This 30 Minute Vegan Pad Thai recipe is made with rice noodles, fried tofu, veggies, and the most incredible, simple sauce. Easy to make using everyday ingredients!

a plate of vegan pad thai topped with peanuts, lime wedges, and cilantro.

This is the easiest Vegan Pad Thai recipe! Rice noodles, pan-fried tofu, veggies, and a really simple sauce are tossed together and ready to enjoy in just 30 minutes. It’s a must-try, Thai-inspired recipe that’s perfect for lunch and dinner!

Why you’ll love this recipe

  • The best sauce: The sauce can make or break any Pad Thai recipe. It was a bit of a challenge to get my version just right since traditional Pad Thai recipes call for fish sauce and tamarind paste. After a lot of trial and error, I came up with a savory, tart, and subtly sweet sauce made entirely from everyday ingredients.
  • So simple and easy! This is, plain and simple, an easy vegan Pad Thai recipe. That means we’re substituting complicated and hard-to-find ingredients, like vegan fish sauce and tamarind paste, with flavorful alternatives that are probably already in your pantry.
  • Easy to prep ahead: Everything, from the vegan Pad Thai sauce to the tofu cubes, can be prepared ahead of time! It’s the best way to turn this 30 minute recipe into a 15 minute recipe.
close up on a plate of vegan pad thai topped with peanuts, lime wedges, and cilantro.

Ingredients needed (with substitutions)

  • Stir fry rice noodles – Rice noodles of any size work well here! Plus, they’re naturally gluten free and vegan.
  • Vegetable oil
  • Fried tofu – Extra firm tofu is pressed, then fried until golden and crisp. If you don’t want to fry the tofu, you can bake it or air fry it ahead of time instead. Check out the Variations section for more vegan protein options or how to omit the tofu altogether.
  • Soy sauce – I recommend using low sodium soy sauce. Or, if you’re gluten free, use tamari.
  • Rice vinegar – This adds a necessary tartness to the sauce. More traditional recipes are made with tamarind paste, which can be hard to find sometimes, but rice vinegar works well as a substitute. 
  • Maple syrup – The real stuff! It’s important for sweetness, warmth, and balance in the sauce.
  • Lime juice
  • Sriracha hot sauce – For just a touch of heat in the sauce. You can add more or less depending on how much spice you like.
  • Carrots – Julienned into thin strips. You can save time by buying pre-sliced carrots from the grocery store.
  • Green onions
  • Toppings – Top your plate with refreshing and colorful toppings, like lime wedges, mung bean sprouts, chopped peanuts, and cilantro.
ingredients for vegan pad thai in individual white bowls.

How to make vegan Pad Thai

Find the complete recipe with measurements in the recipe card below.

Make sure all of your veggies are chopped and your tofu is being pressed before you start. Tofu Pad Thai moves fast, so it’s important to be prepared!

Begin by cooking the rice noodles in a pot of boiling water. When they’re done, set the noodles aside to soak for a few minutes, then drain and rinse with cold water to prevent them from sticking.

Next, stir all of the sauce ingredients together in a small bowl.

whisking a dark brown sauce in a white bowl.

Heat the oil in a large pan over medium-high heat. Add the pressed tofu cubes once the oil is hot and fry until all sides are golden brown.

Tip: Speed up the recipe by making my Air Fryer Tofu while you wait for the noodles to cook. Once it’s done, add the tofu to the pan with the noodles, sauce, and veggies.

frying cubed tofu pieces in a beige pan.

Next, add the cooked noodles, sauce, carrots, green onions, and half of the cilantro to the pan. Keep stirring to warm everything up and ensure every bite is well-coated in the Pad Thai sauce.

Serve the Pad Thai immediately and finish each plate with the toppings you love. Don’t forget the drizzle of lime juice – it takes every bite over the top!

cooking rice noodles, carrots, and scallions together in a beige pan.

Variations

  • Gluten free – All you need to do is use gluten free tamari in place of soy sauce to make gluten free and vegan Pad Thai.
  • Add more vegetables – You have plenty of options when it comes to vegetables in Pad Thai. I only used carrots and green onions, but you can add even more, such as red pepper strips, broccoli florets, mushrooms, snap peas, or edamame.
  • Protein options – You can make vegan Pad Thai with any type of plant-based protein you love! Pan-fried tofu is filling, crispy, and tender, but you could easily use tempeh, leftover strips of vegan chicken, or edamame instead. Or, for a vegetable-only Pad Thai, omit the tofu and replace it with any of the vegetables I suggested above.
  • Add vegan eggs – Did you used to love Pad Thai with scrambled eggs? Then I recommend pouring liquid JUST Egg into the pan right before you add the sauce and noodles. It scrambles just like real eggs!

