Best Vegan Tofu Pad Thai

Important Note: When you buy through our links, we may earn a commission. As an Amazon Associate we earn from qualifying purchases. Content, pricing, offers and availability are subject to change at any time - more info.

This easy vegan tofu Pad Thai recipe is the perfect way to satisfy your cravings for a delicious and healthy Thai dish. Made with fresh vegetables, rice noodles, crispy tofu, and an irresistible sauce, this vegan Pad Thai is sure to dazzle your taste buds. 

Pad Thai is a popular street food in Thailand that has become a staple in many restaurants and homes around the world. It’s a stir-fried noodle dish that is typically made with shrimp, scrambled egg, beansprouts, and peanuts. The dish is then seasoned with a tangy sauce made from tamarind paste, fish sauce, and sugar. 

Our best vegan tofu Pad Thai recipe offers a healthier, animal-free take on this beloved dish, without sacrificing any of its authentic flavors. Your tummy and palate will thank us later. 

Why You’ll Love This Best Vegan Tofu Pad Thai Recipe

This vegan Pad Thai recipe is packed with fresh vegetables, plant-based protein, and a flavorful sauce, making it a delicious, satisfying, and healthy option for lunch or dinner. Or even for breakfast (it’s a mighty effective hangover cure). 

Our recipe is quick and easy to prepare, taking only 30 minutes from start to finish. It’s perfect for busy weeknights when you want to enjoy a delectable meal without spending hours in the kitchen.

This recipe is 100% vegan, making it a great option for anyone following a plant-based diet or looking to reduce their consumption of animal products. Whether you are vegan or simply wish to reduce your meat consumption, this easy vegan Pad Thai is sure to make it onto your weekly recipe rotation. 

We’ve used traditional ingredients and spices to create an authentic vegan Pad Thai that is bursting with Pad Thai flavors. You won’t miss the meat, eggs, or fish sauce in this dish!

What Vegan Pad Thai Ingredients Do I Need?

Although the veggies are optional, I love the extra color and crunch they bring to this easy vegan Pad Thai. For this quick meal, you’ll need the following ingredients:

For the Pad Thai:

  • 8 oz. dried Pad Thai rice noodles or rice sticks (see Notes)
  • 1 block extra-firm tofu, drained and pressed
  • 2 Tbsp. vegetable oil
  • 5 cloves garlic, chopped
  • ½ cup shallots, chopped
  • 1 red bell pepper, sliced
  • 1 carrot, sliced into thin strips
  • 1 cup beansprouts
  • ¼ cup roasted salted peanuts, chopped
  • Lime wedges, for serving
  • Cilantro, for garnish

For the Sauce:

  • ¼ cup Thai cooking tamarind paste
  • 2 Tbsp. soy sauce
  • 3 Tbsp. brown sugar
  • 1 Tbsp. rice vinegar
  • 3 Tbsp. water
  • ¼ tsp. red pepper flakes (optional)

How To Make The Best Vegan Pad Thai With Tofu

Step 1: Presoak the noodles and make the sauce

Soak the rice noodles in lukewarm water for 10-15 minutes until just pliable but still firm. Drain and set aside.

Step 2: Prepare Tamarind Sauce

In a small bowl, whisk together the tamarind paste, water, soy sauce, brown sugar, rice vinegar, and red pepper flakes until well combined.

Step 3: Cook the tofu

Cut the tofu into small cubes. Heat 1 tablespoon of oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the tofu, season with a bit of salt, and cook until crispy and golden brown on all sides, about 5-7 minutes. Remove from the skillet and set aside.

Step 4: Sauté Shallots, Garlic, Bell Pepper, and Carrot

In the same skillet, add the remaining tablespoon of oil. Add the shallots, garlic, red bell pepper, and carrot, and cook for 2-3 minutes until slightly softened.

Step 5: Add Noodles and Peanuts with Sauce, Cook, and Add Beansprouts

Add the presoaked noodles and peanuts to the skillet.

Step 6: Cook with Sauce & Add Beansprouts

Pour the sauce over the top and stir to combine. Cook for an additional 2-3 minutes until the sauce is heated through and the noodles are tender. Stir in beansprouts.

Step 7: Serve with Lime and Cilantro Garnish

Serve hot with lime wedges and cilantro for garnish. Enjoy!

