I love giving a healthy makeover to our favorite take-out dishes! This Vegetarian Pad Thai is vibrant, healthy, satisfying, completely plant-based, and SO good! All the beautiful tangy, savory, and sweet flavors without fish sauce or dried shrimp. Skip the egg and it’s also a perfect vegan meal.
Pad Thai has an unmistakable taste. It's such a popular recipe because it's common street food in Thailand and one of the most-ordered foods at Thai restaurants. No wonder it is the national dish of Thailand.
Typical pad thai is fried with eggs and fish sauce. I often make this vibrant recipe without the fish sauce and it tastes so good. Although I have added eggs to this recipe, they are completely optional. It still has bold umami flavors but without any animal-based foods.
Vegetarian Pad Thai Noodles
The noodles in this dish are Thai rice noodles. The only ingredients in them are rice, water, and tapioca starch.
Before you buy any rice noodles for pad Thai, always look at the ingredients. You want to buy authentic rice noodles that have those 2 to 3 ingredients. My favorite brand is A Taste of Thai Brand Rice Linguini noodles.
The Best Vegetarian Pad Thai Sauce
My favorite brand of vegetarian pad Thai sauce is Maesri Pad Thai Sauce. It is made with tomato paste, vinegar, tamarind juice, a combination of spices and does not have any fish sauce or dried shrimp.
It is by far the best pad Thai sauce I have ever used. The second-best store-bought sauce would be Thai Kitchen Pad Thai Sauce. I find it a bit too sweet but you can always add 1 to 2 tablespoons of chili garlic paste to balance the sweetness.
Homemade Pad Thai Sauce
If you can't find these brands at your grocery store, check the local Asian market. or you can always make your own.
Here is my homemade vegan pad Thai sauce recipe. It's so easy!
Mix together the ingredients below in a small saucepan. Cook on low medium heat until the sauce comes to a full boil and starts to thicken. Makes about ¾ cup
- 2 tablespoons soy sauce
- ¼ cup light brown sugar, packed
- ¼ cup water
- 2 tablespoons tamarind paste
- 2 tablespoons chili garlic sauce
Here are my step-by-step instructions with photos to show you each step. All of the steps and the ingredients are in the printable recipe card just a little further down in this post.
Step 1: Prep all the ingredients. Start with soaking the rice noodles. I like to soak them in hot water for 10 minutes but you can also follow the instructions on the package. Also, cook the tofu and reserve. Cut the vegetables.
Step 2: Saute veggies and fry the eggs.
Step 3: Stir in noodles, sauce, tofu. Add bean sprouts and garnish with green scallions, peanuts, and cilantro.
This recipe is all plant-based. There are lots of different ways to eat vegetarian, depending on your values. If you just want to eat meatless, but don't mind eating organic eggs, add some eggs to the stir fry (like I did).
If you want it to be completely vegan, then leave out the eggs.
One of the easiest ways to vary this recipe is to add your favorite vegetables. Finely chop up some zucchini and add it to the pad Thai.
Make it spicier by adding more chili paste and some red pepper flakes. If you want it to taste extra-mild, decrease the chili paste just a bit.
This recipe calls for baked tofu. Baking tofu is actually pretty simple. This tofu recipe takes you step-by-step through the entire process. Make extra because you can use tofu in lots of other dishes in place of meat.
If you order pad Thai at a restaurant, chances are it won't be vegetarian. Lots of people serve it with chicken and fry it in fish sauce. My recipe is vegetarian, but not vegan because I used eggs in the stir fry.
My recipe does not use fish sauce.
Yes, this recipe is very healthy. It has lots of vegetables in it that are packed with nutrients and fiber. Plus, tofu is a healthy source of protein as well.
Related Vegetarian Recipes
Love vegetarian meals? Here are some more recipes for you:
Vegetarian Pad Thai
- 14 oz Extra Firm Tofu baked
- 8 oz rice noodles A Taste of Thai linguini rice noodles
- 5 cups water
- 3 tablespoons oil
- 1 tablespoon garlic minced
- 1 bunch scallions
- 1 small red pepper
- 1 small yellow pepper
- 2 eggs whisked
- 6 oz Pad Thai Sauce **
- 3 cups bean sprouts
- ½ cup peanuts roasted and coarsely chopped
- ½ cup cilantro finely chopped
- ½ lime cut into 4 wedges
- Bring 5 cups of water to a full boil. Place the rice noodles in a bowl and pour hot water over them. Mix with a fork so the noodles separate and not stick to each other. Soak for 10 minutes. Drain the noodles and reserve. Note: Follow instructions on the package if you are using a different variety of rice noodles.
- While the noodles are soaking, prep the vegetables. Cut the white portion of the scallions and chop into thin strips. Dice the green part of the scallions and reserve. Thinly slice the peppers, ½ cup each of red and yellow.
- Heat half of the oil in a large wok over high heat. Add garlic, white scallions, and peppers. Cook for 2 minutes as the garlic gets aromatic. Move the veggies to one side of the wok and add the remaining oil in the middle of the wok. Add eggs and scramble them as they start to cook.
- Next add the cooked noodles, baked tofu, and the Pad Thai Sauce. Mix well with a pair of tongs, tossing the noodles well in the sauce and all the other ingredients. Cook for 2 to 3 minutes or until the noodles are heated through.
- Add bean sprouts. Add half of the chopped green scallions, half of the peanuts, and half of the cilantro. Mix everything together. Serve hot topped with the remaining scallions, peanuts, cilantro, and with lime wedges.
- Our favorite Pad Thai sauce is from the Maesri brand. It's available in Asian grocery stores and on Amazon. It comes in a 9 oz jar and you can add more to taste.
- The second choice for store-bought sauce would be Thai Kitchen Pad Thai Sauce. It's a bit on the sweeter side but you can add 1 tablespoon chili garlic paste to balance the sweetness.