A classic Thai dish, vegan Pad Thai is made with rice noodles, fresh vegetables and herbs, and perfectly crispy tofu for an easy 40-minute gluten-free meal the whole family will love.
It’s the middle of the week near the end of January in what has been a very long winter. I bet everyone could use some positive vibes right about now.
I can’t wrap up this week any faster or bring on Spring, but I can give you something to feel good about: this Vegan Pad Thai. Made with rice noodles and perfectly crispy tofu and seasoned with fresh herbs and sweet and salty sauce, this is a meal that will awaken your tastebuds, lighten your spirits, and get you through this last week of January.
How to Make the Perfect Crispy Tofu:
To make the perfect Vegan Pad Thai, you need the perfect crispy tofu. If you’ve ever cooked tofu before, you know that this can be challenging. Either the tofu sticks to the pan or breaks apart when stirred or burns on one side while staying raw on other….you name it; I’ve seen it all.
Fortunately, over the 10 years, I’ve been vegan, I’ve learned a few tips on getting that tofu perfectly crispy.
- Use extra firm, high-quality tofu that is not water-packed. If you have to use water-packed tofu make sure to press as much water as you can out of it first by using a tofu press or a weighted, towel-lined cutting board
- Use a cast-iron skillet (or another heavy-bottomed pan). Cast iron heats up SUPERHOT and when oiled properly has a non-stick surface.
- Heat the skillet SUPER HOT before adding the oil.
- Add your oil and get it to sizzle! Test the heat with a drop of water. If it sizzles immediately, you’re ready to add the tofu.
- Add tofu with a pinch of salt.
- Use a large enough pan that the tofu can get evenly golden brown. Flip tofu to brown on both sides.
That’s it! Perfectly crispy tofu.
How to Make Pad Thai
Once the tofu is ready, this Pad Thai wraps up pretty quickly.
- Toss in vegetables and herbs into your cast-iron skillet and sauté them lightly.
- Stir in the cooked rice noodles
- Top with the sweet and salty Pad Thai Sauce.
Dish up and top with your favorite toppings!
Best RICE NOODLES FOR PAD THAI
Rice noodles come in a variety of widths and, while I prefer medium-width noodles for this dish, you can really use any dry rice noodles you would like. For added health benefits, I choose brown rice noodles which cook up the same and taste nearly identical.
This is the brand I use for this soup recipe.
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS ABOUT PAD THAI WITH TOFU
IS THIS VEGAN PAD THAI RECIPE GLUTEN-FREE?
Yes it is! Rice noodles are naturally gluten-free
IS THIS PAD THAI KETO-FRIENDLY?
Sure! Just swap out the rice noodles for zucchini noodles, like in this Raw Pad Thai recipe.
HOW DO I STORE VEGAN PAD THAI?
You can store leftover Pad Thai in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days. To eat leftovers, gently reheat the stir fry over the stove or in the microwave.
VARIATIONS OF PAD THAI WITH TOFU
- Don’t like tofu? Omit the tofu and serve this soup with tempeh, button mushrooms, or eggplant.
- Need a grain-free option? Swap out the noodles for zucchini noodles.
- For more heat, serve with hot sauce and jalapeños.
Do you love Thai Food recipes as much as I do? Then you should check out these recipes below:
MORE VEGAN Thai Food
- Spring Rolls with Sweet Potato Noodles
- Thai Sweet Potato Curry
- Thai Green Curry
- Pumpkin Peanut Curry with Tofu
- Thai Noodle Soup with Eggplant
But before you go, let’s take another look at this amazing vegan Pad Thai below.
Vegan Pad Thai
- roasted peanuts
- fresh lime
- fresh basil and cilantro
- mung bean sprouts
- sweet paste
- Cook the rice noodles according to package instructions. Once cooked, immediately rinse in cold water, toss with 1 tablespoon sesame oil, and set aside.
- While noodles are cooking, make the tofu. Heat the remaining 2 tablespoons of sesame oil in a large cast-iron skillet. Cut tofu in 1" X 1/2" rectangles. Once the oil is hot, add tofu and sauté for 7 minutes, flipping once, until tofu is crispy and brown on both sides.
- Add red and yellow bell peppers and cook for another 3 minutes, stirring occasionally. Once peppers are soft, add mung bean sprouts, scallions, and garlic. Sauté for another 2-3 minutes.
- Stir in sauce and noodles to the tofu/vegetable mixture until heated through thoroughly.
- Divide onto 4 plates and top with the desired topping. Serve immediately.