Vegetarian Pad Thai with Tofu Recipe


Pad Thai is a traditional dish for both take-out or dine-in at Thai eating places. Fortunately, for house cooks, there’s no huge thriller to what makes a very good pad Thai—there’s a little bit little bit of prep forward of time, nevertheless it’s not arduous to tug off at house. Woo hoo!

This vegetarian model makes use of a block of additional agency tofu and swaps in salt for the fish sauce. 

You will discover all the small print and directions in our Methods to Make Pad Thai recipe, which incorporates shrimp. I developed it at the side of the chef at an area Thai restaurant!

What’s Pad Thai?

Pad Thai is a noodle-based dish that you simply’ll typically discover served with some permutation of chopped peanuts, bean sprouts, scallions, and typically carrots, cilantro and/or a wedge of lime. It’s typically served with tofu, shrimp, or rooster.

The sauce is essential with pad Thai. It’s what makes pad Thai what it’s, versus another stir-fry noodle dish. There’s a selected steadiness of flavors that happens while you mix sugar, rice vinegar, fish sauce, and tamarind (a sweet-sour fruit that will get added right here both as a focus or a pulp; see under for extra info). These are the elements that go into this pad Thai sauce.

Vegetarian Pad Thai recipe

Methods to Make Pad Thai Vegetarian—and Vegan

In Thailand, it’s not unusual to see this dish with tofu. Nevertheless, the dish will not be strictly vegetarian till you take away the fish sauce.

Based on Chef Peter, with whom I labored on these pad Thai recipes, all it’s essential replicate the factor of fish sauce is salt.

It gained’t supply the identical depth of taste that fish sauce will, however the salt will assist steadiness the remainder of the flavors and mimic a number of the salty style you get from fish sauce. After I informed him I noticed some vegetarian recipes for pad Thai on-line that concerned soaking dried mushrooms and making some form of broth to imitate the umami style of fish sauce, he merely stated, “Please don’t do this.” I intuited that it was each an pointless step and maybe a bit offensive to pad Thai to make it that means.

Making this dish vegan is simple—all it’s essential do is take away the eggs!


We’ve centered on tamarind focus for this recipe, because it’s extra extensively obtainable. It will get whisked in with the opposite sauce elements actually simply, no prep work wanted. 

Should you purchase tamarind pulp as an alternative of focus, take it out of the bundle, put it in a bowl with heat to scorching water (sufficient to cowl, about three to four cups) and let it soak for 30 minutes. Break up the pulp along with your fingers to separate the big seeds and fibrous elements. Run the rest of the pulp by means of a advantageous mesh sieve and proper right into a bowl, scraping the underside of the sieve to take away any pulp which will have gotten caught.

It is best to have about 1/2 cup of pulp—will probably be velvety and appear to be apple butter. You employ all of it, and use it the identical means within the sauce as you’ll the focus—it can yield extra sauce, and one that’s barely thicker/much less watery.

Easy Vegetarian pad Thai recipe cook the tofu

Tips about Cooking with Tofu

Right here are some things to know that may assist tofu prepare dinner optimally.

  • Tofu is packaged in a little bit of liquid. Dump the liquid out, put the tofu block on a slicing board, and wrap it with a kitchen towel or a doubled-up layer of paper towels.
  • Utilizing your fingers, gently press out a number of the additional liquid into the towel. It will make sure that the tofu is as dry as doable while you put it in a scorching pan, which suggests it can brown properly and get a little bit crispy on the skin. You may go away it wrapped in a towel when you set about prepping the opposite elements.
  • As soon as the tofu feels prefer it’s launched as a lot water because it’s going to—it can nonetheless be damp—slice it vertically into strips about 1/2-inch to an inch extensive—after which minimize these strips into smaller chunks of about the identical measurement in order that they prepare dinner evenly. There’s no proper or mistaken right here—simply attempt to be as symmetrical as you may.
  • Blot the tofu once more after slicing, if wanted, with paper towels or one other kitchen towel.

What sort of noodles work finest for pad Thai?

Rice noodles in regards to the width of fettuccine are usually what you’ll discover in pad Thai. You will discover rice noodles within the worldwide aisle within the grocery retailer or Asian grocers in nondescript plastic luggage which will or could not comprise cooking directions in a language chances are you’ll or could not perceive. Fact! (Listed below are the noodles that I choose for pad Thai.)

There’s one factor that makes such a distinction with pad Thai: the method of soaking the noodles forward of time in chilly water. You are able to do this the night time earlier than or within the morning on the day you’re going to prepare dinner pad Thai.

It is going to be a lot simpler to prepare dinner the noodles as a result of they’ve softened a little bit bit. They will even be boiled in a short time, proper earlier than they’re integrated into the opposite elements within the scorching pan.

Vegetarian Pad Thai recipe

Break Up the Cooking for Greatest Outcomes

This recipe works finest in case you break it into two batches—in any other case, there’s simply an excessive amount of meals within the pan, and it makes it arduous to prepare dinner every thing evenly. In addition to, in eating places (and in meals carts in Thailand), pad Thai is usually ready to order, one serving at a time. There’s plenty of knowledge to that.


Though I like including extra greens once I can to a dish, a conventional vegetarian pad Thai doesn’t usually load you up on greens. Nevertheless, Chef Peter says you may add your favorites, in case you like.

Toss in some snow peas, some shredded cabbage, or no matter else you want—these will likely be good to go in towards the top of cooking, as a result of they’ll soften shortly. The rest that’s thicker or tougher, akin to carrots, broccoli, asparagus, or inexperienced beans, you’ll want so as to add these earlier within the course of—after the tofu, however earlier than the eggs. Simply push the veggies to the facet of the pan while you add the eggs. It’ll match.


Within the means of creating pad Thai recipes, I realized that Pad Thai retains effectively for 4 to 5 days and reheats fantastically within the microwave. (Generally I like so as to add a little bit bit of additional sauce.)

I used to be initially skeptical of utilizing the microwave for noodles, however this route got here straight from the Thai chef from whom I tailored this recipe. As you may think, pad Thai does not likely freeze effectively. Nevertheless, in case you and yours like this recipe, you gained’t have a surplus!

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