Vegan pad thai

Vegan pad thai

vegan pad thai

Pad Thai (or Phad Thai) has been one of my favourite dishes for a while now. Apparently, it’s also one of the most popular Thai dishes outside Thailand so I’m hoping this simple recipe will be a welcome addition to the blog.

Pad Thai is one of these dishes that is not that difficult to veganise. I used a colourful array of crunchy veg in my version, but golden-fried tofu cubes would be great addition too. The only reason I did not include tofu is that I simply ran out.

The most tricky thing to replace is the fish sauce. This ubiquitous Thai condiment gives this and other Thai dishes their rounded flavour. If there is a will there is a way though. You can either buy a non fish-based fish sauce or simply prepare your own by infusing soy sauce (or tamari) with a bit of seaweed and dried mushrooms.

If it sounds like too much effort and you’re only after a quick lunch, just use a straight soy sauce instead…You’ll still be licking your lips after, promise!

vegan pad thai in a wok

vegan pad thai lunch

vegan pad thai for one

vegan pad thai close up

20 min
15 min
20 min
15 min


  • 200 g / 7 oz wide rice noodles
  • 2 tbsp peanut oil (or other high smoke point oil)
  • 2 spring onions, sliced
  • 2 garlic cloves, finely sliced
  • 1 hot red chilli, finely sliced
  • 2 carrots, shaved into ribbons with a speed peeler
  • a large handful of green beans, cut diagonally
  • ½ small broccoli, divided into florets
  • 1 red pepper, finely sliced
  • ¼ cup roasted & unsalted peanuts, pounded in a pestle & mortar
  • ½ cup mung bean sprouts
  • fresh coriander, to garnish


  1. Prepare rice noodles according to the instructions on the packet, but do not cook them fully as you’ll give them another minute or two in the wok after. After you immerse them in soaking water, lift the lid and give the noodles a good stir to prevent them from clumping together and sticking to the bottom of the pot. Give them another good stir half way through the soaking time.
  2. Once the time is up, drain the noodles and set aside. You may want to stir a little bit of oil through them to prevent them from sticking together but I do not find this necessary.
  3. Mix all the sauce ingredients together in a small bowl. If you are using a shop-bought tamarind puree / paste, go easy on it at first as it is apparently more concentrated (and therefore more sour) than if you make your paste from a tamarind block (see notes) yourself.
  4. Heat up a wok or a large frying pan. Pour 1 tbsp of oil and heat it up until almost smoking. Add spring onions, garlic and chilli.
  5. Stir-fry (stirring constantly) until spring onions soften and garlic becomes fragrant. Transfer to a separate plate, leaving as much oil in the wok as you can.
  6. Heat up another tablespoon of oil in the same wok – no need to wash it. Start adding prepared veggies in the following order (leaving a minute or two between each addition): broccoli, peas, red pepper and carrot ribbons. Stir-fry until cooked yet still crunchy.
  7. Transfer all vegetables to a big plate and pour the sauce to the bottom of the wok. Add in noodles – they may have clumped together a little, but the sauce and heat of the work will separate them again.
  8. Add spring onions, chilli, garlic and stir-fried veg back to the wok. Mix everything well and let it warm up, stirring the whole time, for a minute or two.
  9. Divide between two plates, sprinkle with sprouts and crushed peanuts. Serve with lime wedges on the side.

*When buying tamarind, please be aware that brands vary a lot with regards to concentration. Some brands, Thai Taste (available in Waitrose and Sainsburys in the UK) is very strong so make sure you use less, others are much more diluted. Generally, if it’s called a ‘paste’ or ‘concentrate’ then it’s very sour, if it’s called a ‘sauce’ less so. Please rely on your tastebuds. I have used homemade tamarid sauce from a block of dried tamarid – see below (it’s definitely the cheapest option, but quite labour intensive!!).
To make a tamarind sauce, chop 200 g / 7 oz of seedless tamarind block roughly and place in a small bowl. Cover with 500 ml / 2 cup of boiling water and set aside for 20 minutes to allow it to soften. Once softened, place in a blender and blend until smooth. Pass it through the sieve to get rid of any leftover seeds. Store in a sterilised jar for 1-2 weeks (due to a high water content in may get mouldy if stored for much longer).

**I made my fish sauce using a recipe from this amazing vegan cookbook. It’s basically tamari or soy sauce simmered with generous amount of seaweed, garlic, black peppercorns and a dried shiitake mushroom. You could also use this recipe.

