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This Vegan Pad Thai has the perfect combination of sweet, tangy & spicy flavors that'll send your taste buds into overdrive. It's so easy to make and it'll be on your table in 30 minutes.
(This recipe was originally published here on March 28th, 2016. I refreshed the photos and simplified the recipe)
Lately, I've received a lot of requests for quick and easy meal recipes, so I'm going to do my best to deliver. So, out with the old and in with the new! I thought this recipe deserved a fresh new look and an easier cooking method.
This Vegan Pad Thai takes less than 30 minutes to make (including prep) and it's perfect for busy weeknights. It totally works for the weekend too with a cold beer and Vegan Lettuce Wraps for an appetizer.
How to replace the fish sauce that's in classic Pad Thai
I use additional tamari sauce and vinegar to replace it. It doesn't have the same complex flavor that fish sauce does, but it's loaded with rich umami flavor and it's delicious!
However, there is a vegan fish sauce that's on the market that I heard was pretty tasty. I haven't found it at my local grocery stores yet, but I may buy it online to try it out.
How can I replace the egg?
Well, I usually don't try to replace it, because the tofu provides plenty of protein and texture. However, recently I tried it with JUST Egg and OMG!...it was crazy-good! It worked well in my Pineapple Fried Rice too!
I didn't write it into this recipe because it's still not readily available in all grocery stores. If you are able to find them and want to give them a try, just cook them separately and toss them in at the end. I haven't tried cooking it in the wok because I felt the high heat might burn them. I may experiment next time though.
You can also add a sprinkle of Kala Namak (black salt) to add a hint of "eggy" flavor to the finished dish. It's delish!
Do I need tamarind?
Tamarind has a sour-sweet flavor and it's used in most authentic recipes, but it's not easy to find in stores. I had it in the original recipe but decided to replace it with rice vinegar and more sweetener.
It doesn't completely replicate the flavor of tamarind, but it's a nice replacement. If you have tamirand, you can use that to replace the vinegar and reduce the amount of agave to taste.
How to make Vegan Pad Thai
* This is a quick overview with step-by-step photos. For the complete ingredient amounts and instructions, scroll down to the recipe card.
- Whisk the sauce ingredients to combine well. Adjust flavor if needed.
- Toss the tofu cubes with corn starch and salt to coat.
- Cook noodles according to package directions (reduce time by 1-2 minutes). Rinse with cold water and drain. Drizzle with oil.
- Heat up wok over medium-high heat. Once heated, add oil and tofu cubes. Cook on all sides until golden brown and crispy. Place tofu on a paper towel-lined plate. Wipeout wok.
- Place wok back over medium-high heat. Once heated, add the oil and the white part of the onions (light green parts are ok), carrots, and garlic.
- Stir fry for 1-2 minutes until slightly softened.
- Add the sauce and let it bubble before adding the noodles. Stir to coat and cook the noodles more (1-2 minutes).
- Add the tofu and mung beans. Gently toss to coat. Remove from heat and top with remaining green onions. Serve with peanuts, cilantro, and lime wedges if desired.
Tips and Tricks
- Have everything prepped and near your cooking space before you start. Once the wok is heated, the cooking process goes very quickly.
- Choose an oil with a high smoke-point to prevent it from burning. I like to use avocado oil, grapeseed oil, or sunflower oil.
- Make sure your wok is heated over medium-high heat for a few minutes before adding the oil. Test by placing a few droplets of water in the wok – it should sizzle and evaporate quickly.
- Don’t overheat the wok or it will burn the oil. If you see smoke then it’s overheated and you need to start over.
- Keep ingredients moving in the wok during the cooking process to avoid burning.
- Undercook the noodles by 1-2 minutes because they will cook more in the wok. This prevents them from getting mushy and falling apart. I love these Pad Thai Noodles from Explore Cuisine because they cook up nicely and the noodles are divided into 2-ounce nests. So easy to portion that way and they taste amazing too!
More 30-Minute Meals to Enjoy
- Instant Pot Potato Leek Soup
- One-Pot Basil and Tomato Orzo
- Vegan Fettuccine Alfredo
- Easy Vegetable Lo Mein
I love to hear from you
If you make this Vegan Pad Thai, let me know what you think by ★ star rating it and leaving a comment below. 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 so I don’t miss it.
30-Minute Vegan Pad Thai
- 14 ounces extra firm tofu pressed and cut into ¾-inch cubes (*see note)
- 2 tablespoons cornstarch
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 1 ½ tablespoons grapeseed oil or any oil with high smoke point, more if needed
- 8 ounces Pad Thai Noodles
- 1 tablespoon grapeseed oil or any oil with high smoke point
- 3-4 green onions , thinly sliced (separate white and green parts)
- 2 large carrots , julienned (matchstick). (about 1 cup)
- 3 cloves garlic , minced or crushed
- 1 cup mung bean sprouts
For Serving (optional)
- ½ cup cilantro , chopped
- ⅓ cup peanuts , crushed or chopped (measured chopped)
- 2 limes , cut into wedges
- Add all the sauce ingredients to a medium bowl and whisk to combine well. Taste and adjust flavor if needed. Set aside.
- In a large bowl, gently toss the tofu cubes with the corn starch and salt until all sides are coated. Set aside.
- Cook Pad Thai noodles according to package directions, but reduce the cook time by 1-2 minutes for firmer noodles. Rinse with cold water and drain well. Drizzle with oil to prevent sticking (*see note).
- Heat up a Wok or Large Skillet over medium-high heat for 1-2 minutes. Once heated add oil and wait until it shimmers. Now add prepared tofu cubes and let them sit for 1-2 minutes to brown. Using tongs, flip to the other side to brown. Continue until all sides are crispy. Remove from heat and place tofu on a paper towel-lined plate. Wipe out wok.
- Place the wok back on the stove over medium-high heat. Once heated, add the oil and wait for it to shimmer. Now add the white part of the onions (light green parts are ok), carrots, and garlic. Stir fry for 1-2 minutes until slightly softened.
- Now add the sauce and let it bubble before adding the noodles. Stir to coat and cook the noodles more (about 1-2 minutes).
- Add the tofu and mung beans. Gently toss to coat. Remove from heat and top with remaining green onions. Serve with peanuts, cilantro and lime wedges if desired.