Best Ever Vegan Pad Thai

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Vegan Pad Thai is a fast weeknight dinner that tastes amazing! All you need is a handful of pantry ingredients to make it, plus your favorite veggies to add in.

vegan pad thai twirled on fork

What is Pad Thai Sauce Made From?

Traditional Pad Thai sauce is made with fish sauce, tamarind paste, vinegar, and sugar. Obviously, the fish sauce is out when you want to make a vegan version, and I don’t know about you, but tamarind paste isn’t something I keep in my pantry, either.

Pad Thai also usually contains eggs, but I’ve left that out here. If you want to add extra protein, try my crispy Air Fryer Tofu or Baked Tofu as an alternative!

How Do You Make it Vegan?

To make a Vegan Pad Thai sauce, all you need is 4 simple ingredients:

  • Soy sauce (I use tamari, to keep it gluten-free)
  • Lime juice
  • Sriracha
  • Maple syrup

The combination of maple syrup and lime juice replace the need for tamarind paste, and I find the lime adds enough tartness that I don’t need to add vinegar, either. It’s so simple, yet so delicious!

vegan pad thai sauce stirred together

How to Customize the Flavor

This Vegan Pad Thai is definitely a taste-as-you-go sort of dish, so here’s how you can modify it to your liking.

  • Too salty? Add more maple syrup or veggies to balance it out. Sweetness balances out salty flavors.
  • Too tangy? Add more maple syrup or veggies. Sweetness balances out tangy flavors, too.
  • Needs more flavor? Add more salt! Most food that tastes bland is under-seasoned. Use a mineral-rich salt and season liberally.
  • Not spicy enough? Add more sriracha, to taste. Spicy flavors are the hardest to “undo,” so be sure to add a small amount to start with if you are sensitive to spice. I consider myself sensitive to spice, and as-written I don’t think this dish is very spicy, but everyone is different!

What Kind of Noodles Do You Use?

Pad Thai is traditionally made with rice noodles, which are thin, flat, and naturally gluten-free. Rice noodles are available from white rice or brown rice, so you can take your pick!

pad thai noodles in package and cooked

I’ve also tested this recipe using chickpea linguine noodles, which is what I use in my popular Peanut Noodles recipe, and those work great here, too.

What Veggies are in Pad Thai?

This dish is made healthier by cutting back on the pasta and increasing the veggies. I like to use more veggies than noodles in this dish, so you’ll get more filling fiber, and extra nutrients in each bite. I actually prefer the texture this way, compared to using mostly noodles, too.

When you add in shredded green cabbage, you can hardly tell what’s a noodle and what’s cabbage. It seriously blends right in! Try it and see for yourself.

Here are the other veggies you’ll commonly find in Pad Thai:

  • Green onions
  • Shredded carrots
  • Cilantro
  • Mung bean sprouts

You can add in any other veggies you like, too, such as sliced bell peppers, sugar snap peas, or edamame. This dish is a great way to clean out your fridge!

vegan pad thai noodles on plate
vegan pad thai noodles on plate
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4.89 from 26 votes

Vegan Pad Thai

Vegan Pad Thai is a fast weeknight dinner that tastes amazing! All you need is 4 pantry ingredients to make the flavorful sauce, and you can add any veggies you like.
Course Main Course
Cuisine vegan
Keyword vegan pad thai
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Total Time 25 minutes
Servings 2
Calories 522kcal

Ingredients

  • 4 ounces rice noodles (or noodles of choice)
  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 pound green cabbage , shredded
  • 3 tablespoons tamari (47 grams; gluten-free soy sauce)
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lime juice (13 grams)
  • 2 tablespoons maple syrup (39 grams)
  • 1 tablespoon sriracha (19 grams)
  • 1 carrot , shredded (84 grams)
  • 3 green onions , chopped (30 grams)
  • 1 cup fresh cilantro , chopped (16 grams)
  • 1/4 cup chopped peanuts (36 grams)