28 g
16 g
3 g
11 g
89 g
*per serving
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22 reviews, 42 comments
Susan Tuffnell:
Delicious... thanks for sharing.
    Thank you Susan, I am so pleased to hear that! Ania
Bumble bee fitness:
Made this on three occasions now, as I don't eat meat but do eat shellfish I added prawns and it worked just as well. Nothing short of amazing best tasting home cooked pad Thai ever
    Thank you so much for your kind words, that's so lovely to hear! x Ania
Black and Tabby Runs:
Just made this tonight. I had tamarind paste, and so just used a good teaspoon of it, with 2 Tbs maple syrup. I didn’t have vegan fish sauce so just used all tamari. I added some fried tofu and mushrooms and it was delicious. Thank you for the recipe!
    Thank you for your kind words - I'm really glad you enjoyed it! x Ania
Angel Jones:
THIS WAS AMAZING!!! The BEST vegan pad thai I've ever done. Thank you again, i do your recipes every other day I swear.
Some ingreidents changes:
- I had no vegan fish sauce so I just subbed for more tamari.
-- I added baked tempeh to it just because i'm in love with tempeh (and I had no mung beans.)
It was divine!
    Aw, thanks for you kind words Angel! I'm delighted to hear that you enjoyed this and many other recipes and many thanks for taking the time to let me know - I really appreciate it. x Ania
best homemade pad thai i have made by far! used a tamarind block to make the sauce and turned out so delicious
    Thank you, Jacqui! I'm so happy to hear that it was such a success! And thank you for your kind review - very appreciated. x Ania
5stars! I just made this lovely recipe and will definitely make it again. I added a bit of cabbage, water and soya sauce as it was a bit dry but was an easy fix and really super!!! Well done!
    Thanks Char, I'm delighted to hear that you enjoyed it. And thank you for taking the time to let me know - much appreciated. x Ania
Just wondering when making the Tamarind sauce - does the tamarind block + soaking water go in the blender?
    Hi Julie,
    Yes, but I would chop it up small and soak it in boiling water first to soften. Once blended smooth, I recommend putting through a sieve (it's a bit of a faff) as even seedless tamarind blocks tend to have bits of seeds in them and you can easily break a tooth on those. Hope that helps! Ania
It was really nice and simple!! I didn't have fish sauce, but seaweed in the sauce was good enough to give some fish flavour ;)
    Thanks so much, I am delighted to hear that you enjoyed it! And thank you for taking the time to let me know! x Ania
Hi Ania, do you have Nutritional Facts for this recipe? If so, I would greatly appreciate them. Thank You
    Hi Agie,
    I am unable to provide them on my website, I'm afraid. Ania
Joshua Howard:
Made it for a second time. It is my new favorite. The taste is amazing and the instructions are easy to follow. Thank you!!!
    Thanks Joshua! I'm delighted to hear that! x Ania
This is a great recipe. I could not find Tamarind sauce, so I just did equal part limes to brown sugar. I also could not find the fat noodles, so I did the egg noodles. It was so delicious. What a great recipe. Well worth the work!!!😍
Thanks so much!!!
    Thanks Melissa! I am glad you enjoyed it so much! x Ania
Dear Ania,
Thank you so much for this recipe it was super tasty.
I love Thai style foods but didn’t know how to make them.
Thank you again.
    My pleasure, Jamie! I am so glad to hear that you enjoyed it! x Ania
Interesting vegan version of Phad Thai! The recipe looks really attractive, and it is even ketogenic diet friendly! This is a perfect dish for a vegan-keto diet. Sure, vegan diet and ketogenic diet sound imposssible since keto-diet often includes meat as a source of protein, but vegan-keto doesn't have to include meat in their diets. There are several alternatives to meat, like tofu, tempeh, and seitan. Vegan-keto diet may sound strict, but it offers promising health benefits. Plus, this recipe isn't a limitation to the diet, and this is a good start.
    Thanks for stopping by! Ania
This was amazing!
I used Tamarind Concentrate (2 tbs) and 1 extra tbs of syrup. This was so easy and quick. That's super important. I will be making again!
    Thanks, Aidan. I'm very happy to hear that! Ania
Erica Bansmer:
How would you suggest I cook tofu to add to this dish? Should I add it at a certain step? Thank you 😊
    Hi Erica,
    You could either bake it or pan-fry it (sprinkled with a bit of cornstarch) separately. Or you could stir-fry it alongside the veggies. I hope that helps! Ania
So glad I came across your version. Can't wait to try it. Can I subsititue the rice noodles with whole wheat noodles?
    Great, I hope you'll enjoy it! I don't see why not! Ania
Amazing! I added tofu and cabbage and it's truly a wonderful recipe! Thank you! :)
    Thanks, Silja! I'm really chuffed to hear that! Ania
We just had it for dinner, It was yummy my Asian husband and mother in law loved it. It was a bit dry ! Any Suggestions what to do to prevent noodles been dry next time ?
Thank you so much for the recipe!
