Rice noodles, broccoli, red cabbage, and carrot are tossed in a sweet and spicy vegan Pad Thai sauce and garnished with crushed peanuts, cilantro, and a lime wedge. Pad Thai is known for it’s sweet and spicy flavors.
Pad Thai is one of my absolute favorite Thai dishes. I used to work at an Asian restaurant all through college and this was my favorite thing to order off the menu– until I learned that it had 1600mg of sodium. This version definitely has way less and is packed full of fresh veggies. If you’re looking for more healthy Asian-inspired dishes, check out my Sweet Walnut Shrimp or my Peanut Noodles for One.
Here’s what you’ll need to make Vegan Pad Thai
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How to make Vegan Pad Thai
Make your sauce
First, you’ll want to whisk together all of the ingredients for the pad thai sauce. Traditionally, Pad Thai has fish sauce, but since this dish is vegan, we’re making a few substitutions. The deep red color of the sauce comes from the tomato paste and paprika, which adds a nice umami flavor. Add as little or as much Sriracha as you like — the more you add, the spicier it’ll be.
Cook your tofu nice and crispy
The trick to the crispy tofu is to make sure it’s sliced into thin strips. I used half a block of extra-firm tofu for this recipe. I sliced it into 1/4 inch pieces and then cut those in half to form these squares. When the tofu is thinner, it’s easier to make it crispy and chewy. By seasoning with salt, pepper, and a splash of soy sauce, you can really give tofu great flavor.
Saute the veggies
While the rice noodles are cooking (according to package instructions), you’ll cook the veggies. Heat up the olive oil in a large skillet and add the garlic, shallot, red cabbage, carrots, and broccoli. You’ll stir-fry the veggies until they begin to soften– but not too much, as you want them to have a little bit of a bite. Once the veggies are done you’ll add the sauce, noodles, and tofu to the skillet and toss well to combine.
Quick tips for making Vegan Pad Thai
- Be sure to use Asian rice noodles for this recipe, the texture is very important! You can find them at your local Asian grocery store.
- Sub in any veggie that you like! I love crunchy broccoli and carrots in this dish.
- Thai basil is hard to find. I grow it in my backyard herb garden, but you can also sometimes find it at your local Asian grocery store. Don’t worry if you can’t find any, just use cilantro instead.
Here’s the recipe:Print
For the sauce
- Juice from 1 lime
- 2 Tbsp soy sauce
- 2 Tbsp water
- 1 Tbsp sugar
- 2 Tbsp tomato paste
- 2 Tbsp seasoned rice vinegar
- 1 tsp paprika
- Sriracha, to taste
For the tofu
- 2 Tbsp olive oil
- 1/2 block extra firm tofu, cut into 1/4” thick squares
- salt and pepper
- 2 tsp soy sauce
For the pasta
- 8oz (half box) Stir-fry rice noodles
- 1 Tbsp olive oil
- 1 shallot, minced
- 2 tsp garlic, minced
- 1/2 red cabbage, shredded
- 1 cup shredded carrots
- 1 cup broccoli, chopped
- chopped peanuts
- lime wedges
- cilantro or Thai basil
- Mix all the ingredients for the sauce in a bowl and set aside.
- In a large skillet, heat 2 Tbsp olive oil over medium heat. Add the tofu and season with salt, pepper, and soy sauce. Cook for 4 minutes on each side, until the tofu is crispy and brown. Set aside on paper towels to drain.
- Cook the noodles according to package directions.
- In a large pan, heat 1 Tbsp olive oil. Add the shallot, garlic, red cabbage, carrots and broccoli. Cook for 5-6 minutes, until the veggies start to soften. Add the noodles, sauce and tofu and toss well.
- Remove from heat and divide into two large bowls. Add chopped peanuts, lime and cilantro for garnish.
Hi! I’m Emily, Registered Dietitian Nutritionist and self-taught intuitive chef. I firmly believe that cooking is the simplest and most important step we can take to improve our minds and bodies and build healthier communities. Join me and let’s bring food back to the kitchen!