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Easy Vegan Pad Thai

This Vegan Pad Thai is so much better than takeout, with a nut-free sauce and fresher take on ingredients. It’s from OG vegan cookbook author, Dreena Burton, and is vegan, gluten-free, nut-free, and absolutely delicious!

vegan pad thai  with tofu on white plate and wooden tabletop
Photo Credit: Dreena Burton

Recipe by: Dreena Burton

The recipe featured here is called Awakened Pad Thai from Dreena’s book, Dreena’s Kind KitchenPublished with permission.

Personally, I absolutely love veggie pad thai, and when you add in tofu, it’s fabulous. This is a dish I would gladly eat for any meal…even breakfast.

This recipe is nut-free, so those without nut allergies might also want to try my Vegetable Stir Fry with Rice Noodles & Peanut Sauce. There are lots of other options on our Stir Fry Vegetables page.

Ingredients needed

Loaded with fresh vegetables, pasta, and warm spices, this dish is sure to please even the pickiest eaters.

  • Pasta- Pad Thai Rice noodles are my pick for this recipe, and Dreena says the thinner stick or vermicelli noodles work well too.
  • Veggies- Fresh vegetables like carrots, green onions, zucchini, bell pepper, and cabbage.
  • Sauce- Made with pumpkin seeds, ginger, tamari (or soy sauce), lime juice, tahini, and rice vinegar, the sauce is what makes this dish so delicious.
  • Toppings- Fresh cilantro and lime wedges top this dish off.

The recipe card at the bottom of the page has the full list of ingredients with measurements and instructions.

Is pad thai vegan?

Traditionally, it’s not vegan because it normally uses fish sauce or oyster sauce as a flavoring. However, in this version, Dreena uses a combination of fresh ingredients like ginger, pumpkin seeds, tamari, and tahini to get the perfect flavor that is completely vegan.

What are the noodles made of?

There are only two ingredients in traditional pad thai noodlesrice and water. That means they are completely gluten-free, oil-free, and vegan.

Though other types of noodles can be used to make this dish, I am of the opinion that you really can’t beat the classic pad thai rice noodles.

black bowl with uncooked pad thai rice noodles on white background

How to make vegan pad thai

In a blender, combine all the sauce ingredients, starting with about half of the water. Blend until the seeds are fully processed and the sauce is smooth. Add the remaining water and puree again. Set aside.

vitamix with vegan alfredo sauce overhead

Cook the noodles according to package directions. Once just tender or even before fully tender, drain and rinse briefly under cold water. Do not overcook or they will become mushy.

rice noodles draining in white colander

Heat a large pot over high heat. Put in the carrots, white parts of the green onions, zucchini, red pepper, and salt. Toss for a minute in the hot pan to begin to sear.

Reduce the heat to medium-low, add the sauce and cooked noodles, and toss until the noodles are heated through and coated evenly with the sauce.

Add the drained and pressed tofu, cabbage, cilantro, and the green parts of the green onions. Toss just to heat through.

Serve immediately with lime wedges, extra hot sauce, and extra cilantro if desired.

pad thai in black bowl on dark background with chopsticks

Sugestions and add-ins

  • Hot sauce- Even if you love hot sauce, start with a modest amount. There is a good kick in the sauce from the ginger and garlic, so it’s best to just use a dash of hot sauce and then adjust when finishing the dish.
  • Serving tip- Try warming your bowls in the oven or toaster oven on very low heat (175-200°F) for 5 minutes or more before serving up pasta to help your meal stay warm longer.
  • Add-ins- Try adding in things like bean sprouts and crushed peanuts to make this dish even more flavorful. Top with a few red pepper flakes for more spice if desired.
wooden dish with pad thai toppings of bean sprouts, peanuts, green onions, cilantro

More Thai-Inspired Recipes

About the Chef

dreena burton on the cover of her new book
Dreena’s Kind Kitchen

Dreena Burton is the OG vegan cookbook author. Vegan for over 25 years, Dreena is also a mom to three daughters, all raised on a plant-based diet. Author of six vegan cookbooks, her newly released Dreena’s Kind Kitchen just won the world’s first vegan cookbook award.

Dreena has also collaborated with renowned plant-based physician Dr. Barnard on The Cheese Trap and coauthored their most recent Cookbook for Reversing Diabetes. Dreena’s recipes have been featured with groups including PCRM, Forks Over Knives, Blue Zones, and The Food Network. Connect with Dreena’s online kitchen and community on her website.

