Vegetarian Pad Thai

Vegetarian Pad Thai

The Spruce / Ahlam Raffii

Prep: 15 mins
Cook: 16 mins
Total: 31 mins
Servings: 2 servings
Nutrition Facts (per serving)
1010 Calories
42g Fat
133g Carbs
28g Protein
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Nutrition Facts
Servings: 2
Amount per serving
Calories 1010
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 42g 54%
Saturated Fat 8g 39%
Cholesterol 186mg 62%
Sodium 2095mg 91%
Total Carbohydrate 133g 48%
Dietary Fiber 8g 29%
Total Sugars 28g
Protein 28g
Vitamin C 82mg 411%
Calcium 329mg 25%
Iron 6mg 36%
Potassium 1465mg 31%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)

A favorite takeout dish, making vegetarian pad thai from scratch is easier than you might expect. This pad thai recipe is perfect for vegetarian and vegan Thai food lovers who want a lighter noodle dish without the meat. The homemade tamarind-chile sauce is what really gives pad thai its signature flavor; the combination of sweet, sour, and a hint of spice will delight your mouth with each bite.

Although it requires several ingredients, this easy stir-fry recipe comes together quickly. It offers lots of protein in the form of eggs (or soft tofu for vegans) ​and chopped nuts. And because it's made with rice noodles, pad thai can also be made gluten-free by choosing a wheat-free soy sauce. Vegetables are not strictly part of traditional pad thai, but this recipe adds some bok choy, which tastes yummy with the noodles and makes this dish even more nutritious.


Click Play to See This Vegetarian Pad Thai Recipe Come Together

"A classic pad thai that comes together quickly after you prep all of the ingredients. Add some cubed tofu towards the end for extra protein. Don't forget the lime—it really makes the dish pop." —Laurel Randolph

Vegetarian Pad Thai
A Note From Our Recipe Tester


  • 8 ounces dried rice noodles (pad thai noodles, linguini-width), or enough for 2 people

For the Pad Thai Sauce:

  • 3 tablespoons brown sugar, or more to attain sweet-sour balance

  • 1/4 cup vegetable stock, or faux chicken stock

  • 3 1/2 tablespoons soy sauce, or wheat-free soy sauce

  • 2 1/4 teaspoons tamarind paste, or to taste

  • 1/2 to 1 teaspoon chili sauce, or to taste, or 1/8 to 3/4 teaspoon chile flakes

For the Stir-Fry:

  • 3 to 4 tablespoons peanut or coconut oil

  • 4 cloves garlic, minced

  • 3 tablespoons diced onion

  • 3 to 4 heads baby bok choy or 1 regular bok choy, cut into large dice

  • 2 to 3 tablespoons vegetable stock or white wine

  • 1 to 2 large eggs or 1/2 cup soft tofu

  • 2 to 3 cups bean sprouts

  • 2 green onions, sliced

  • 1/4 cup chopped unsalted dry-roasted peanuts or cashews, divided

  • 1/3 cup fresh cilantro, for garnish

  • 2 wedges lime, plus more to taste and for garnish

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

    Vegetarian pad thai ingredients

    The Spruce / Ahlam Raffii

  2. Bring a pot of water to boil over high heat. Dunk in rice noodles and stir with a fork to separate.

    rice noodles in a pot

    The Spruce / Ahlam Raffii

  3. Cook 4 to 6 minutes, just until noodles are limp but still too firm to eat (a little firmer than al dente). Then drain and rinse with cold water.

    drained rice noodles in a colander

    The Spruce / Ahlam Raffii

  4. Combine the pad thai sauce ingredients in a cup, stirring well to dissolve sugar and tamarind. Note that this sauce should have a very strong-tasting flavor: sour-sweet first, followed by salty and spicy. Add more sugar if too sour. Set aside.

    Combine pad thai sauce ingredients in a measuring cup

    The Spruce / Ahlam Raffii

  5. Warm a wok or large frying pan over medium-high heat. Add 1 to 2 tablespoons of the oil plus garlic and onion. Stir-fry for 1 minute to release the fragrance.

    saute onion and garlic in a pan

    The Spruce / Ahlam Raffii

  6. Add bok choy plus enough stock or white wine to keep ingredients frying nicely. Stir-fry 2 minutes, or until bok choy is bright green and slightly softened.

    vegetables cooking in a pan

    The Spruce / Ahlam Raffii

  7. Push the ingredients aside and add 1/2 tablespoon more of the oil to the center of the wok/pan. Add the egg (if using—don't add the alternative soft tofu quite yet) and stir-fry briefly to scramble.

    add eggs to the vegetables in the pan

    The Spruce / Ahlam Raffii

  8. If the pan is dry, push the ingredients aside and add a little more of the oil to the middle. Add the drained noodles and 1/3 of the pad thai sauce. Stir-fry everything together for 1 to 2 minutes using 2 utensils and a gently tossing motion (like tossing a salad).

    add rice noodles to the vegetables and eggs in the pan

    The Spruce / Ahlam Raffii

  9. Keep the heat between medium-high and high, reducing if noodles begin to stick or burn.

    Continue adding sauce and stir-frying for 3 to 6 more minutes, or until all sauce is added and noodles are soft but still chewy and deliciously sticky. If using soft tofu, add it with the last of the sauce; it will break up and be distributed throughout the dish, just as the egg would.

    add seasoning to the rice noodle mixture in the pan

    The Spruce / Ahlam Raffii

  10. Switch off the heat and add bean sprouts, green onions, and 3/4 of the nuts. Toss and taste test, adding more soy sauce for more salt/flavor. If too salty or sweet for your taste, add a good squeeze of lime juice. If too sour, add a little more sugar.

    add sprouts to the rice noodle mixture in the pan

    The Spruce / Ahlam Raffii

  11. To serve, scoop noodles onto a serving platter. Sprinkle with remaining chopped nuts and fresh cilantro. Add wedges of fresh-cut lime on the side to be squeezed over just before eating. 

    Vegetarian Pad Thai on a platter

    The Spruce / Ahlam Raffii

Recipe Variation

For a heartier dish, toss in cubed, firm tofu or sautéed mushrooms towards the end of cooking.


  • When you drain the noodles, you should notice that they are undercooked. That is what we are going for in order to come out right when they are stir-fried.
  • Leftover pad thai can be eaten cold or you can heat it quickly and gently. Store it in a sealed container and refrigerate; it will keep for about three or four days.