Instructions

  • Bring a large pot of water to a boil, and prepare the noodles according to the package directions.
    pad thai noodles in package and cooked
  • While the noodles are cooking, heat the olive oil in a large, deep skillet over medium high heat. Add the cabbage and season with 1/2 teaspoon of salt. Sauté until tender, about 8 minutes.
    shredded cabbage cooked in skillet
  • While the cabbage and noodles are cooking, stir together the sauce in a small bowl. Combine the tamari, lime juice, maple syrup, and sriracha, and stir until smooth.
    vegan pad thai sauce stirred together
  • When the noodles are done, drain well, then add them to the large skillet with the cabbage. Add in the sauce, carrots, and green onions, and stir often, so everything gets heated and evenly coated in the sauce. Taste and adjust any seasoning as needed. (See the post above for tips!)
    sauce added to noodles and veggies in skillet
  • Stir in the cilantro right before serving, and sprinkle in the peanuts, so they'll stay crunchy. Serve warm. Leftovers can be stored in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 4 days. Reheat in a skillet over medium heat for 5 minutes to serve again.
    finished vegan pad thai noodles

Video

Notes

  • Nutrition information is for half the batch, and is just an estimate, not a guarantee.
  • If you don’t like peanuts, feel free to leave them out or swap for another crunchy nut, like cashews or almonds.
  • The veggies in this dish can be easily substituted, so use what you have on hand! Green cabbage will be the least-noticeable veggie visually, but red cabbage tastes good, too!

Nutrition

Calories: 522kcal | Carbohydrates: 83g | Protein: 13g | Fat: 17g | Saturated Fat: 3g | Sodium: 1858mg | Potassium: 813mg | Fiber: 10g | Sugar: 22g | Vitamin A: 6037IU | Vitamin C: 97mg | Calcium: 176mg | Iron: 3mg

More Vegan Dinner Ideas

Need some more plant-based inspiration? Try these fan favorites! They’re a hit with vegetarians and meat-eaters alike!

If you try this Vegan Pad Thai recipe, please leave a comment below letting me know how you like it! And if you make any modifications, I’d love to hear about those, too. We can all benefit from your experience!

Reader Feedback: What’s your favorite fast weeknight dinner? Let me know if you have any recipe requests that you’d like to see in the future.

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Comments

Marykate

Yum! My boyfriend is a huge Pad Thai fan, and I’ve made the recipe in your cookbook before and he was impressed. This one was amazing as well, just made some for dinner!

Love all you do, thanks for making easy, healthy recipes. One good thing from COVID is I started cooking thanks to your recipes. I’ve purchased your cookbook 5 times now as gifts for others. Thanks Megan! 🙂

Richard Tunner

just made this last night!! like all of your recipes I’ve tried, it was amazing!! my family all agreed we will be adding this into the cycle of recipes we make during the week. thank you for such a yummy recipe 🙂

Gina

Made this last night and it’s amazing! I actually expected to have to add more to the sauce, but it’s delicious exactly as written. Definitely adding this into my weekly rotation! Oh, and I used regular rice noodles.

Sue

Absolutely loved this recipe!! Full of flavor and the perfect heat for my palate. However, my kids did not eat it as it was very spicy for them and even hubby who likes a little bit of heat thought it was a bit hot for his liking.
Otherwise 100% yes from me! Delish delish! Love your recipes!

paola

Very flavourful and just the right amount of heat! I did find the sauce a tad too sweet for my taste. I may try to use less maple syrup next time, although I’m not sure if this will affect the overall sauciness/creaminess.

Erica

This was so delicious and super easy to put together for a quick weeknight meal!

Gwen Keeble

This looks amazing. I see bean sprouts in the photo but not listed in the ingredients. Is that purposeful or a typo? Just an example of an option?

Sarah

So yummy and quick to make! A must- try for an easy weeknight meal.

Tori c

Quick, easy, and delicious! Made according to recipe without substitutions.

Val

My husband and I made this for dinner tonight. It was fantastic! Filling too. We added some fresh minced ginger and garlic. This will definitely be in our regular rotation.

