Healthy, vibrant, full of flavour and ready in 30 minutes, this vegan Pad Thai will tick all the boxes for a quick yet delicious plant-based lunch or dinner. Free from gluten, eggs, & refined sugar.
What is Pad Thai?
Pad Thai is a traditional stir-fried rice noodle street food eaten all over Thailand. Even though authentic Pad Thai recipes vary in the ingredients, traditionally it’s made with rice noodles, tofu, bean sprouts, garlic, chilli & eggs. It’s then stir-fried in sweet & sour sauce made with tamarind paste, fish sauce, shrimp paste, lime juice & palm sugar.
Wagamama’s Vegan Pad Thai recipe is one of my favourite and I’ve been experimenting in my kitchen for a while trying to recreate it at home. I’ve played with a few different ingredients and combinations and I’ve finally found The One!
How to make Pad Thai vegan
To get the Pad Thai right, the sauce has to be spot on. Normally, traditional Pad Thai sauce calls for fish sauce and dried shrimps. As we’re making our Pad Thai vegan, we need to find a plant-based alternative for that umami flavour. I’ve found that tamarind paste works great to replicate umami flavours. If you haven’t got it to hand, you can also play with miso paste and pineapple juice to add those slightly acidic umami notes to your Pad Thai.
Ingredients for vegan Pad Thai sauce
Having played around with different ingredients, I’ve found these work best:
- Tamarind paste
- Lime juice
- Tamari sauce (or soy sauce if you’re not making it gluten free)
- Peanut butter (you can use either smooth or crunchy peanut butter)
- Maple syrup
Why you’ll love this recipe
- You need just under 30 minutes to prepare it
- It’s wholesome, healthy & delicious
- Full of fresh & vibrant flavours
- A perfect meal for any night of the week
- Vegan, free from gluten and refined sugar.
- Prepare all the ingredients at the start to ensure everything is chopped up and sliced before you start cooking.
- Drain your tofu well and fry it over high temperature to allow it to crisp up & seal the flavour. Otherwise, it can get too soft and soggy.
- When cooking rice noodles, make sure they’re cooked al dente. If you over-cook them, they’ll end up being mushy.
Step by step instructions
Cook rice noodles according to the packet instructions. Cook 2 minutes less than recommended time to make sure the noodles are al dente. Drain & set aside. You might want to stir in a little oil into the noodles to stop them from sticking together.
To make the sauce, whisk together tamarind paste, lime juice, tamari sauce, peanut butter, maple syrup and water until smooth. Set aside.
Get your frying pan very hot. Add the oil and fry tofu for 5-8 minutes until crispy, turning halfway through. Add a dash of tamari sauce in the last 2 minutes of cooking to glaze. Once the tofu is cooked, set it aside.
In the same pan, add more oil and sautee onion, garlic, ginger, spring onions and red chili for 2-3 minutes until just softened.
Add sliced red bell peppers and bean sprouts to the pan and fry for 3-5 minutes until softened.
Add tenderstem broccoli & tofu to the pan, stir and cook for a further 5 minutes.
Finally, fold in rice noodles, pour in the sauce and cook for 2 minutes. If needed, add a little water. Make sure not to overcook the noodles, otherwise they’ll become too soft and mushy.
Serve immediately with a wedge of lime, crushed peanuts, spring onions and fresh coriander.
This recipe tastes best when it’s fresh out of the wok, however if you have any leftover Pad Thai, you can store it in an airtight container in the fridge. It’ll keep for up to 3 days.
Looking for more healthy vegan recipes?
Try some of the readers’ favourite vegan recipes below:
- Easy one pot vegan broccoli & cheese soup
- The all time family favourite vegan shepherd’s pie
- Healthier vegan mac and cheese
- Vegan mushroom & walnut wellington
- Easy butternut squash & chickpea stew
- The best quick & easy vegan sticky aubergine
- Family favourite vegan cottage pie
I really hope you’ll give this delicious vegan Pad Thai a try. If you recreate this recipe, I’d be delighted to read your comments and hear your feedback. Be sure to drop a comment here on the blog, tag me in your photos on Instagram @Fit Foodie Nutter, Facebook or Pinterest so I don’t miss them.
Stay healthy and keep safe.
30 MINUTE EASY VEGAN PAD THAI
For Pad Thai
- 4 tablespoons sesame oil
- 1 block firm tofu (280g)
- 1 tablespoon tamari sauce or soy sauce
- 1 medium white onion finely chopped
- 2 garlic cloves crushed
- 1 red Thai chilli finely sliced
- 1 tablespoon fresh ginger finely chopped
- 3 stems spring onions sliced (plus more for garnish)
- 2 red bell peppers finely sliced lengthways
- 2 handfuls bean sprouts
- 180 g tenderstem broccoli
For the sauce:
- 1 tablespoon tamarind paste
- Juice of 1 lime
- 1 tablespoon tamari sauce
- 2 heaped tablespoon peanut butter smooth or crunchy
- 1.5 tablespoon maple syrup
- Around 2 tablespoons water
- Lime wedges
- Fresh coriander
- Chopped peanuts
- Cook rice noodles according to the packet instructions. Cook 2 minutes less than recommended time to make sure the noodles are al dente. Drain & set aside. You might want to stir in a little oil into the noodles to stop them from sticking together.
- Whilst the noodles are cooking, make the sauce by whisking together tamarind paste, lime juice, tamari sauce, peanut butter, maple syrup and water until smooth. Set aside.
- Get your frying pan or wok very hot. Add 2 tablespoons of oil and fry tofu for 5-8 minutes until crispy, turning halfway through. Add a tablespoon of tamari sauce in the last 2 minutes of cooking to glaze. Once the tofu is cooked, set it aside.
- In the same pan, add the remaining 2 tablespoons of oil and sautee onion, garlic, ginger, spring onions and red chili for 2-3 minutes until just softened.
- Add sliced red bell peppers and bean sprouts to the pan and fry for 3-5 minutes until softened.
- Add tenderstem broccoli & tofu to the pan, stir and cook for a further 5 minutes.
- Fold in rice noodles and pour in the sauce and cook for 2 minutes. If needed, add a little water. Make sure not to overcook the noodles, otherwise they’ll become mushy.
- Serve immediately with a wedge of lime, crushed peanuts, spring onions and fresh coriander.
This looks so appetizing and colorful! Great lunch idea, I’m all in for that peanut butter sauce!
Thank you Alina! It’s definitely all about the textures in a good Pad Thai!
Yum!! I love pad thai and this recipe looks incredible, making it tonight can’t wait!
Thank you so much Cate! I hope you enjoyed the recipe!
I love that you’ve helped me make pad thai vegan, and the bean sprouts are definitely a must for this recipe! Thank you 🙂
Thank you Megan. I love adding crunchy bean sprouts for extra texture!
Sara Welch says
Enjoyed this for dinner last night and it was an absolute hit! My first time serving tofu and my whole family loved it! Easily, a new favorite dish!
Thank you so much Sara! I’m so glad you enjoyed it!
Oh wow! This pad Thai looks so delicious and very tasty! My husband and I are so excited to give this recipe a try tonight!
Thank you so much Beth! I hope you enjoyed it!