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Tofu Pad Thai – Plant-Based on a Budget

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Have a craving for the sweet and spicy flavors of pad thai? This tofu pad thai recipe made with rice noodles, tofu, and a savory-sweet pad thai sauce with just the right amount of heat is sure to set your taste buds alive!

Is Pad Thai Vegan?

Pad thai is a popular dish from Thailand where it’s most commonly served as street food. 

The sauce has a few hidden ingredients that make it unsuitable for vegans including fish sauce and dried shrimp. In addition, the dish may often include eggs, shrimp, and other seafood or meat.

This recipe uses the traditional recipe as inspiration to create a flavorful vegan pad thai sauce that’s cooked with tofu, veggies, and rice noodles with all the sweet, nutty, and spicy flavors you expect a pad thai dish to have.

Why This Recipe Works

  • A quick weeknight dinner solution the whole family loves!
  • More budget-friendly than takeout!
  • Prepared using mostly pantry staple ingredients you might already have in your pantry.

What Goes Into This Recipe

This recipe is great because I find that most of the time I have almost everything to make it in my pantry! Check the list below to see if you do too!

ingredients for Tofu Pad Thai measured out against a light surface

  • Rice noodles: Thin, flat noodles traditionally used to make pad thai.
  • Tamarind paste: Probably the most difficult ingredient to find. If you don’t see it at the grocery store, check out an Asian or Indian market.
  • Base of the sauce: Made with veggie broth, soy sauce, Sriracha and brown sugar.
  • Peanut butter: A quick and easy way to add some sweetness and peanut flavor to the sauce.
  • Extra-firm tofu: The best tofu to use for stir frys. Check out this guide to learn about the different types of tofu.
  • Ginger powder: A quick alternative to fresh ginger. If you prefer fresh ginger, use about one tablespoon of fresh to replace the dried.
  • Garlic cloves: Love the flavor of fresh garlic cloves!
  • Jalapeno: Gives the dish the spiciness you expect from pad thai.
  • Broccoli: Adds some color, crunch and nutrition!
  • Peanuts: Even more peanut flavor and also a nice bit of texture to the pad thai.
See also  How to Make Red Enchilada Sauce

Substitutions

  • Tofu: You can easily leave the tofu out of the dish or swap it for edamame, tempeh or another plant-based protein option.
  • Broccoli: Swap it out with another vegetable such as snow peas, eggplant, cauliflower or zucchini.
  • Rice noodles: While rice noodles are traditionally used to make pad thai, you can also use any other type of noodle you have or prefer.

How To Make Tofu Pad Thai

  • 1) Cook the rice noodles according to the package instructions and set them aside.
  • 2) Mix the tamarind, veggie broth, soy sauce, sriracha, brown sugar, and peanut butter in a small bowl. 

process shot of mixing sauce ingredients together in a bowl

process shot of mixing sauce ingredients together in a bowl

process shot of mixing sauce ingredients together in a bowl

process shot of mixing sauce ingredients together in a bowl

  • 3) Cook the tofu, ginger powder, and garlic in a non-stick skillet sprayed with cooking spray for about 5 to 7 minutes or until the tofu is lightly browned on each side.

process of adding tofu to pan

process of adding ginger and garlic to pan

process of adding spices to pan

  • 4) Add the broccoli and jalapeno to the pan and cook for five more minutes.

process of adding broccoli to pan

process of adding jalapeno to pan

  • 5) Add the peanuts, noodles, and half of the sauce to the pan and cook until the sauce is absorbed.

process of adding peanuts to pan

process of adding noodles to pan

process of adding sauce to pan

  • 6) Slowly add more sauce to the pan until everything is completely coated and starts to thicken.
  • 7) Serve immediately. 

Expert Tips and FAQs

  • Prep all the ingredients before starting to stir fry. The dish goes together quickly and having everything ready makes it so much easier.
  • Don’t overcook the rice noodles when prepping and serve immediately so the dish doesn’t become mushy.

What’s the best way to reheat tofu pad thai?

This dish is truly best eaten when it’s freshly made. If you do have leftovers the best way to reheat them is to return everything to a skillet and heat it over medium-high heat just until hot.

completed tofu pad thai on a plate against a light surface

How to Serve

  • Add some toppings: Bean sprouts, pickled radishes, lime wedges, more chopped peanuts, and even chopped cilantro.
  • Less spicy? Make sure to remove the seeds from the jalapeno or even eliminate it altogether.
  • Serve it up with sliced chilies, red chili flakes, or Sriracha so everyone can make it spicier if they want.
See also  Baked Oats Without Banana | The Picky Eater

More Vegan Thai Recipes

Photos by Alfonso Revilla

completed tofu pad thai on a plate against a light surface

completed tofu pad thai on a plate against a light surface

Tofu Pad Thai

Terrence Paschal

Have a craving for the sweet and spicy flavors of pad thai? This tofu pad thai recipe made with rice noodles, tofu, and a savory-sweet pad thai sauce with just the right amount of heat is sure to set your taste buds alive!

Prep Time 20 mins

Cook Time 20 mins

Total Time 40 mins

Course Dinner

Cuisine Asian

Servings 4 servings

Calories 708 kcal

  • Cook noodles according to package instructions.

  • Mix tamarind, veggie broth, soy sauce, sriracha, brown sugar, and peanut butter in a bowl. Set aside.

  • In a non-stick pan or pan coated with cooking spray, add tofu, ginger powder, and garlic. Cook for 5 to 7 minutes until the tofu is lightly browned on each side.

  • Add jalapeno and broccoli to the pan. Continue to cook for 5 more minutes.

  • Add noodles, peanuts, and ½ of the sauce to the pan. Continue to cook until sauce is absorbed.

  • Slowly add more sauce until everything is completely coated and starts to thicken.

  • Serve immediately.

  • Add some toppings: Bean sprouts, pickled radishes, lime wedges, more chopped peanuts, and even chopped cilantro.
  • Less spicy? Make sure to remove the seeds from the jalapeno or even eliminate it altogether.
  • Serve it up with sliced chilies, red chili flakes, or Sriracha so everyone can make it spicier if they want.

Calories: 708kcalCarbohydrates: 122gProtein: 20gFat: 16gSaturated Fat: 3gPolyunsaturated Fat: 5gMonounsaturated Fat: 7gSodium: 1245mgPotassium: 563mgFiber: 5gSugar: 18gVitamin A: 248IUVitamin C: 27mgCalcium: 109mgIron: 4mg

Disclaimer: Although plantbasedonabudget.com attempts to provide accurate nutritional information, kindly note that these are only estimates. Nutritional information may be affected based on the product type, the brand that was purchased, and in other unforeseeable ways. Plantbasedonabudget.com will not be held liable for any loss or damage resulting for your reliance on nutritional information. If you need to follow a specific caloric regimen, please consult your doctor first.

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