    Thanks, Suky! Glad to hear that your guests enjoyed it. When you say that it was a bit dry, do you mean there wasn't enough sauce? Or that the noodles clumped together after re-hydration? Let me know and I'll try and help! Cheers, Ania
Thanks for the lovely recipe!
Notes for next time (and in case useful for others):
- I used various different veggies (including a whole onion at the beginning, plus courgette and mushrooms later).
- In the sauce mix I added 2 TBS peanut butter, a decent squirt of sriracha, and extra water as it was very thick.
- I found my rice noodles were ready within 4 mins, not the 8 it said on the pack, so was glad I noticed that and could rescue them in time :)
- Added firm tofu when cooking the onion+chilli+garlic with a splash of tamari.
    Thanks for your input!
Régine Bohar:
This was fabulous : tasty, full of vegetables, and colorful. I will make a couple changes next time:
1. I will fry the garlic in a separate pan, as the garlic makes the bottom sticky
2. I will try and remove the pits from the tamarind paste before I put it through the blender. I wasn't sure whether to blend in the water with the paste, but since it is called a sauce nat a paste, I believe the water had to go in the blender as well. I wasn't too sure how to put the sauce through a sieve (mine was probably much too fine), so I fished out the pits with my fingers.
I had been looking for a good pad thai recipe for a while, and this is totally satisfying. No need to look any further: this is it. Thank you.
    Thanks, Régine! I'm so glad to hear that you enjoyed it! Yes, tamarind paste seems to be an ingredient that varies a lot between countries. I tend to make my own (as per the NOTES), but I agree the seed pieces (which seem to be there even if the block says 'seedless') are hard to get rid off completely. Ania
Pad Thai is by far one of my favourite meals but have never quite found an easy and healthy vegan recipe. This was absolutely perfect, ticked all the boxes! Thank you! :)
    Thanks so much, Allira! That's so nice to hear! :) Ania
Lauren M:
Thank you for a fantastic recipe. Cooked it for my still omni husband and he loved it. Definitely will like to make this again. And I loved making my vegan fish sauce from scratch and picked tamarind pods and made that from scratch too. A wonderful, tasty, balanced whole food meal!
    Thank you, Lauren! That's so lovely to hear that you both enjoyed it! :) Ania
I made this today and loved it! It also went down well with my partner :D Thank you! X
    That's fabulous, Simone! So chuffed to hear that! :) Ania
Tina Taylor:
It was amazing! Loved it. I had vegan pad Thai in Brasserie Lola ,Paris at the weekend and came home craving it.... your recipe was spot on! Thank you Ania xx
    Thank you for kind words, Tina! That's lovely to hear!! :) Ania
Hi , love how quick and tasty this vegan version is. I've cooked it a couple of times and we've all enjoyed it!
    Thanks so much, Laetitia, that's so nice to hear! Ania
I made this for my family last night and it was superb! Thank you :)
    Thanks great to hear, Collin! Thank you for taking the time to leave this lovely comment! :) Ania
This looks amazing. Thank you for this vegan version! Cannot wait to try it.
    Thanks so much, Joyce - hope you will enjoy it! :) Ania
Thank you for this recipe, I'm gonna try it today. Was just wondering if I could add some grated ginger. Do you think it would work? Thank you
    Hi Anna,
    Yes, I think that grated ginger will go fine with it if you like the flavour. Just be sure to go easy on tamarind paste if you are making your own from a block of dried tamarind as it will be more intense in flavour than the ready-made puree than I used. Hope you'll like it!
Yum that looks so good! Love the beautiful photos :)
    Thanks so much, Julia! So pleased to hear that! :)
Powinnaś wydać książkę, chętnie bym kupiła. Jestem wielką fanką Twoich przepisów, szczególnie tych kuchni azjatyckiej i wszelkich dań z ciecierzycy - próbuję wszystkie po kolei. Dopiero ostatnio zorientowałam się, że jest też polska wersja strony! Pozdrowienia z Mississippi :)
    Dziękuję Ci bardzo za tak miłe słowa! Bardzo się cieszę, że podobają Ci się moje przepisy. Takie komentarze zdecydowanie wynagradzają mi wysiłek jaki w nie wkładam :) Książka, kto wie...może za jakiś czas! Tak, piszę też po polsku a przynajmniej się staram :) Jeszcze raz dzięki i pozdrowienia ze słonecznego Paros!
      Looks fantastic... new to trying to focus on more plant based diet. Just wondering about the protein in this dish? Is there enough protein to be a hearty meal?
        Hi Tamara,
        If you are new to plant-based eating, you'll be surprised and pleased to know that protein is in almost everything :) and, contrary to this common myth (see this article), it is just as valuable as animal-derived one. In this particular meal, both broccoli (2.8 g per 100 g raw) and peanuts (26 g in 100 g) pack a lot of it so, yes, I would say it is a well-balanced meal.
    Thanks for this recipe. This is what I have been looking for. Can't wait to start cooking it! :-)
      My pleasure! :) Ania
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