Pad Thai has always been one of my favorite dishes to order and Thai restaurants. Who doesn’t love hoovering rich, spicy, tangy, noodles into their face? However, it can be tricky to get a purely vegan order as traditional Pad Thai contains eggs, fish sauce, and usually meat. Many restaurants are able to accommodate vegan orders so it is always good to ask 🙂
BUTT, if you want to be on the safe side and simultaneously tailor your Pad Thai to your own taste, you can make your own! It’s easy, fun, and YOU get to decide what goes into it.
This Best Pad Thai recipe allows you to be creative by using whatever vegetables you have lying around and gives you options to turn the heat up or down. Enjoy!
WHAT YOU NEED
- 8oz wide rice noodles (Banh Pho is best)
- 12 oz package of extra firm (not silken) tofu. Cubed or crumbled as per your preference
- 2 tablespoons peanut or canola oil
- 1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes, optional or to taste
- 1-2 Thai green or red Thai chilies, stems removed and thinly sliced (optional, this is only for the spicy folks 😉
- 1 tablespoon fresh, grated ginger
- 3-4 cloves of garlic, minced
- 3 cups assorted vegetables diced or thinly sliced into bite-sized pieces – This is where you tailor the dish to your tastes or what you have in your fridge. I like to use: bell peppers, carrots, cabbage, bok choy, kale, collards, pea pods, onion, broccoli, mushrooms, etc. Whatever you like!
- 4 large scallions/green onions, white and green parts, cut into 1″ pieces
- 1 cup bean sprouts (you can use different sprouts like alfalfa, onion, broccoli or maybe even micro greens for a healthier twist. Just be sure to use as a garnish as they will not stand up to cooking.)
- 1/2 c chopped peanuts – garnish
- 1/2 c chopped cilantro – garnish
- Lime wedges – for serving
- `1/4 cup freshly squeezed lime juice
- 1/4 cup tamari or other soy sauce
- 2 tablespoons agave nectar (can substitute sugar or real maple syrup)
- 2 tablespoons tamarind paste
- 2 teaspoons cornstarch
- 1 1/2 teaspoons vegetarian fish sauce – also called Special Sauce for Vegetarian (pictured below) available at well-stocked Asian markets. If you can’t find it, substitute distilled white vinegar.
- 1/2 tsp paprika
WHAT YOU DO
- Bring a large pot of water to boil and cook noodles according to package directions or until al dente, about 8 minutes. Strain into a colander and rinse will cold water. Set aside.
- Heat peanut oil in a large wok or skillet over medium high heat. When hot, add tofu, crushed red pepper, and small pinch of salt and fry, stirring regularly, until tofu is lightly browned and slightly crispy.
- While tofu is cooking, place all sauce ingredients into a bowl or measuring cup and mix until cornstarch dissolves. Set aside.
- Once tofu is lightly browned, add ginger, garlic, and Thai chilies (if using) and cook, stirring constantly, for 30 seconds taking care that the garlic doesn’t burn.
- Add chopped vegetables and stir fry until lightly softened. 2-3 minutes.
- Add sauce mix and green onions and cook for about 30 seconds.
- Add cooked noodles and bean sprouts (if using) and cook, stirring, until sauce is thickened and noodles and vegetables are evenly coated – about 2 minutes.
- Serve immediately topped with peanuts, cilantro, and lime wedges.