Another recipe from Dreena’s book to check out is her Marinara Sauce with Fresh Tomatoes.

For those of you new to the whole food plant-based lifestyle, we’ve created a FREE 7-Day Plant-Based Menu Planner to help you get started!

This post may contain affiliate links. Read my full disclosure here.

If you try this recipe, please let us know how you like it by rating it and leaving a comment. We love to hear from you!

vegan pad thai on white plate and wooden tabletop

Easy Vegan Pad Thai

Yield: 3 servings
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 35 minutes

This Vegan Pad Thai is so much better than takeout, with a nut-free sauce and a fresher take on ingredients. It's from OG vegan cookbook author, Dreena Burton, and is absolutely delicious!

Ingredients

Sauce

  • 1/3 - 1/2 cup water
  • 1/4 cup tamari (or soy sauce if not gluten-free)
  • 3 tablespoons pumpkin seeds
  • 1 tablespoon tahini
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
  • 2 tablespoons tamarind concentrate (or 1 tablespoon ketchup plus 1 tablespoon rice vinegar)
  • 3 tablespoons coconut sugar or date sugar
  • 1 tablespoon peeled and roughly
  • chopped fresh ginger
  • 2-3 cloves garlic sliced or chopped
  • Dash hot sauce (see note)

Pasta & Veggies

  • 8 ounces dry rice noodles such as stick or vermicelli noodles
  • 1 cup carrot matchsticks
  • 4 green onions sliced, white and green parts separated
  • 1/2 cup thinly sliced zucchini
  • 1/2 cup very thinly sliced red bell pepper
  • Pinch salt
  • 1 cup cubed extra-firm tofu about half of a 12-ounce package (drained & pressed)
  • 1 cup shredded or thinly sliced red cabbage or napa cabbage
  • 1/3 cup chopped cilantro plus more for serving
  • 4 lime wedges
  • Hot sauce for serving

Instructions

  1. In a blender, combine all the sauce ingredients, starting with about half of the water. Blend until the seeds are fully processed and the sauce is smooth. Add the remaining water and puree again. Set aside.
  2. Cook the noodles according to package directions. Once just tender or even before fully tender, drain and rinse briefly under cold water. Do not overcook or they will become mushy.
  3. Heat a large pot over high heat. Put in the carrots, white parts of the green onions, zucchini, red pepper, and salt. Toss for a minute in the hot pan to begin to sear.
  4. Reduce the heat to medium-low, add the sauce and cooked noodles, and toss until the noodles are heated through and coated evenly with the sauce.
  5. Add the drained and pressed tofu, cabbage, cilantro, and the green parts of the green onions. Toss just to heat through.
  6. Serve immediately with lime wedges, extra hot sauce, and extra cilantro if desired.

Notes

The recipe featured here is called Awakened Pad Thai from Dreena’s book, Dreena’s Kind KitchenPublished with permission.

Sugestions and add-ins

  • Hot sauce- Even if you love hot sauce, start with a modest amount. There is a good kick in the sauce from the ginger and garlic, so it’s best to just use a dash of hot sauce and then adjust when finishing the dish.
  • Serving tip- Try warming your bowls in the oven or toaster oven on very low heat (175-200°F) for 5 minutes or more before serving up pasta to help your meal stay warm longer.
  • Add-ins- Try adding in things like bean sprouts and crushed peanuts to make this dish even more flavorful. Top with a few red pepper flakes for more spice if desired.

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Nutrition Information:
Yield: 3 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 272Total Fat: 9.5gTrans Fat: 0gCholesterol: 0mgCarbohydrates: 37.8gFiber: 2.6gSugar: 9.8gProtein: 12.4g

To obtain the most accurate representation of the nutritional information in a given recipe, you should calculate the nutritional information with the actual ingredients used in your recipe, using your preferred nutrition calculator. You are solely responsible for ensuring that any nutritional information provided is accurate, complete, and useful.

Did you make this recipe?

Please rate and leave a comment because I love hearing from you. Remember SHARING IS CARING!

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Char

Friday 8th of April 2022

In the directions it says to blend until seeds are thoroughly processed. Does that mean you can use sesame seeds stead of tahini. If so how many seeds? I have sesame seeds but no tahini!

Terri Edwards

Saturday 9th of April 2022

Hi Char- When Dreena mentions blending the seeds in the directions, she is talking about the pumpkin seeds in the sauce. I'm sure you could make your own tahini using the sesame seeds that you have. I haven't personally made my own tahini, but you should be able to Google it. Just leave out any oil if it's called for. Good luck!

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