This tofu pad Thai is just as delicious as the classic dish, but with a vegetarian twist! This recipe features rice noodles tossed in a homemade pad Thai sauce and can be made in under 30 minutes, making it the perfect weeknight dinner.

Vegetarian pad thai in a bowl topped with cilantro and a slice of lime.

If you ever wanted to learn how to make your own pad Thai recipe, this is the dish for you! This vegan tofu pad Thai is made with a few simple ingredients, including tofu, rice noodles, and vegetables.

The key to this recipe is in the pad Thai sauce, which is made with a combination of tamarind paste, soy sauce, and coconut sugar.

It’s delicious, straightforward to make and will quickly become a family favourite!  

Why You’ll Love This Recipe

  • Has amazing flavour for the ultimate comfort food meal.
  • Easy to double the recipe to feed a big family!
  • This recipe is vegan and can be made gluten-free.
  • Features tofu as a protein source that adds an “eggy” texture- without the egg!
  • Ditch the jar and learn how to make your own homemade pad Thai sauce.
  • You can have dinner ready and on the table in under 30 minutes.

What Is Tofu?

Tofu is a popular protein source for vegetarians, vegans, and meat-eaters alike! It’s made from soybeans pressed into a block, similar to the way cheese is made.

Tofu comes in different textures, from soft to extra-firm, and can be used in various dishes like this sweet and spicy tofu and vegan Panang curry.

For this vegan pad thai recipe, you’ll want to use extra-firm tofu that has been pressed of any excess water. This will help the tofu to brown and get crispy in the pan!

Ingredients & Substitutions

Visual list of ingredients for making a vegan tofu pad thai recipe. Each ingredient is labelled with text.

A complete list of ingredients with amounts and full instructions is located in the printable recipe card below. This section covers ingredient and substitution considerations.

  • Rice Noodles: Look for rice noodles, usually in a clear package. Any brand works! Sometimes they’re even called pad Thai noodles. If you can’t find rice noodles, you could substitute something like soba noodles or even ramen.
  • Tamarind Paste: Tamarind comes in a jar and is relatively easy to find in stores; if not, it’s readily available online. Tamarind really makes the difference in pad Thai sauce, so try not to skip it!
  • Soy Sauce: Use low-sodium soy sauce. If you’re gluten-free, you can substitute it with gluten-free tamari sauce or coconut aminos.
  • Coconut Sugar: Swap for brown sugar or maple syrup if needed.
  • Peanut Butter: Use natural peanut butter with no added oil or sugar. If you need the recipe to be peanut-free, you can use almond butter. If you need it to be nut-free, sunflower seed butter works just as well.
  • Sesame Oil: Key for that delicious “stir fry” flavour. I would highly recommend using sesame oil, but if you need the recipe to be oil-free, you can skip it. For a spicy kick, try using some chili sesame oil.
  • Tofu: Firm or extra-firm tofu works best in this pad Thai recipe! You can press it first for the best results, but it’s unnecessary if you’re crunched for time.
  • Veggies: You’ll need fresh garlic, shallots, and green onion for the stir-fry but you can also add veggies like zucchini, bamboo, baby corn, carrot or broccoli.
  • Toppings: Toppings are optional, but if you’d like to use them, I recommend cilantro, peanuts, and lime wedges.

How To Make Tofu Pad Thai

Step 1: Prep the tofu.

To prepare the tofu for frying, use a tofu press or fold the block of tofu between a dish cloth and a heavy object like a skillet or a few books placed on top.

Do this for at least 20 minutes before cooking.

Note: Pressing the tofu before cooking is optional, but it does help absorb more flavour when adding it to the pad Thai. Here are some more tips when it comes to pressing tofu!

A block of tofu in a tofu press.

Step 2: Cook the noodles.

Start out by boiling a large pot of water over the stovetop. Cook the rice noodles until al dente or as per packaged directions.

Quick Tips for the Rice Noodles:

  • Cook the rice noodles in unsalted water.
  • After the noodles are done cooking, drain and rinse well with cold water.
  • Drizzle with ¼ tsp oil and toss to prevent the noodles from sticking together.

Step 3: Make the pad Thai sauce.

Add all the ingredients needed to make the homemade pad Thai sauce in a medium-sized bowl. Thoroughly mix together and reserve for later.

Quick Tip: If you want to cut down on cooking time, consider using a jarred pad Thai sauce. Just make sure to check the ingredients list to make sure the sauce is vegan. Though, if you can, I highly recommend making your own!

Pad Thai sauce in a small glass bowl.

Step 4: Fry the tofu.

Heat up a large fry pan over medium heat for 1-2 minutes with some sesame oil.

Add in the diced tofu and cook for about 2-3 minutes. Then, use tongs to flip the tofu until every side is golden brown and crispy.

When the tofu is ready, remove it from the pan and place it on a paper towel-lined plate.

Crumbled pieces of tofu in a large saucepan.

Step 5: Stir fry the veggies.

In the same pan, add the garlic, shallots, green onion, and chili flakes with a bit of sesame oil. Cook for about 2 minutes until fragrant and cooked through.

Quick Tip: Feel free to add in any other veggies you like! I think zucchini, carrots, and bell peppers would all be delicious in this recipe.

