This easy vegan pad Thai recipe is simple to make, and it takes less than 30 minutes to put together.
It’s our take on the classic street food dish that can be found on almost any street corner in Thailand. The recipe is based on an authentic vegan Pad Thai that we learned to cook in Thailand.
We absolutely love vegan pad Thai and have spent a lot of time in Thailand searching for the best one. As well as perfecting how to make it.
We once trekked to a restaurant on the side of a road, in 35 degree heat in Phuket, just to try a famous Pad Thai that we heard about. It was genuinely phenomenal! There was a huge queue too. Have you ever gone to great lengths to try a certain food? We’d love to know – tell us in the comments!
Our take on this classic dish is quick, simple and doesn't have any fish sauce in sight!
We use a combination of light soy sauce and dark soy sauce instead, as well as some fermented sweet radishes. They add a funky taste to tickle your tastebuds.
Take a look at this handy video tutorial to make the best vegan pad Thai ever:
👨🍳 Expert Tips
How to cook rice noodles
It’s not a very well kept secret that if you soak rice noodles in hot water, rather than boil them, the results will be much better.
Our advice is to soak the rice noodles for five to ten minutes, then rinse under cold water. This will mean you can add them straight into the wok, and they won’t stick together.
We hate it when noodles stick together in a big rice noodle ball. It makes them so difficult to work with!
The easiest sauce ever
There are so many different ways of making Pad Thai sauce, but we’ve kept it super simple to make sure this recipe remains quick to make. It just needs two types of soy sauce, lime juice, sugar and chilli (if you like). It may sound very simple, but your tastebuds will be rewarded! We don't even add tamarind, which can be a common ingredient in Pad Thai. Lime juice adds enough of a sour flavour.
The key to making an easy vegan Pad Thai in under 30 minutes is preparation! We tend to get all of our ingredients out, prepare them by chopping, measuring or whatever else needs to be done. We then have everything to hand when we’re cooking at the stove.
With this recipe, once everything is ready, you really do just chuck one ingredient in after another, cook on high for around 8-10 minutes and then you’re golden. We hope you enjoy it!
Serve it the traditional way
How people like their Pad Thai varies. It's traditionally served with soy sauce, peanuts, chilli flakes and a wedge of lime on the side, to add as you please. After all, no two punks are the same and we all like our food just how we like it, don’t we?
We would recommend doing as they do in Thailand. Serve this easy vegan Pad Thai with lime, chilli and peanuts on each plate, and a bottle of soy sauce on the table. Some people even like to add sriracha sauce, if you like it really spicy!
- Splash oil
- Firm tofu – cut into 2cm chunks
- Garlic cloves – minced
- Carrots – diced
- Spring onions – cut into 2cm slices
- Light soy sauce
- Dark soy sauce
- Coconut sugar
- Bean sprouts
- Peanuts - roughly chopped
- Pickled radishes (optional)
- Warm water
- Flat rice noodles
- Optional: cornflour to coat the tofu (this adds a nice coating to the tofu)
Usually Pad Thai is made with rice noodles, but you may find variations from recipe to recipe, or restaurant to restaurant. However, if your vegan Pad Thai is made with rice noodles, it’s safe to assume the noodles are vegan, as well as gluten free.
If you’re following a gluten free diet, or have friends coming over with this requirement, it’s easy to make this a gluten free vegan pad Thai. All you need to do is switch the soy sauce for tamari sauce, and you could even replace 1 tablespoon of light soy sauce with 1 tablespoon vegan fish sauce. We’ve included this alteration in the recipe notes below.
A lot of people aren't sure what to use instead of fish sauce – it’s not necessary to replace it with anything as long as you have enough soy sauce.
After all, Thai food is all about balancing four key elements: salt, sweet, sour and spice.
We think a balance of light and dark soy sauce gives enough saltiness without adding anything else, but you could try vegan fish sauce if you have it to hand
Check out our Ultimate Guide to cooking Thai Vegan Food if you'd like to make even more vegan recipes from the South-East.
🇹🇭 More recipes to try
- Rad Na (Noodles in Gravy)
- Khao Soi (Coconut Curried Noodle Soup)
- Thai Pineapple Fried Rice
- Thai Vegetable Stir Fry in 15 Minutes
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Easy Vegan Pad Thai
- 2 tbsp oil
- 450 g firm tofu – cut into 2cm chunks
- 4 cloves garlic – minced
- 2 carrots – diced
- 6 spring onions – cut into 2cm slices
- 3 tbsp light soy sauce*
- 3 tbsp dark soy sauce*
- 2 tsp coconut sugar
- 300 g bean sprouts
- 4 tbsp peanuts – roughly chopped
- 1 tbsp lime juice
- 4 tbsp pickled radishes*
- 1 cup warm water
- 200 g flat rice noodles
- 4 tbsp cornflour optional
- If you're using the cornflour, put it in a bowl and toss the tofu in it until all pieces are well coated.4 tbsp cornflour
- Heat 1 tbsp of oil in a wok over a medium-high heat. Add the tofu and cook until nicely browned and crispy on the outside. Take the tofu out and set to one side for later. Even if you aren't using the cornflour, it's good to seal and brown the tofu first.450 g firm tofu, 2 tbsp oil
- Soak the noodles in a bowl of hot water and leave for 5-10 minutes (or follow the instructions on the packet).200 g flat rice noodles
- Heat the remaining tablespoon of oil over a medium-high heat in the wok.2 tbsp oil
- Fry the garlic in the wok for a minute (it should be sizzling, but be careful it doesn't burn).4 cloves garlic
- Add the carrot, spring onions, soy sauces and sugar, then keep stirring for a few minutes more2 carrots, 6 spring onions, 3 tbsp light soy sauce*, 3 tbsp dark soy sauce*, 2 tsp coconut sugar
- Pop the radishes in (if using them).4 tbsp pickled radishes*
- Drain and rinse the noodles with cold water.
- Move everything to the side of the wok and add the warm water into the gap. Pour in the noodles and stir everything together.1 cup warm water, 200 g flat rice noodles
- Once the water has cooked off (it should take a few minutes over a high heat) add the peanuts, tofu, bean sprouts and lime juice.450 g firm tofu, 300 g bean sprouts, 4 tbsp peanuts, 1 tbsp lime juice
- Taste, and add more soy sauce, lime juice or sugar if needed.
- Chuck a bottle of light soy, lime wedges, chilli flakes and extra crushed peanuts on the table, so everyone can have their vegan pad Thai just the way they like it!