DARYL

I bought a bag of cabbage for burritos later in the week, but this recipe was calling me. And even though I didn’t have green onions or cilantro, and the only carrots I had were baby and probably should have been tossed a while ago, I decided to give it a try. I used red onion instead of green, and although I am guessing it would have been even better without all of my missing and subbed ingredients, it was crazy delicious. In fact, I think this might be my new weekend dinner obsession. I made myself save half to eat the next day, and it was actually more delicious! I would like to add some additional vegetables like broccoli, mushrooms and maybe even some snow peas, so I am a wondering if I would need to cook those separately or can add them in with the cabbage? The best thing about this pad Thai is that, unlike the one I get at my favorite Thai restaurant, I didn’t feel gross after eating it. Guessing it’s because it’s mostly cabbage, but also the sauce is undoubtedly better for you. Oh, and I used stevia instead of maple syrup.

Josie

Excellent! I added a sliced red pepper at the same time as the carrot for a bit more colour & crunch. I also doubled the sauce. Great recipe, thanks!

Megan

Entire family loved!! Even the kids 😉 I have been making a super complicated pad thai recipe for years that no one was enjoying anymore. This one was a hit! I modified the sriracha to make it kid friendly and used the Trader Joe’s organic cabbage and carrot bags. Thanks for this and all your fantastic recipes!

Kate

Amazing!!! Made this last night with Banza linguine, and it was UNREAL!

Jill

Super easy delicious recipe!Thanks!

Erika

This dish is amazing! Twice I made it and we love the flavour and how healthy it is. I hate pasta made of lentils or chickpeas because they don’t make good leftovers, but rice pasta is the bomb! Love eating it the next day cold.

Liz

I made this and it tastes good, and I will make it again. I just need to make sure I have some more veggies because I attempted to double the recipe on my first try and it did need some more veggies, but other than that it was good.

    liz

    Also, I did use bok choy with some cabbage and I threw in some shredded lettuce that I had.

Heather

Instead of adding the peanuts – I added about a tablespoon of peanut butter to the sauce.

Nachatr Dhillon

Thank you for all that you do! I’m enjoying your website.
Wondering if you tell me what cutting/chopping boards you are using?
I really need new ones.
Nachatr

sparkachu

This is a nice and flavorful addition to Megan’s already great portfolio of healthy but simple dishes! The “heat” leaves you feeling satisfied without the guilt of a heavy dish or overeating.

Amanda

I actually made this for breakfast, since I’ve been trying to add more veggies to start off the day. So good, especially reheated – I might top it with scrambled eggs next time.

Je

A hit! My family loved it. So simple to make and uses ingredients already on hand.

Sheri Warren

I made this last weekend. It was amazing! I always like finding new ways to use cabbage. This one is a hit, and I will definitely be adding it to my rotation.

Angie

We made the sauce and put it on rice and steamed veggies. It was delicious!

Heather

My family absolutely loves this recipe. I have three children, two of which are pretty picky eaters and this dinner is always a winner!!! It has become a regular menu item in my house. Thank you for this!

Laura

I recently made this with my mom when home for a visit. Very easy to throw together and so very tasty. We enjoyed it as a main meal, but would also be great as.a side dish.

Elizabeth

Megan, you have done it again! This pad Thai is AHmazing!
We love it so! Even my daughter (10) dives into this beautiful dish. I feel like I am enjoying this from my favorite Thai restaurant from my home kitchen! And the baked tofu is such a wonderful non-fried and easy way to make a fabulous favorite!

Sylvie

I will keep this one with my favorite recipes. Excellent dish, rapid and vegan. Thanks!

Agnė Gerasimavičiūtė

I did not like it:(

Anne Heining

Loved this recipe! I used rice vermicelli noodles and it was delicious – it was maybe a bit dry for my taste so I’ll make more sauce next time and maybe cook everything in sesame oil for an extra nutty flavor but I will definitely be making again!

Alissa

I really like this recipe. I added tofu and broccoli also. It was so easy to make.

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