Vegan Pad Thai

September 14, 2014
6 Ratings
Photo by Mark Weinberg
  • Serves 4, with extra sauce
Author Notes

This recipe is every bit as delicious as takeout, but it'll allow you to feel smug about having made things from scratch. The sauce is what makes the recipe standout; feel free to serve it on whole grains, as a marinade for tofu, or as a dip for summer rolls. —Gena Hamshaw

What You'll Need
  • 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
  • 1 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
  1. Cook the pad thai noodles according to package instructions (this may involve soaking them for a while, so make sure to allot the proper amount of time). Toss them with a teaspoon of sesame oil to prevent too much sticking, and then allow them to cool.
  2. Whisk or blend together together the almond butter, tamarind paste, the remaining teaspoon of sesame oil, 2 tablespoons of tamari, maple syrup, sriracha, lime juice, and water. Set aside.
  3. Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium high heat. Add the tofu and cook until it's browning on each side (8 to 10 minutes), splashing it as you go with the remaining tablespoon of tamari. Set tofu aside and reduce heat slightly.
  4. Add the garlic and ginger to the skillet (and a little extra oil if needed). Cool till the garlic is fragrant, 1 to 2 minutes. Add the carrots and onions, and cook until the carrots are softened but still crisp (3 minutes or so). Add the noodles and the tofu to the bowl, along with a cup of the sauce. Stir fry the noodles till they're creamy and warm. Add more sauce as you go along, as needed, so that it's well coated. At the very end, stir in the mung bean sprouts, just until they're warm.
  5. Divide the noodles onto four plates. Sprinkle with cilantro and peanuts and garnish with lime, if desired. Serve.

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • Ginny Eaton
    Ginny Eaton
  • bgavin
  • Valerie Gutchen Arnade
    Valerie Gutchen Arnade
  • missshar

12 Reviews

Ginny E. February 21, 2022
This was the best - perfect balance between the sweetness and the tang.
And it was quick. We added left over lemongrass shrimp - and it was very very good
missshar August 8, 2020
This recipe is a good base and I will definitely be using it again. I did make a few tweaks so that my family would like it more. For instance, I used 4Tbsp of peanut butter, 1.5 tsp coconut sugar, about 2 Tbsp of tamarind, definitely more Sriracha (we love our spices), and 3 cloves of garlic. I also omitted the mung beans, because we're not huge fans of it and added red/yellow bell peppers and broccoli. For the extra-firm tofu, I tossed it with sesame oil and tamari and baked it in the oven, before adding it to everything. The next time around, I might reduce the peanut butter to 3.5 Tbsp and try to find some sort of vegetarian oyster sauce.
judy March 15, 2022
I like your modifications. I like the peanut butter, and I put chopped peanuts on top. I prefer Olek Sambal chili garlic sauce over srirracha myself. It is easy to make these recipes our own. We like lots of tamarind ourselves. I make my own. The nature of oyster sauce is the oyster or shell fish, so I don't know how one would make an alternative. That would be an interesting culinary challenge. Like making plum sauce or tamari!!! Happy cooking
bgavin February 26, 2018
I have made this recipe three times and I have always been very proud of the results.
I substituted peanut butter for the almond butter all three times. And I used more oil than recommended to keep my noodles from clumping up, plus, as they're cooling, I keep turning them over in the bowl.
If you're serving both vegans and non-vegans, very easy to add some shrimp to the top of the appropriate bowls.
Claire December 5, 2016
The Sriracha sauce made it too spicy for my kids so might substitute that with tomato paste or ketchup (as seen in other Pad Thai recipes) next time. Those who want some spice can add it when they add other garnishes.
Valerie G. December 25, 2015
Good substitute for the tamarind paste?
Ginny E. February 21, 2022
1 T tamarind = 2T lime juice
Sarah J. January 15, 2015
I think this is a pretty simple & flawless recipe. Unless you've never cooked or bought tofu before, I think the typos pointed out are common sense... I didn't need the recipe to tell me to cube the tofu to figure it out.

If there are issues w/ the maple syrup, make sure it's real! I used grade B from a local farm back home in NH, which gives the sauce a hearty & robust body.

Instead of 6T's of almond butter, I used trader Joe's peanut satay sauce, then added 2T of peanut butter later to thicken it up, which brought it to the perfect consistency. So perhaps if "gummy" sauce is an issue, use less almond/peanut butter. I suppose you could also make or buy your own peanut sauce instead of butter?

Also added bok choy & snow peas to the mix. Will definitely make this again! Thank you!
Ann M. December 30, 2014
I left out the maple syrup and was glad that I did. But I agree that the recipe renders a sauce that is too gummy. There are also some typos in the recipe ("cool" instead of "cook" and "bowl" instead of "pan"). The recipe never tells you to cube the tofu, which obviously, you have to do.
Lisa M. September 20, 2014
Made this recipe last night. Very satisfying and perfectly meets the need for takeout pad thai. My noodles were still very sticky, though, even after tossed with oil.
Zelda March 13, 2015
Don't cook the noodles until soft, they should retain some bite as they will be fried with the other ingredients. Once drained, refresh noodles well with cold water to stop the cooking process and to remove excess starch.
Zelda March 13, 2015
Depending on the type of noodle, I often don't boil them or they tend to go mushy. Just soak, off the heat for 5-10 minutes. Stir to loosen.