. This recipe will come together quickly then.
Press the tofu: Pressing the tofu helps remove excess moisture, allowing it to brown better and absorb more flavors.
Cook noodles just until al dente: When cooking the rice noodles, follow the package instructions and cook them until they are just al dente (firm to the bite).
Overcooking can result in mushy noodles. Once cooked, immediately drain and rinse them with cold water to stop the cooking process and prevent them from sticking together.
Use medium-high heat for stir-frying: Stir-frying the tofu and vegetables requires high heat to achieve a nice sear and retain their crispness.
Toss gently: When combining the cooked noodles, peanut sauce, tofu, and vegetables, gently toss with tongs or chopsticks to coat everything evenly.
Customize garnishes: Feel free to customize the garnishes according to your preference. You can add more chopped peanuts for extra crunch, squeeze more lime juice for a tangier flavor, or adjust the amount of cilantro and green onions based on your taste.
Bean sprouts: Provide a bowl of fresh bean sprouts as an optional topping. Bean sprouts add a nice crunch and texture to the Pad Thai, and they're a common ingredient in traditional versions of the dish.
Side of edamame or steamed vegetables: For added variety and nutrition, consider serving a side of steamed edamame or lightly seasoned steamed veggies like broccoli or bok choy. These can be enjoyed alongside the Pad Thai or as a refreshing palate cleanser between bites.
Thai-inspired appetizers: If you want to create a complete Thai-inspired meal, consider serving appetizers like fresh spring rolls, crispy tofu bites, or vegetable dumplings. These appetizers can complement the flavors of the Pad Thai and provide a well-rounded dining experience.
What Other Types of Plant-Based Protein Can I Add to Vegan Pad Thai?
In addition to tofu, there are plenty of other plant-based proteins that can be added to vegan pad thai. Let's look at some ideas you can try:
- Tempeh: Replace tofu with tempeh, a fermented soy product with a nutty flavor and firmer texture.
- Seitan: Use seitan, a protein-rich meat substitute made from wheat gluten, for a chewy and hearty texture.
- Chickpeas: Add cooked chickpeas for an extra dose of protein and texture.
What Other Vegetables Work Well in Vegan Pad Thai?
You can use just about any stir fry vegetable for this delicious Thai dish. Here are some options you can try:
- Snap peas: Include snap peas for a fresh and crunchy element.
- Broccoli: Add broccoli florets for added color and nutrition.
- Mushrooms: Sautéed mushrooms can bring an earthy flavor to the dish.
- Baby corn: Use baby corn for a touch of sweetness and a visually appealing ingredient.
Recipe Variation Ideas for Vegan Pad Thai
This delicious Vegan Pad Thai is absolutely delicious as is, but here are some variation ideas you can try:
- Tamarind paste: For an authentic tangy taste, add a small amount of tamarind paste to the sauce.
- Vegan fish sauce: You can even add some vegan fish sauce for an authentic touch to this delicious peanut pad Thai sauce.
- Chili flakes: Sprinkle some chili flakes or add fresh chili peppers for an extra kick.
- Other herbs. Top the dish with fresh Thai basil leaves for a fragrant and herbal note. Alternatively, you can use sliced scallions instead of or in addition to green onions for a milder onion flavor.
Frequently Asked Questions
Pressing the tofu helps remove excess moisture, allowing it to brown better and absorb more flavors. Place the tofu block between paper towels or kitchen towels, and apply gentle pressure to squeeze out the moisture.
You can use a tofu press or place a heavy object (like a plate with weights) on top. Press for about 15-30 minutes before slicing and cooking.
This recipe contains soy sauce as one of the ingredients in the peanut sauce. Most commercially available soy sauces contain wheat, which means they are not gluten-free.
However, you can easily make this recipe gluten-free using a gluten-free soy sauce alternative or tamari sauce, a gluten-free soy sauce substitute made from fermented soybeans.
If you have a nut allergy or prefer to make this recipe nut-free, you can omit the roasted peanuts and use an alternative garnish for added texture. You can try toasted sesame seeds, crispy fried onions, or even sunflower or pumpkin seeds as substitutes.
Yes, you can adjust the spiciness of the peanut sauce to your liking. The amount of Sriracha sauce called for in the recipe can be increased or decreased based on your preference for heat.
Start with a smaller amount and gradually add more until you reach the desired level of spiciness. You can also add red pepper flakes to make it spicier!
While it's best to enjoy Pad Thai immediately after cooking, you can prep some ingredients beforehand to save time. You can slice the vegetables, prepare the sauce, and even cook the rice noodles beforehand.
Store them separately in airtight containers in the refrigerator, and when ready to serve, stir-fry the tofu and vegetables, reheat the noodles, and toss everything together with the sauce.
How to Store Leftover Vegan Pad Thai
You can store leftover Pad Thai in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3-4 days.
When reheating the Pad Thai, you may need to add a splash of water or vegetable broth to the skillet to help loosen the sauce and prevent it from becoming too thick.
You can also freeze the leftover Pad Thai in an airtight container for up to 2-3 months. To reheat, thaw it in the refrigerator overnight and then reheat it in a skillet over medium heat with a splash of water or vegetable broth.
If you make this recipe, please leave me a comment below and rate it. I always appreciate the feedback. Also, you can follow me on Facebook, Instagram, or Pinterest.
Easy Vegan Pad Thai (With Tofu and Homemade Peanut Sauce)
For Pad Thai
- 8 oz rice noodles
- 2 tablespoon vegetable oil I recommend avocado oil
- 1 block (14 oz) firm tofu pressed and chopped into bite-sized pieces
- ½ red bell pepper sliced
- ½ green bell pepper sliced
- 1 medium carrot peeled and julienned
- ½ c green onion sliced
- ½ c fresh cilantro chopped
- ½ c roasted peanuts chopped
- lime wedges for serving
For Peanut sauce
- ½ c smooth peanut butter
- ¼ c soy sauce or Tamari
- ¼ c water
- 2 tablespoon lime juice
- 1 tablespoon maple syrup
- 1 tablespoon Sriracha sauce
- 2 cloves garlic minced
- ½ teaspoon ginger grated
Cook the rice noodles
- In a large pot of boiling water, cook the rice noodles according to the package instructions. Drain and set it aside.
Prepare the peanut sauce
- In a small bowl, whisk together peanut butter, soy sauce, water, lime juice, maple syrup, Sriracha sauce, garlic, and ginger until smooth. Set it aside for now.
Pan-fry the tofu
- Heat the avocado oil over medium-high heat in a large skillet, pan, or wok. Add the sliced tofu and cook until lightly browned, about 5-7 minutes.
Stir fry vegetables
- Add the sliced red bell pepper and julienned carrot to the skillet. Cook for an additional 3-5 minutes or until the vegetables are slightly softened.
Add cooked rice noodles and peanut sauce
- Add the cooked rice noodles to the skillet, along with the peanut sauce. Toss everything together until the noodles and vegetables are coated in the sauce and heated through.
Garnish pad thai
- Divide the Pad Thai among serving plates and garnish with sliced green onions, chopped cilantro, chopped roasted peanuts, and lime wedges. Your delicious Vegan Pad Thai is ready to be served.