Vegan Pad Thai

September 18, 2014

Every other Thursday, Gena Hamshaw of the blog Choosing Raw shares satisfying, flavorful recipes that also happen to be vegan.

Today: Make your favorite take-out meal at home. And make it vegan.

Vegan Pad Thai Recipe

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There’s nothing that makes me feel more smug as a home cook than the pride I take in having prepared a meal that I might otherwise have ordered as takeout. Pad Thai is perhaps my favorite example of this: It’s such a classic takeout favorite that we tend to forget that it’s fun (and delicious) to make at home.

Traditional pad Thai includes both egg and fish sauce, but it’s amazingly easy to veganize the recipe. I don’t even fret about replacing the egg; if you use a good, rich sauce for the noodles (and the almond butter sauce in this recipe is a great example), you won’t need anything additional to create richness or binding. Sriracha, lime juice, and fresh ginger offset the richness of the almond butter and tamarind brightly.

More: Make your own almond butter for the sauce.

The sauce, by the way, is just too good not to dwell on a little. I’ve tried to make it in advance of the recipe (which you can totally do), and then found myself polishing it off before it ever hits a noodle. Try it as a dip for summer rolls, as a topper for a warm bowl of grains, as a dressing for shredded cabbage, or as a way to liven up steamed broccoli or bok choy.

Vegan Pad Thai

Vegan Pad Thai

Serves 4, with extra sauce

8 ounces pad thai rice noodles
6 tablespoons almond butter
1 tablespoon tamarind paste
2 teaspoons toasted sesame oil, divided
3 tablespoons tamari, divided into 2 tablespoons and 1 tablespoon
2 tablespoons maple syrup
1 1/2 tablespoons sriracha (or to taste)
1/4 cup lime juice
1/3 cup water
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 clove garlic, minced
One 14- to 16-ounce block of extra firm tofu, drained
1 tablespoon grated ginger
1 large carrot, cut into thin strips
4 green onions, halved lengthwise and cut into 1-inch pieces
1 1/2 cups mung bean sprouts
1/2 cup cilantro, chopped
1/4 cup peanuts, chopped
Lime slices, for garnish

See the full recipe (and save and print it) here.

Photos by Mark Weinberg

Choosing RawGena's new book Choosing Raw: Making Raw Foods Part of the Way You Eat is a thorough, relatable guide to incorporating raw and vegan foods into any diet. It's full of no-fuss recipes for every meal, which range from fully raw to mostly cooked, with plenty of snacks and desserts to keep everyone happy.



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The Food52 Vegan Cookbook is here! With this book from Gena Hamshaw, anyone can learn how to eat more plants (and along the way, how to cook with and love cashew cheese, tofu, and nutritional yeast).

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See what other Food52 readers are saying.

  • Windischgirl
  • tigerlille
  • Sara
  • Catherine
  • solkatt
Gena is a registered dietitian, recipe developer, and food blogger. She's the author of three cookbooks, including Power Plates (2017) and Food52 Vegan (2015). She enjoys cooking vegetables, making bread, and challenging herself with vegan baking projects.


Windischgirl September 21, 2014
There IS vegetarian oyster sauce--it's made from mushrooms, and it's quite good. I picked it up at our local pan-Asian grocery story. The brand I bought is "Oriental Mascot" (hey, I don't name these things...).
tigerlille September 19, 2014
At last..., a vegetarian recipe for pad thai that promises to be as pungent and flavorful as the original version. My mouth was literally watering as I read the recipe. Can't wait to make! I adore cold Chinese peanut sauce with noodles, but I
Am guessing that this will be equally good. Yum?

Like the previous commenter, I am wondering if there is a vegetarian substitute for fish sauce, and for oyster sauce. Aside from the vegetarian angle, I am very allergic to shell fish.
Catherine October 1, 2015
Hi tigerlille, in Thailand they will use soy sauce in place of fish sauce and mushroom sauce in place of oyster sauce. You should be able to find them at an Asian grocer, look for yellow labels as that is often used to mark vegetarian items in Thailand.
Sara September 18, 2014
This looks lovely! I've looked forever, and maybe saw it once… Is there a such thing as vegetarian fish sauce?
solkatt March 23, 2015