Notes & Tips

  • If you want to make this recipe gluten-free, use gluten-free soy sauce or tamari and rice noodles that are specifically labeled as gluten-free.
  • Be sure to use firm or extra-firm tofu for this recipe, as it will hold up better during cooking and maintain its shape and texture.
  • To save time, you can prep the tofu, vegetables, and sauce in advance and store them in the fridge until ready to use.
  • If you don’t have a wok, a large skillet will also work for this recipe. Bear in mind that it may take a bit longer to cook the ingredients. 
  • When soaking the noodles, use lukewarm water (not hot or cold water). They should be softened until pliable, but still firm. The rice noodles finish cooking in the wok with the Pad Thai sauce. 

Variations & Substitutions

Feel free to customize this recipe with your favorite vegetables or protein sources. Shredded cabbage, sliced mushrooms, and snap peas would all be great additions.

To make this vegan Pad Thai with tofu recipe even more irresistible, use fresh wide rice noodles. You can find them at Asian grocery stores or Asian markets online. The best part is you don’t need to presoak them, simply add the noodles along with the sauce. 

To make vegan pad thai sauce without tamarind you can substitute it with rice vinegar or lime juice. You can find a list of The Best Tamarind Substitutes on our website. 

Looking for a shortcut? Try one of these ready-made Pad Thai sauces. We’ve listed some vegan options as well. 

For a spicy vegan Pad Thai, add more crushed red pepper flakes or freshly chopped Thai chili peppers. Remember that most of the heat is in the seeds and membrane. 

This recipe is for the best vegan pad thai, but you can easily customize it for non-vegans by using cooked and shredded chicken or shrimp instead of tofu. Or try our recipe for Low FODMAP Pad Thai. 

Can I Make This Recipe In Advance? 

Yes, you can prep the tofu and vegetables in advance and store them in the fridge for 2-3 days. You can also make the easy vegan Pad Thai sauce in advance and store it in the fridge for up to one week.

When ready to serve, simply stir-fry the tofu and vegetables and toss them with the presoaked noodles and sauce. Cook until the noodles are tender. 

Are Rice Sticks The Same As Pad Thai Noodles? 

Rice sticks is just another name for rice noodles, but not all rice noodles are created equal. There are special noodles for Pad Thai called jantaboon (wide) or Pad Thai noodles. Make sure you use these and not thinner noodles since the Pad Thai sauce adheres to them best.

What Is The Secret Ingredient In Pad Thai?

The secret ingredient in Pad Thai is tamarind! It’s a tropical fruit that’s been naturalized in Asia and is loved for its unique sour taste. Tamarind paste is the soul of Pad Thai, so I highly recommend getting your hands on some. But if you can’t find tamarind, lime juice or mango chutney is your next best option.

Vegan Tofu Pad Thai

Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes
Servings: 4
Calories: 524kcal

Ingredients

  • 8 oz. dried Pad Thai rice noodles or rice sticks see Notes
  • 1 block extra-firm tofu drained and pressed
  • 2 Tbsp. vegetable oil
  • 5 cloves garlic chopped
  • ½ cup shallots chopped
  • 1 red bell pepper sliced
  • 1 carrot sliced into thin strips
  • 1 cup beansprouts
  • ¼ cup roasted salted peanuts chopped
  • Lime wedges for serving
  • Cilantro for garnish

For the vegan Pad Thai sauce:

  • ¼ cup Thai cooking tamarind paste
  • 2 Tbsp. soy sauce
  • 3 Tbsp. brown sugar
  • 1 Tbsp. rice vinegar
  • 3 Tbsp. water
  • ¼ tsp. red pepper flakes optional

Instructions

  • Soak the rice noodles in lukewarm water for 10-15 minutes. Drain and set aside.
  • In a small bowl, whisk together the tamarind paste, water, soy sauce, brown sugar, rice vinegar, and red pepper flakes until well combined.
  • Cut tofu into small cubes. Heat 1 tablespoon of oil in a large skillet over medium-high. Cook tofu until browned on all sides. Remove from heat and set aside.
  • In the same skillet, add the remaining tablespoon of oil. Add the shallots, garlic, red bell pepper, and carrot, and cook for 2-3 minutes until slightly softened.
  • Add the presoaked noodles and peanuts to the skillet. Pour the sauce over the top and stir to combine. Cook for an additional 2-3 minutes until the sauce is heated through and the noodles are tender. Stir in beansprouts.
  • Serve hot with lime wedges and cilantro for garnish.

Video

Nutrition

Calories: 524kcal | Carbohydrates: 79g | Protein: 17g | Fat: 17g | Saturated Fat: 2g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 9g | Monounsaturated Fat: 5g | Trans Fat: 0.1g | Sodium: 589mg | Potassium: 451mg | Fiber: 6g | Sugar: 20g | Vitamin A: 3717IU | Vitamin C: 48mg | Calcium: 192mg | Iron: 3mg

Recent Recipes