Make ahead tips

Pad Thai doesn’t make for great leftovers because the noodles dry out and the flavors lose their vibrancy. However, you can still have Pad Thai in a hurry by preparing all of the elements ahead of time:

  • Noodles: Cooked rice noodles can be stored in an airtight container in the fridge for 3 to 4 days. Rinse them in cold water, then toss in a little vegetable oil to prevent them from sticking.
  • Sauce: Make the sauce as normal and keep it in a jar in the fridge for up to 1 week.
  • Veggies: Store the chopped vegetables and toppings in separate containers in the fridge. They’ll stay crisp and fresh for 1 or 2 days.
  • Tofu: Press the cubed tofu, then store it in a covered container in the fridge for up to 1 week.

When it’s time to eat, just take all of your prepped ingredients out of the fridge and cook as normal!

close up on a plate of vegan pad thai topped with peanuts, lime wedges, and cilantro.

Want more 30 minute vegan recipes?

a plate of vegan pad thai topped with peanuts, lime wedges, and cilantro.
4.90 stars (64 ratings)

Vegan Pad Thai

This 30 Minute Vegan Pad Thai recipe is made with rice noodles, fried tofu, veggies, and the most incredible, simple sauce. Easy to make using everyday ingredients!
Prep: 10 minutes
Cook: 20 minutes
Total: 30 minutes
Servings: 4 servings

Ingredients 
 

  • 7 ounces stir fry rice noodles
  • 2-3 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 14.5 ounce block extra-firm tofu, pressed and cut into 1/2 inch cubes

Sauce

Vegetables

  • 1 cup julienne sliced carrots, about 3 carrots
  • 3 green onions, chopped

For serving

  • 2 limes, cut into wedges
  • 1/2 cup cilantro, chopped
  • 1/2 cup crushed or chopped peanuts
  • 1 cup mung bean sprouts, optional

Instructions 

  • Prepare all of your ingredients before you begin. Slice the carrots, chop the green onions, cilantro and the peanuts. Press your tofu if needed (I like to get the vacuum packed extra-firm tofu so no need to press it), and then chop into 1/2 inch cubes.
  • Cook the noodles: Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add the noodles and cook for 1 minute. Remove from heat, and let them soak for 5 minutes. Drain and rinse with cold water. Set aside.
  • Make the sauce: Stir all the sauce ingredients together in a small bowl. Set aside.
  • Fry the tofu: In a large pan (you can even use the same pot you boiled the noodles in), heat the oil over medium-high heat. Add the tofu, and fry it until all sides are golden brown.
  • To the pan with the tofu, add the noodles, sauce, carrots, green onions and half of the cilantro. Stir as it warms up. 
  • Serve immediately, sprinkling peanuts and more cilantro on the top of each serving, with lime wedges and mung bean sprouts on the side. Squeeze lime juice to taste before eating. Yum!

Notes

  1. For Gluten Free, use gluten free tamari instead of soy sauce.
  2. If you want vegetable only pad thai, replace the tofu with various veggies, such as red pepper strips and broccoli florets. Stir fry these in place of the tofu until tender, before adding the noodles and sauce. 
  3. For the carrots, I buy the bag of pre-cut carrots, julienne style so it reduces my chopping time.
  4. Consider cooking up some JUST Egg to add some “scrambled eggs” to the Pad Thai.

Nutrition

Serving: 1serving | Calories: 500kcal | Carbohydrates: 68g | Protein: 17g | Fat: 19g | Saturated Fat: 8g | Sodium: 754mg | Potassium: 585mg | Fiber: 5g | Sugar: 16g | Vitamin A: 5571IU | Vitamin C: 13mg | Calcium: 111mg | Iron: 3mg
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Thai
Author: Nora Taylor
Did you make this recipe?Mention @nora_cooks_vegan_ or tag #noracooks!

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Comments

  1. My son is dairy, egg, soy, and fish free due to allergies. I have struggled to find comparable recipes to our old favorites that we will all enjoy. I was so excited when I saw this recipe (I have only ventured on the dessert side of your site!) I replaced the soy sauce with coconut aminos and it worked perfectly. THANK YOU!

    1. You are welcome, Jen! I love it when those who are challenged with food allergies get to add more to their menu choices through my recipes. It makes my day! Thank YOU for your uplifting feedback!

  2. So easy! So fast! SOOOO good! We have always ordered out for Pad Thai because I always assumed it was difficult. It was not. This was as easy and quick as promised and did not disappoint (even my two picky teens loved it!)

    1. I love easy and delicious! I’m glad you enjoyed the recipe! Thanks for sharing your wonderful feedback and review!

  3. Just loved this Pad Thai recipe! I oven browned the tofu, and added sautéed broccoli and red pepper, increasing the sauce by another half recipe. It was easy, so tasteful and healthy. Thanks, Nora, for another great recipe, my third this week from your Sunday newsletter. My family is thrilled😊

  4. I made this when our 7 year old vegan granddaughter was staying with us. Her Mom is an incredible vegan cook. We always rack our brains to come up with vegan dishes when Luna stays with us. Success!! She loved this pad Thai recipe! It was simple and we packed in some extra veggies and the tofu turned out perfect! We all loved it and I will be making it again today for myself and my husband. We always look for your recipes, Nora! So helpful and always tasty as we are transitioning to a plant based diet!