Scallions, garlic and shallots cooking in a skillet.

Step 5: Add the sauce.

Slowly pour in the homemade pad Thai sauce while stirring and bring it to a boil.

Scallions and shallot cooking in sauce in a pan.

Step 6: Add noodles and tofu.

Add the cooked rice noodles once the sauce comes to a boil. Use a pair of tongs to toss them in the pad Thai sauce until the noodles are fully coated.

Then, add the cooked tofu and bean sprouts and toss them together until everything is nicely mixed.

Pad Thai in a serving bowl.

Step 7: Serve and enjoy!

Serve your tofu pad Thai topped with chopped peanuts, fresh cilantro, and lime wedges.

FAQs

Is this pad thai recipe vegan?

Yes! This pad Thai recipe does not contain eggs, chicken, or seafood.

Is this dish gluten-free?

To make this recipe gluten-free, be sure to use gluten-free tamari or coconut aminos instead of soy sauce. The rest of the ingredients are gluten-free!

Do I have to add tofu?

Nope. If you don’t want to use tofu, you can go ahead and skip it or use another protein of your choice.

What other noodles can I use in place of rice noodles?

If you’re not a fan of rice noodles, you can use another type of noodles such as soba noodles or even linguine! Just be sure to cook them al dente according to package instructions.

How can I make this tofu pad Thai spicier?

If you want to add a bit of spice to this tofu pad Thai, I recommend adding some more chili flakes or using chili sesame oil. You can also drizzle some sriracha sauce over the top.

Vegetarian pad thai with tofu in a bowl topped with cilantro and a slice of lime.

Making Ahead & Storing

You can make this vegan pad Thai in advance and have it meal prepped for lunch or dinner! Just make sure it has completely cooled down before storing.

  • Store in a sealed container in the fridge for up to 5 days.
  • Reheat as needed in a pan on the stovetop or in the microwave.

Did you try this recipe? I’d love to hear about it! Click here to leave a review.

Print
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Vegetarian pad thai in a bowl topped with cilantro and a slice of lime.

Vegan Tofu Pad Thai

  • Author: Deryn Macey
  • Prep Time: 15 mins
  • Cook Time: 10 mins
  • Total Time: 25 minutes
  • Yield: 6 1x
  • Category: Main Dish
  • Cuisine: Thai
  • Diet: Vegan

Description

Amazing vegan tofu pad Thai you can make at home with simple ingredients. This dish comes together in under 30 minutes for a delicious meal you can enjoy any night of the week.


Ingredients

Scale
  • 350 g wide rice noodles

Sauce:

Stir fry: 

  • 2 tbsp sesame oil (30 ml)
  • 1 package extra firm tofu, pressed and diced (454 g) 
  • 4 large garlic clove, sliced (30 g) 
  • 1 large shallot, sliced (60 g) 
  • 1 bunch green onion , sliced (110 g) 
  • 1 tsp chili flakes 
  • 1 cup bean sprouts (110 g) 

Optional Toppings: 

  • 1 cup roasted peanuts (115 g)
  • finely chopped cilantro 
  • fresh lime

Instructions

  1. Cook noodles as per packaged directions. Rinse with cold water and drain well. Drizzle with ¼ tsp oil and toss to prevent sticking.
  2. While noodles are cooking in a medium size bowl thoroughly mix together the sauce ingredients and reserve for later. 
  3. Heat up a large fry pan over medium heat for 1-2 minutes. Once heated add sesame oil until there is a shine to it (approximately 1 minute). Add your diced tofu and allow to crisp until golden brown, about 2-3 minutes. Using tongs, flip your tofu until every side is golden brown and crispy.  When ready, remove and place on a paper towel lined plate. 
  4. When the tofu is out of the pan, add the garlic, shallots, green onion and chili flakes. Cook for about 2 minutes until fragrant.
  5. Add the mixed sauce and bring to a boil. 
  6. Once sauce boils, toss in your reserved noodles. Using tongs mix together until noodles are fully coated in sauce.
  7. Add the cooked tofu and bean sprouts toss together until mixed. 
  8. Serve in your favourite bowl and top with roasted peanuts, chopped cilantro and a fresh lime wedge.

Notes

Tofu: To press the tofu, either use a tofu press or fold the block of tofu between a dish cloth and place a heavy object on it, such as a skillet or a few books, for at least 20 minutes. Pressing the tofu is optional but it does help it absorb more flavour when you add it to the recipe. More details on how to press tofu can be found here. 

Storing: Store in a sealed container in the fridge for up to 5 days. Enjoy cold or reheat as needed in the microwave or on the stovetop.

Gluten-Free & Nut-Free Options: For a gluten-free recipe, be sure to use gluten-free tamari or coconut aminos instead of soy sauce. To make it peanut-free, almond butter or cashew butter can be used instead of peanut butter and chopped cashews can be used for topping instead of peanuts. To make it nut-free, use sunflower seed butter or Wowbutter instead of peanut butter and omit the peanuts for topping.


Nutrition

  • Serving Size: 1/6th of recipe
  • Calories: 558
  • Sodium: 104 mg
  • Fat: 21 g
  • Carbohydrates: 69 g
  • Fiber: 6 g
  • Protein: 20 g

Keywords: vegan pad thai, tofu pad thai