DinnerLunchRecipes

Sweet & Spicy Vegan Pad Thai (Gluten-Free)

posted by Melissa Huggins March 28, 2016 6 Comments
This Vegan Pad Thai has a combination of sweet, tangy & spicy flavors that will send your taste buds into overdrive. It's so easy to make & much healthier than the takeout version.
Vegan Pad Thai

This Vegan Pad Thai has a combination of sweet, tangy & spicy flavors that will send your taste buds into overdrive. It’s gluten-free & much healthier than the take-out version.

This Vegan Pad Thai has a combination of sweet, tangy & spicy flavors that will send your taste buds into overdrive. It's so easy to make & much healthier than the takeout version.One of my favorite Thai recipes to make is Vegan Pad Thai, along with my Pineapple Fried Rice. They are both bursting with different flavors and are completely drool-worthy. The gremlins in the home request these meals often.

The first Thai dish I tried, was the legendary Pad Thai about 15 years ago. I wish I had an interesting story to tell, and say I was on the streets of Thailand eating their famous street Pad Thai, but it was actually at a restaurant on Sunset Blvd in Los Angeles. The next best thing, right?

Well, I instantly fell in love with this sweet, tangy and sometimes spicy dish. I was very fond of the different textures of soft, yet chewy noodles, firm tofu, tender & crisp vegetables and crunchy peanuts. This was my pre-vegan days, so I didn’t realize all of the cruelty in this innocent looking meal. Traditional Pad Thai, has stir-fried eggs, fish sauce and sometimes shrimp. Oddly enough, it wasn’t even what stood out for me in the dish.

When I first became vegan, I was able to freely enjoy this dish in the veganized version, because there are SO many vegan Thai places in Los Angeles. Also, the non-vegan Thai places are usually very accommodating to vegans. Since moving to Arizona, all of that has changed… there isn’t an abundant amount of Thai places, and not even one vegan place. That was truly disappointing for me.

However, I’ve since been making it at home and I’m extremely happy with this recipe. Actually, I prefer making it myself now, rather than eating it at a restaurant, because I get to adjust everything to my liking, monitor the salt, and use mostly organic ingredients. Also, I can make sure my ingredients are gluten-free. It’s so darn easy to make, I don’t know why I haven’t tried it before.

This Vegan Pad Thai has a combination of sweet, tangy & spicy flavors that will send your taste buds into overdrive. It's so easy to make & much healthier than the takeout version.Vegan Pad Thai is easy to make

It’s mostly just prepping and then it’s pretty fast after that, so make sure to have everything ready before you get the pan or wok going. The prepping is pretty easy, too. Just start by pressing & baking the tofu, then cook the noodles. Cook noodles according to package directions and when they are done, immediately strain and rinse them in cold water. Then place the noodles back in the pot and fill with cold water and set aside. This will keep them from sticking together.

Now you can wash and cut your veggies and prepare the sweet & tangy sauce. I use tamarind paste, coconut sugar, vegetable broth and low-sodium soy sauce to create that bursting flavor. If you don’t have coconut sugar, brown sugar will work nicely. Also, if you can’t find tamarind paste, don’t worry, I added an alternative sauce recipe in the note section. So, you can have your Pad Thai and eat it, too!

When the tofu, noodles, veggies and sauce are ready, heat the oil in a large pan or wok, over medium heat. Add onion, garlic, red bell pepper and carrots, sauté until tender, about 5-6 minutes. Clear a small space in the pan and add your tomato paste. Let it cook for 3o seconds before mixing it into the veggies. If you are using the optional red pepper flakes, mix them in the tomato paste, before you add it to the pan. I think the red pepper flakes add a nice heat to the whole dish. If not everyone likes spicy foods in your home, you can always add the flakes on top of the individual plate.

