Vegan Pad Thai that is just the way you like it. It’s better than take-out!
This vegan Pad Thai recipe came together after playing with many recipes. Turns out, there are so many versions! This one does require more chop and prep work than most of our recipes, but the results are worth it, in my opinion.
Vegan Pad Thai is Delicious
I have always loved Pad Thai and Vegan Pad Thai is something that you can usually order when you are in a Thai restaurant—as long as you are confident that fish sauce isn’t being used and they are omitting eggs and shrimp (classic pad thai uses all of those). I used to live near a wonderful Chinese grocery store and I could always get Tamarind paste and Thai basil there, so it was something that I enjoyed making my own version of at home.
Finding The “Special” Ingredients
After moving away from that area, I had a hard time easily finding those ingredients and I know it is a challenge for many. But, when we started growing herbs and vegetables on our Tower Garden, I was delighted to be able to grow my own Thai basil. Now, because plants grow so fast on the Tower and I have so much basil growing, Vegan Pad Thai has been added to the regular rotation of meals at home. I finally put all the notes on scraps of paper stuffed in a recipe book together to create this recipe. (you can read a little about Tower Gardens in our Store link or directly at the Tower Garden website – affiliate link)
Substitutions Are OK
Tamarind paste can be particularly elusive (depending on where you live) and sometimes, I find myself unable to source some or am freshly out because we forgot to buy more. So, I substitute a 1:1 ratio of lime juice and coconut sugar—and I think it works well. I try to embrace figuring out an alternative when I am missing something—even if the taste is just slightly different.
Plenty of Veggies
The vegetables you use really depends on your preference. Since classic Pad Thai uses egg, shrimp, shallots, bean sprouts, and more vegetables, I like to follow that example and have lots of veggies in this Vegan Pad Thai. Sometimes when you order Pad Thai in a restaurant it is disappointingly short on veggies.
I always like to use what is on hand, but if I shop with this meal in mind, I always pick up a bag of mung bean sprouts because they add a great texture (and are kind of a signature ingredient for Pad Thai). The rest of it can be what you enjoy or want to try. We also make air-fried tofu and add that in at the end, but the recipe definitely stands alone without it. This is one that you can tweak to your preference and make it your own.
If you give this a try, please let us know! Come back and leave a comment and share a photo on social media (don’t forget to tag us!).
Pad Thai is one of my favorites to order out – but not always available in a vegan version. This recipe for Vegan Pad Thai is my solution to wanting the delicious dish and enjoying it packed with veggies – at home!
4 medjool dates
4 Tbs soy sauce or Tamari
2 Tbs tamarind paste (or substitute 1 Tbs lime juice and 1 Tbs Coconut sugar)
1 tsp Asian hot oil
1 cup water
2 Tbs oil
1 yellow onion, peeled and diced
1 large carrot, peeled and thinly sliced
2–3 tsp grated ginger
1 large clove garlic, peeled and minced
1 cup fresh mung beans
2 cups broccoli florets
1 small bok choy, chopped
4–6 green onions, sliced
1/2 cup Thai basil, finely chopped
1 block extra firm tofu, pressed, cubed, and air-fried (optional)
8 ounces of rice noodles, cooked according to directions and well-rinsed
salt to taste (see note)
1/2 cup coarsely chopped peanuts
1 lime, quartered
Combine the first 5 ingredients in a blender, processing until thoroughly blended. Set aside.
If using tofu, press for 10-15 minutes and air fry (or bake/fry – your choice)
Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the onions and carrots and cook for 2-3 minutes. Add the ginger and garlic, stirring well. If things start to stick, splash in a little bit of water. Add the remaining vegetables, except for the basil and mung beans, and cook for another 5 minutes or so until finished. Add the mung beans and basil and cook for another minute.
If using tofu, add the cubes and then pour in the sauce. Gently toss to coat with the sauce
Once everything is well coated with the sauce, toss in the cooked rice noodles.
Plate the Pad Thai and sprinkle with the peanuts. Serve with a lime wedge.
If you are using low-sodium soy sauce or low-sodium tamari, you might want to add 1/2 teaspoon of salt.
Feel free to mix up the vegetables you use. I have used zucchini squash, mushrooms, kale, cabbage, and peppers when they are on hand. It always tastes good.
The rice noodles can be very sticky. Do not omit the rinsing well.
Georgia is an unpretentious foodie who, at 50, transitioned from a vegetarian diet to a whole foods plant based diet and is loving it. She works as a nurse, plays as a quilter, loves to run, hates to race.
She thinks dogs are actually angels (in dog suits).