Vegan Pad Thai with Tofu!

Growing up I spent a lot of time in Thailand, and pad thai was a go-to meal for me so this is an inspired Vegan Pad Thai with Tofu! Pad Thai is a classic Thai dish comprised of rice noodles, a tangy, savoury and sweet sauce and protein. Is pad thai vegan? Well, it is typically made with fish sauce, so while it’s common to find a pad thai made with tofu, chances are the sauce is still fish based. Pad thai noodles are rice based, so they are gluten free, but often the sauce contains gluten. This easy vegan pad thai is not only fish sauce free, but also made with a gluten free pad thai sauce.

We’ll be using traditional pad thai ingredients including tamarind, preserved radish and mung bean sprouts, with a plant based twist. From start to finish, it takes about 30 minutes or less to make these pad thai noodles with tofu, and it comes together in one pan.

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How to Make Pad Thai with Tofu

To make a vegan pad thai, we’ll be primarily following the traditional method but making ingredient swaps to make it both vegan and gluten free.

  1. First, soak or prepare your rice noodles according to package directions.
  2. In a large pan or wok, sauté shallot, garlic and chili peppers until fragrant. Then add radish, garlic chives and either tofu or plant based chicken and sauté again.
  3. Whisk together pad thai sauce ingredients, add into the pan and sauté for 2-3 minutes. Drain cooked noodles and add to the pan, tossing to coat.
  4. Once ready, serve noodles with roasted crushed peanuts, mung bean sprouts, chili flakes and fresh lime.

Vegan Pad Thai Sauce Veggiekins Blog

Other Protein Options

Typically, pad thai is made with egg and chicken or seafood as the primary protein. When making vegan pad thai, I like to use a super firm or dried tofu, however if you’d like to choose from a plant based meat alternative, vegan chicken or vegan shrimp make great stand-ins! You might also consider using tempeh, seitan or other plant based proteins.

Vegan Pad Thai with Tofu Veggiekins Blog

What is Tamarind?

What is tamarind?

Tamarind is a fruit that grows in pods, with a pulp inside that is sweet and sour at the same time. It is native to Africa but found in Southeast Asia and used often in Thai cooking. You can find tamarind in full pod form, a pressed block of paste and purée form, which resembles a syrup. For this recipe we’ll be working with a tamarind syrup, which I find easiest to make pad thai sauce with. It’s also much easier to preserve for future use.

Where to find tamarind

You can find tamarind at Southeast Asian and Indian grocery stores if there are any near you. You might also check Asian grocery stores or the Asian/International section of conventional grocery stories. If all else fails, you can find tamarind online! If looking for a substitute, I would recommend using date syrup, as it’s similar (minus the tang).

Vegan Fish Sauce

What is vegan fish sauce

Vegan fish sauce is an alternative to conventional fish sauce, which is of course, made with fish. Fish sauce is used to add umami and funk to the vegan pad thai sauce, and you can find plant based alternatives made from kelp and mushrooms, also sources of umami.

Where to find vegan fish sauce

Many Asian grocery stories carry vegan fish sauce alternatives, but it is trickier to find vegan fish sauce that is gluten free friendly. I like to use this gluten free, soy free vegan fish sauce.

Can you make your own vegan fish sauce?

If you prefer, you can make your own vegan fish sauce at home. Here’s a recipe by my friend Chez Jorge for homemade vegan fish sauce, and another by Feasting at Home. You’ll find that both call for kombu or kelp and mushrooms for that umami flavour.

Vegan Pad Thai with Tofu Veggiekins Blog

More Vegan Noodle Recipes

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Vegan Pad Thai with Tofu Veggiekins Blog

Vegan Pad Thai with Tofu

  • Author: Remy


This vegan pad thai with tofu recipe has rice noodles, tamarind, lime juice, vegan fish sauce, sprouts, and crushed peanuts on top.


  • 2 servings flat rice noodles
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 large shallot, sliced
  • 12 thai chili peppers, minced
  • 2 garlic chives, green parts, julienned
  • 2 tbsp dried preserved radish
  • 1 cup baked tofu or vegan chicken


to garnish

  • 1/4 cup crushed roasted peanuts
  • 1 cup mung bean sprouts
  • dried chili flakes
  • fresh lime to serve


Filed under: Eat, Gluten Free, High Protein, Main Dishes

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BY Remy • March 24, 2021

Vegan Pad Thai with Tofu (gluten free)

Vegan Pad Thai with Tofu Veggiekins Blog

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  1. Martha says:
    The Pad Thai sauce was spot on! I am also looking forward to having fun adding the preserved dried radish to other dishes. Where do you usually use this ingredient?

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Hi there, I’m Remy! Welcome to Veggiekins Blog, home to nourishing vegan + gluten-free recipes and tips to live your best balanced and holistic life. I’m a human on a mission to empower you to be well and be kind to your mind, body and soul with the healing power of plants.

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