Now add strained noodles, tofu, green onions, and mung bean sprouts, sauté until green onions start to soften, about 4-5 minutes. Add Pad Thai sauce to the pan and stir. Give a little taste, a slight adjustment may be needed. If it’s too tangy, stir in a little extra coconut sugar and cook for another minute. Remove from heat, garnish and serve. So easy!

This Vegan Pad Thai has a combination of sweet, tangy & spicy flavors that will send your taste buds into overdrive. It's so easy to make & much healthier than the takeout version.Enjoy!

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This Vegan Pad Thai has a combination of sweet, tangy & spicy flavors that will send your taste buds into overdrive. It's so easy to make & much healthier than the takeout version.
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Vegan Pad Thai
Prep Time
15 mins
Cook Time
40 mins
Total Time
55 mins
 
This Vegan Pad Thai has a combination of sweet, tangy & spicy flavors that will send your taste buds into overdrive. It's so easy to make & much healthier than the takeout version.
Recipe Type: Thai
Author: Melissa | Vegan Huggs
Ingredients
  • 14 oz extra firm tofu , pressed & cut into 1-inch cubes (*See Note)
  • 1 teaspoon tamari or soy sauce
  • 8 oz pad thai noodles , cooked according to package instructions (*See Note)
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons coconut oil or olive oil + more for tossing tofu cubes
  • 1/2 cup red onion , diced
  • 3 garlic cloves , minced
  • 1/2 cup red bell pepper , sliced
  • 4 carrots , peeled and cut julienne style. 2 - 3 inch pieces
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 1/4 - 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes (optional)
  • 1 1/2 cups green onion , cut into 1-2 inch pieces
  • 1 1/2 cups mung bean sprouts
Sauce (* See note for alternative sauce recipe)
  • 3 tablespoons tamarind paste
  • 1/4 cup gluten-free tamari or soy sauce (low sodium, if preferred) *See note for soy alternative
  • 1/4 cup coconut sugar (sub brown sugar)
  • 1/4 cup vegetable broth (low sodium)
  • Sea salt , to taste
Garnish
  • Crushed peanuts
  • Mung bean sprouts
  • Green onion cut 1-2 inch pieces
  • Lime wedges
  • Crushed red pepper
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees fahrenheit
  2. Place cubed tofu in a medium bowl. Toss cubes with 1 teaspoon oil, 1 teaspoon tamari, & sprinkle lightly with salt. Place on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Bake for 25-35 minutes, flipping half way through, until golden brown. Set aside.
  3. In a small bowl combine all sauce ingredients, stir until completely mixed together & set aside.
  4. In a large pan, heat oil over medium heat. Add onion, garlic, red bell pepper & carrots, sauté until tender, about 5-6 minutes. Make small space in pan, add the tomato paste & cook for 30 seconds before mixing it into the cooked veggies (if using red pepper flakes, mix them into the tomato paste before adding to the pan).
  5. Add sauce and stir. Now add strained noodles, tofu, green onions, & mung bean sprouts, toss to coat. Cook until green onions slightly soften, about 3-4 minutes. Give a little taste & adjust seasoning if needed. If it's too tangy, add a little extra coconut sugar. Remove from heat. Garnish and serve.
Recipe Notes
*Pressing Tofu: place a block of tofu on a paper towel lined plate, and cover w/ more paper towels and another plate on top. Add a few cans of food on top, or a book. Let it drain for 20- 30 minutes. Alternatively, you can press gently on the plate with your hands to expel liquid quicker (don't press to hard or tofu will crumble). **To prevent noodles from sticking together, when they are done cooking, immediately strain and rinse them in cold water. Then place the noodles back in the pot and fill with cold water and set aside. Strain again before use. *Soy Sauce Alternative: These coconut aminos are a great alternative to soy sauce and has a great depth of flavor. Prep time doesn't include tofu pressing time. **Alternative Pad Thai Sauce Recipe** 3 1/2 tablespoons fresh lime juice 2 teaspoons molasses 1/4 cup tamari or soy sauce (low sodium & gluten-free) 3-4 tablespoons coconut sugar (sub brown sugar) 1/4 cup vegetable broth (low sodium)

This Vegan Pad Thai has a combination of sweet, tangy & spicy flavors that will send your taste buds into overdrive. It's so easy to make & much healthier than the takeout version.

