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vegan pad thai on white plate topped with peanuts and with bean sprouts on the side

Vegan Pad Thai

Enjoy homemade Vegan Pad Thai any night of the week! It's loaded with rich flavor, packed with plant-based protein, and can be made faster than you can order takeout. Gluten-free.
Course Main, Main Course
Cuisine Chinese, Japanese
Diet Gluten Free, Vegan, Vegetarian
Method Stovetop
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes
Servings 2 people
Calories 634kcal
Author Caitlin Shoemaker


For the Pad Thai Sauce:

For the Pad Thai:

  • 2-3 tbsp high-heat oil avocado, vegetable, or peanut
  • 8 oz super firm tofu* cut into 1/2” cubes
  • 1 shallot cut into thin slices
  • 3 cloves of garlic finely minced
  • 1-2 teaspoons chili flakes optional
  • 1 carrot peeled and cut into matchsticks; optional
  • 1 bell pepper thinly sliced; optional
  • 3 packed tablespoons palm sugar or brown sugar
  • 2 ½ cups bean sprouts loosely packed
  • 7-10 stalks garlic chives OR 5 green onions cut into 2” pieces
  • ¼ cup peanuts crushed


  • Cook the Noodles: Soak the noodles in boiling water according to package instructions; my noodles only needed 10 minutes, but some may take longer so prep accordingly! Once tender, drain the noodles and set aside.
  • Prep: Warm wok or large sauté pan over medium heat. Once warm, add 2 tablespoons of oil and swirl it around to coat the sides. Whisk the soy sauce, tamarind concentrate, water, and vegan fish sauce (optional), together in a small bowl; set aside.
  • Pan-Fry the Tofu: Add the tofu to the pan and cook for 5 to 7 minutes, stirring only occasionally, until crispy. Remove the tofu from the pan and set aside. Notes: If you do not want pan-fry your tofu, skip to step 3. If you are doubling the recipe, fry the tofu in batches).
  • Aromatics: Add additional oil to the pan if necessary so the bottom of the pan is coated. Add the shallot, garlic, and chili flakes (optional) and sauté for 2 to 3 minutes, until the garlic begins to brown.
  • Add Veggies (optional): Add the carrot and bell pepper and sauté for an additional 3 to 5 minutes, until the veggies are tender. Skip this step if you are not adding extra veggies.
  • Make the Sauce: Push the shallot mixture to one half of the pan. Add the sugar to the other half and pour the soy sauce mixture on top; mix well, until the sugar is dissolved. Simmer for 2-3 minutes, until thickened.
  • Combine: Add the cooked and drained rice noodles and tofu to the wok and use tongs to toss with the sauce. Cook until all of the extra liquid has evaporated from the pan. Taste the noodles and if they are still too firm, add water in 2 tablespoon increments and cook for a few more minutes.
  • Final Touches: Turn the heat off and add the garlic chives (or green onions) and bean sprouts. Use tongs to mix well and let sit until the bean sprouts have wilted slightly.
  • Serve: Transfer the Pad Thai to serving plates, making sure to get a good mix of noodles, tofu, and veggies. Top with peanuts and serve warm with a lime wedges and extra bean sprouts, if desired. Pad Thai is best enjoyed immediately, but you can store leftovers in the fridge for up to 3 days and reheat on the stovetop or in the microwave with a splash of water.


  • Tofu: I prefer to use super firm tofu in this recipe as it requires no pressing, but you could also use extra-firm tofu and press well beforehand
  • Sugar: Pad Thai is traditionally made with palm sugar, but this can be hard to find in grocery stores. The next best alternative would be to use coconut sugar, followed by brown sugar. Brown sugar is slightly more sweet, so you can reduce it to 1-2 tbsp if desired.
  • Tamarind: Tamarind is an essential component to Pad Thai and adds a delightfully tangy flavor! I like to buy tamarind concentrate as a little goes a long way and it keeps for a long time in the fridge. If you cannot find tamarind near you, replace it with the juice of 1 lime and 1 teaspoon of rice vinegar.
  • Make It Eggy: Add ¼-½ tsp black salt at end
  • To add seafood flavor: Add 1 tbsp nori flakes at end, or to taste


Calories: 634kcal | Carbohydrates: 82g | Protein: 24g | Fat: 26g | Saturated Fat: 4g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 7g | Monounsaturated Fat: 15g | Sodium: 1951mg | Potassium: 1056mg | Fiber: 10g | Sugar: 18g | Vitamin A: 7705IU | Vitamin C: 106mg | Calcium: 157mg | Iron: 6mg