  5. I usually love Nora Cooks recipes, but this one I was unfortunately disappointed by. It doesn’t taste anything like pad Thai which was frustrating. Left me wanting proper pad Thai from the restaurant.

    1. I’m sorry to hear this didn’t work out for you, I always feel so satisfied with this recipe so I’m not sure why it wasn’t to your taste.

    1. Sounds wonderful! I’m thrilled the meal was fabulous for you! Thank you for your beautiful review and feedback!

  6. This recipe was wonderful. As good as any Tofu pad Thai I have had in restaurants. I will definitely cook this again.

    1. Thank you for your wonderful review and feedback, Terri! I’m thrilled you love the recipe! Happy cooking!

  7. I tried cooking the noodles as directed in this recipe, but they did not cook enough, the dinner wasn’t a success due to the partially cooked rice noodles. I would recommend following the directions on the bag of noodles rather than the directions in this recipe. This was my second attempt to make pad Thai, I don’t think I’d use this recipe again. But I do enjoy other recipes on this website.

  8. I couldn’t believe how much my plate looked just like the restaurant stuff! The sauce didn’t taste exactly like pad Thai to me… the lime was a little different to me but overall SUPER GOOD. I added more crushed peanuts to mine to get that yummy peanut flavor. My husband and my kiddos loved it, and my kids are in a major picky phase. Thanks Nora for another awesome recipe. I haven’t met a recipe of yours I didn’t like! Will certainly make this one again. The cost savings in making this at home will be excellent.

    1. Hi Michelle. Thanks for sharing your wonderful review and feedback! I’m glad your family liked the recipe! Happy cooking!

      1. Super easy & tasty sauce to use on any veggies & noodles. Enjoyed the pad Thai very much! Thanks for another great recipe, Nora!

  9. Soooooooooooooooo good!!!! Will make this all the time. So easy and so delicious, tastes exactly as it should. Cracking recipe! Thank you!

  10. Yummmmmo. I just made this. Took a few liberties with the ingredients,,,used coconut aminos in place of maple syrup and loaded up on veggies. This will definitely be a new go to recipe. So fast and easy and the sauce is amazing!

    1. Hi Sarah. It’s so fantastic that you love the Pad Thai! Yours sounds delicious! Thank you for sharing your fabulous comments and ideas. Happy cooking!

    1. Hi Sam. You are welcome! How awesome that you loved the pod Thai! Thank you for sharing your wonderful feedback and review! Happy cooking!

  11. This is SO easy and quick to make. I have made it so many times for myself and friends. I ended up using regular linguini and used sunflower seeds instead of peanuts. It worked out really well. Thanks!

    1. You are welcome, Nina. Thanks for sharing your tips and wonderful feedback and review! I’m thrilled that you love the recipe!

  12. This sauce was great! I didn’t do the full recipe since I like to do my own blend of whatever noodles and veggies I have on hand, but I used the sauce and it was really tasty! It’s hard to find a pad thai without fish sauce so was grateful for this.

  13. I often don’t enjoy Pad Thai because it smells and tastes so fishy, but your version is so delicious! The sauce captures everything I love about Pad Thai—the delightful interplay of sweet, sour, salty, and a bit of spice—and leaves out the funk of fish. Thank you, Nora! This is a home run.

    1. You are welcome! It’s so great you love the flavor combination of my Pad Thai recipe! Thank you for your wonderful feedback and review!

  14. I’m not a big fan of pad Thai, but I made this because my husband loves it and your recipes are always delicious. I have to say that I love this recipe! It’s wonderful and I’m looking forward to making it again soon!

  15. I’ve made this for my family several times now. It is fresh and delicious for sure. I usually make a little more sauce (1.5 times), but otherwise follow the recipe as listed above. So good!!!

    1. Hi Padoola. I’m so glad you and your family are loving the Pad Thai! Thank you for sharing your wonderful feedback and review!

  16. Excellent and flexible plant based recipe to use veggies that you have on hand. The store was sold out of Sriracha so we used a Szechuan chili sauce we had instead.  Served with a chopped cabbage salad drizzled with peanut sauce; a great pairing. Family loved it!

  17. I am have been vegan for over 6 years and I have never tried to make my own pad thai until now! I made this for my boyfriend and I  (who is vegetarian) and we both loved it. We are already planning on making this again for dinner this week. Nora cooks always has wonderful and easy recipes. Thank you for this delicious recipe. 🙂

    1. Hi Maia. I’m so glad that you and your boyfriend loved the Pad Thai! Thank you for sharing your wonderful feedback! I appreciate you using my recipes, and am glad that you find them delicious and easy! Happy cooking!

  18. It was excellent and turned out exactly as you said! I precooked my carrots and mung beans a little before adding everything else due to some people need them a little softer. It was perfect! Thank you

    1. You are welcome! I’m glad everything turned out perfect for you. Thank you for sharing your wonderful feedback and review!

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