If you make this Vegan Pad Thai, I’d love to hear from you. Leave a comment below and let me know what you think. It would really make my day. You can also follow me on Instagram and share your creation with me, Just tag me @veganhuggs and hashtag #veganhuggs.

*Pin for later 🙂 

This Vegan Pad Thai has a combination of sweet, tangy & spicy flavors that will send your taste buds into overdrive. It's so easy to make & much healthier than the takeout version.

Vegan Huggs is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to amazon.com. This post may contain affiliate links, which means I make a small commission if you purchase the item after clicking on the link. This helps cover the cost of keeping the site running. There will be no additional charge to you, if you purchase an item through an affiliate link. I will only link items that I use myself.

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6 Comments

Stefanie Fiore April 13, 2016 at 8:23 am

Hey! We’re on the Finding Vegan Facebook group together 🙂 So glad I found your blog, your site itself is GORGEOUS and your recipes look mouthwateringly good! I’m going to try making this pad thai with the alternate sauce because it’s nut free (and I love molasses.) I’ll let you know how it turns out. Yum!

Reply
mhuggs April 13, 2016 at 10:55 am

Hi Stefanie, Awesome! I love that group! It has helped me so much to get started. I just checked out your blog…nice work! Love your delicious looking recipes 🙂

Reply
Casey April 16, 2016 at 8:20 am

Pad thai is probably one of my favorite dishes in the entire WORLD. Love your gorgeous photos and the recipe looks great!

Reply
mhuggs April 16, 2016 at 8:24 pm

Thank you, Casey! It’s my favorite, too. So many happy flavors all in one dish 🙂

Reply
Krystle September 2, 2017 at 2:27 am

I made this tonight thanks.
I am not a great cook, I found it difficult to get flavours to work together and bring punch to a dish. This one took me quite some time, to cut and prepare and read through the recipe a million times as I followed it. I enjoyed the process, and it was easy to follow. I didn’t get stuck on anything and took my time.
Hubby loved it. I liked it, but I felt I should have added more of the chilli flakes as I wanted a bit more punch to it. It had a perfect sweet/sour taste thanks to the tamarind paste. I wasn’t sure if I was supposed to but I roasted the peanuts first before crushing them. I added extra coconut sugar at the end to balance the sour. I used less than recommended of the red onion because it doesn’t sit to well with either of us in large amounts, but that just might be raw in a salad and I wonder if I had used the whole amount if that would have given it more punch too.
Also I think next time I need to use a much bigger pan as I think the noodles started to disintegrate towards the end because I couldn’t get the heat through properly once I re added the cooked tofu, and spring onion etc. I will use my big wok next time. Thanks for the recipe and guide, overall it was great and we have enough left overs for two more dinners!

Reply
Melissa Huggins September 2, 2017 at 11:09 am

Hi Krystle, thank you for making it. If you keep cooking different dishes, you’ll get more comfortable in the kitchen. So pat yourself on the back because you’re really trying. I taught myself through lots of trial and error. It’s good to experiment, so don’t be afraid. It may not always work out, but at least you tried and learned from the experience.

When you say more punch, do you mean spiciness? If so, you can add more red chili flakes or maybe some Sriracha. For more tang, you can add a bit more citrus. * note – some chili flake lose their heat when left on a shelf too long.

The red onion really helps with depth of flavor. The flavor becomes much milder when it’s sautéed well. They should be lightly browned and a bit translucent. If you don’t like red onion, feel free to use a yellow onion.

Yes, a big pan or wok will work really well. If the noodles heat too long they will start to break up.

I hope you’ll try it again. Let me know if I can help in any other way. 🙂

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