Vegan pad Thai is easier to make than you might think. With a few simple ingredients, vegans can enjoy this popular Thai dish, and it tastes amazing! Plus, it's loaded with colorful veg and crunchy tofu.
If I had to pick a favorite dinner recipe, it would have to be pad Thai. With its unique combination of perfectly balanced tastes, there's just something so moreish about this fresh and fragrant Thai dish.
Traditional pad Thai is made with fish sauce, and I've heard that you can buy vegan fish sauce, but I've never been able to find it. So, I created this recipe to replicate the sour, sweet and salty flavor combination of pad Thai, but with simple ingredients that you can easily find at your local grocery store.
Ingredients you'll need to make my vegan pad thai recipe:
- Rice Noodles: There are two kinds of rice noodles, vermicelli and the wider rice noodles typically used in pad Thai. Choose the wider variety. A thicker noodle is the perfect vehicle for the delectable sweet and sour sauce. Rice noodles are usually a combination of rice and tapioca flour, making them gluten free.
- Sesame Oil: If you can find it, choose toasted sesame oil. The earthy, nutty flavor goes a long way to replacing the taste of fish sauce in traditional pad Thai.
- Tamarind: Tamarind paste comes in a jar, and is different from tamarind pulp, which comes in blocks. It's what gives pad Thai that classic sweet and sour taste. You can usually find it in most well stocked grocery stores, but if you can't find it you can replace it with equal parts lime and brown sugar.
- Maple Syrup: I made this recipe using maple syrup as a replacement for the refined sugar found in most pad Thai recipes.
- Rice Wine Vinegar: Adds a bit more of that unique sour taste in pad Thai. You can replace it with an equal amount of lime juice.
- Sriracha Sauce: Any kind of chili sauce will do. I used Sriracha sauce. Omit it if you prefer a pad Thai that's not spicy.
- Chili Pepper: If you can find a Thai red chili pepper, that's ideal. Otherwise, any red chili will do. Again, omit the chili if you don't like a spicy pad Thai.
- Garlic: Garlic just stretches all the other flavors. We'll be using it to stir fry the veg.
- Carrots: I recommend julienning the carrots with a julienne tool . If you don't have one, just use a peeler to get long noodle like strips of carrots.
- Spring Onions: With a milder taste to yellow and red onions, spring onions make a great flavorful base to any stir fry.
- Red Pepper: Sweet red pepper adds a lovely flavor and color to this vegan pad Thai. This recipe is very flexible though, so feel free to sub in veg that you have on hand.
- Bean Sprouts: You could use mung bean sprouts or the crunchier soy bean sprouts.
- Tofu: Use an extra firm tofu for maximum crunchiness without pressing.
- Peanuts: Choose roasted peanuts, or avoid the added salt and roast them yourself in a cast iron pan.
- Lime: Serve your vegan pad Thai with a few wedges of lime.
- Coriander: The perfect garnish!
How To Make Vegan Pad Thai:
- Cook you noodles according to the instructions on the packet. Rice noodles do not need to cook for as long as pasta, so be sure to follow the instructions. I cooked mine for three minutes. Drain the rice noodles, and toss them in a pan with a bit of sesame oil to ensure that they don't stick together.
- Make your pad Thai sauce by combining the tamarind, maple syrup, rice vinegar, soy sauce and sriracha in a small saute pan over low heat. Simmer for about 1 minute, whisking continuously. Set the sauce aside while you stir-fry your vegetables and make your crunchy tofu.
- Squeeze as much water out the tofu as possible. In a heavy bottom pan, heat 1 tablespoon of sesame oil. When the oil is hot add your tofu cubes, and fry until the they're crispy and golden.
- Set the tofu aside and add another tablespoon of sesame oil to the pan. Saute your garlic, chili peppers, carrots, spring onions and red pepper for two-3 minutes.
- Now, combine everything in a saute pan and heat through.
- While your vegan pad Thai is cooking, crush your peanuts in a mortar and pestle. Alternatively, put them in a bag and crush them with a hammer or heavy object.
- Garnish your pad Thai with lime wedges, peanuts and coriander. Tuck in and enjoy your vegan pad Thai!
Did You Make This Recipe?
Questions About This Recipe:
This pad Thai recipe doesn't include ketchup like some American restaurants do. Instead, we are using tamarind paste for an authentic taste.
Vegan Pad Thai will keep in the fridge for three days in an airtight container.
You can freeze pad Thai for up to six months. Thaw in the fridge overnight and transfer the contents to a saute pan. Saute until everything is warmed through.
If You Liked This Recipe, You Might Also Like These Vegan Recipes:
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Vegan Pad Thai
For The Pad Thai
- 225 grams wide rice noodles
- 2 ½ tbsp sesame oil divided
- 4 spring onions, plus extra for garnish chopped finely
- 1 red chilli deseeded and diced
- 3 garlic cloves minced
- 2 carrots julienned or peeled into long strips
- 1 red pepper sliced
- 50 grams (½ cup) bean sprouts
- 200 grams firm tofu
For The Sauce:
- 1½ tbsp tamarind paste
- 2½ tbsp maple syrup
- 1 tbsp rice vinegar
- 1 tbsp tamari or soy sauce
- 2 tsp sriracha sauce
For The Topping
- 60 grams roasted peanuts crushed
- ½ cup beansprouts
- ½ cup chopped coriander
- 1 tsp black sesame seeds (optional)
- Prepare the noodles according to the instructions on the packet. Drain, return to the pan and add ½ tbsp sesame oil to prevent the noodles sticking together.
- In a small fry pan, stir together the tamarind, maple syrup, rice vinegar, tamari and sriracha sauce. Cook over low heat, whisking continuously for 1 minute. Set the sauce aside.
- Heat the remaining 2 tbsp of sesame oil in a fry pan or wok and add the tofu cubes. Saute for 4 minutes or until the tofu is golden brown. Add the spring onions, garlic and chilli. Saute for another 2 minutes.
- Add the carrots and red peppers and bean sprouts, and saute for a further 1 minute.
- Crush the peanuts in a mortar and pestle. Alternatively put them in a baggies and crush them with a hammer or heavy object.
- Add the noodles to the pan, and stir to incorporate the veg. Pour the sauce over the noodles, and garnish with crushed peanuts, coriander, bean sprouts and lime wedges.