Vegetarian Pad Thai

Vegetarian Pad Thai Recipe
The Spruce
Prep: 15 mins
Cook: 10 mins
Total: 25 mins
Servings: 2 servings
Nutritional Guidelines (per serving)
1014 Calories
43g Fat
134g Carbs
28g Protein
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Nutrition Facts
Servings: 2
Amount per serving
Calories 1014
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 43g 55%
Saturated Fat 8g 40%
Cholesterol 186mg 62%
Sodium 2106mg 92%
Total Carbohydrate 134g 49%
Dietary Fiber 10g 34%
Total Sugars 28g
Protein 28g
Vitamin C 81mg 404%
Calcium 348mg 27%
Iron 7mg 38%
Potassium 1490mg 32%
*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.

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Click Play to See This Vegetarian Pad Thai Recipe Come Together

Ingredients

  • 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, garnish

  • 2 wedges lime, plus more to taste, garnish

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

    Vegetarian pad thai ingredients
     The Spruce
  2. Bring a pot of water to boil over high heat. Dunk in rice noodles and stir with a fork to separate.

    Cook rice noodles
     The Spruce
  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.

  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
  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
     The Spruce
  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.

  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.

  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 noodles
     The Spruce
  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.

    combine and cook ingredients
     The Spruce
  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
     The Spruce
  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. 

Tips

  • 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.