Get ready for a taste sensation with this Healthy Pad Thai Recipe using tofu!
Picture this: chewy soba noodles coated in a mouthwatering dance of tamarind tang, lime zing, and a touch of coconut sweetness. Add in golden cubes of tofu, crunchy bean sprouts, and the satisfying crunch of peanuts and fresh coriander on top, and you've got yourself a winner!
This recipe is an ultimate flavor fiesta that comes together in a flash, making it not just delicious but also your new go-to for a quick and healthy meal. It's simple, exciting, and utterly satisfying.
❤️ What's Great About this Recipe
- It's vegan - pure plant-based goodness with a punch of plant protein!
- Quick and Easy - Ready in just 35 minutes, perfect for those busy days! With step-by-step instructions, this pad thai is an easy-to-follow recipe for both beginners and seasoned home cooks.
- Packed with Flavor - Tamarind tang, lime zing, and coconut sweetness in every bite with a harmonious blend of savory, sweet, and citrusy notes.
- Full of interesting Textures - Soba noodles, bean sprouts, and chopped peanuts create a delightful crunch.
- Versatile - Customize with your favorite veggies for added color and nutrition.
- Healthier Twist -Using wholesome ingredients, such as coconut sugar, creates a nutritious powerhouse of a meal, that's both healthy and delicious!
- Meal Prep Friendly - The recipe is ideal for making ahead and enjoying throughout the week.
If you're a fan of thai food, you might also enjoy my recipe for Vegan Peanut Noodles that come with a deliciously zesty, peanut sauce!
Authentic Pad Thai is a much loved Thai street food, created with a harmonious blend of chewy rice noodles, tamarind, lime, and a medley of vibrant flavors. It typically features ingredients like shrimp, scrambled egg, and sometimes chicken, complemented by the crunch of peanuts and bean sprouts.
In this vegan twist, we swap out animal-based proteins for hearty cubes of tofu, maintaining the dish's rich textures and flavors. The tamarind tang, lime zest, and the satisfying crunch of peanuts are all there, creating a delicious combination of flavors that honors the spirit of traditional Pad Thai.
It's a celebration of flavors that's both familiar and refreshingly different, giving you everyone you love about pad thai in every bite.
Drunken Noodles vs. Pad Thai:
Drunken noodles and Pad Thai are like cousins from the Thai cuisine family. While both feature bold flavors, Pad Thai tends to be sweeter with tamarind, while Drunken Noodles bring the heat with basil and chili. It's like choosing between sweet and spicy - either way, you're in for a treat!
🌱 Ingredients & Notes
To make this recipe, you only need a few simple ingredients:
- Noodles - I love using soba noodles for a healthy twist on pad thai - opt for 100% buckwheat soba noodles for a gluten-free option. I usually buy them from my local grocery store but you can easily order soba noodles in bulk online from places like Amazon. For a more authentic version of pad thai, you can also use traditional rice noodles.
- Vegetable Oil - Use your preferred type; I like to use sesame oil for stir fries. Alternatively, you can also use another oil with a high smoke point, such as avocado oil. For a low fat version, use a non-stick skillet and cooking spray.
- Shallots - These add a mild, sweet flavor to the dish.
- Garlic - Because garlic makes everything better, right?
- Firm Tofu - I like to use extra firm tofu for recipes like this healthy pad thai. Press it before cubing for a chewier texture.
- Bean Sprouts - Crunchy goodness and a great source of protein.
- Roasted Peanuts - For that satisfying crunch.
- Fresh Cilantro - It's not just a garnish; it adds a fresh burst of flavor.
- Green Onions - for garnish.
- Lime Wedges - for serving.
For the sauce ingredients:
- Soy Sauce - For flavor depth and an extra umami kick! Replace with coconut aminos, if needed.
- Tamarind Paste - For that authentic Thai tanginess.
- Lime Juice - Freshness is key!
- Coconut Sugar - A healthier sweetener choice. Replace with brown sugar, palm sugar or maple syrup, if you don't have coconut sugar to hand.
For an extra boost of nutrition and freshness, you can add some delicious chopped vegetables to the dish, such as bell pepper, zucchini noodles, extra green onions, finely sliced carrots, broccoli, snap peas, mushrooms, thinly sliced cabbage or even thai chillies for some added heat.
Scroll to the recipe card at the bottom of the post for detailed quantities and measurements.
- Wok or a Large Skillet - A large one for all those delicious ingredients.
- Large Pot - For cooking the soba noodles.
- Wooden Spoon or Spatula - Essential for stirring up the magic.
🧑🍳 Step-by-Step Instructions
- Prepare Soba Noodles: Cook according to package instructions, then set aside.
- Sauté Aromatics: In a heated wok, sauté shallots and garlic until fragrant.
- Tofu Time: Add cubed tofu and cook until golden brown (around 5-7 minutes).
- Flavor Explosion: Mix the pad thai sauce by combining tamarind paste, soy sauce, lime juice, and coconut sugar in a small bowl. Add the sauce to the tofu and stir to coat.
- Noodle Fusion: Add cooked soba noodles, coating them in the irresistible sauce.
- Veggie Boost: Toss in bean sprouts until heated through.
- Garnish and Serve: Top with chopped peanuts and fresh coriander.
Extra tip: if you want to give your cubed tofu a little extra flavor and texture, drizzle a little soy sauce into the pan just as the tofu turns golden brown and briefly toss the tofu cubes to coat them. Cook for roughly 1 minute to lightly caramelize the edges of the tofu, then continue with the recipe as per the instructions.
🍽️ How to Serve
Serve this Vegan Tofu Pad Thai fresh and hot! It's a standalone meal, but you can pair it with a side of lime wedges for an extra citrusy kick.
❄️ Storage Tips
To store, keep leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator. Reheat gently on the stove, adding a splash of water to maintain that perfect texture.
💡 Expert Tips & Tricks
- Tofu Prep - Pressing the tofu before cooking removes excess moisture, giving it a firmer texture.
- Noodle Hack - Run cooked soba noodles under cold water to prevent them from sticking.
- Sauce Adjustment - Feel free to tweak the sauce to your liking. Add a bit more lime juice for extra tang, a drizzle of smooth peanut butter for extra nuttiness or a dash of soy sauce for depth.
- Plant Protein - Swap out tofu for edamame or tempeh, if you like. They both bring a delicious texture and added nutritional punch to the pad thai.
- Vegetables - Don't hesitate to throw in your favorite veggies. Bell peppers, zucchini, or shredded carrots are excellent additions, adding color and nutritional value.
❓ Recipe FAQs
Absolutely! Brown rice noodles or zucchini noodles work great as alternatives.
Not inherently, but feel free to add red pepper flakes for a kick.
Definitely! It reheats well, making it a fantastic meal prep option.
📌 If you love Pinterest you can pin any of the images to your boards!
Here's a handy recipe card that you can print out and keep in your kitchen for easy reference:
📖 Recipe Card
Vegan Pad Thai with Tofu
- 1 large wok or frying pan
- 1 large pot for cooking the soba noodles
- 1 spatula or wooden spoon
- 1 7-oz pack soba noodles 200 g
- 2 tbsp vegetable oil
- 4 shallots thinly sliced
- 4 garlic cloves minced
- 10 oz firm tofu 300g, cubed
- 7 oz bean sprouts 200g
- 1 oz chopped roasted peanuts 30g
- 2 tbsp chopped fresh coriander for garnish
- 1 tbsp green onions for garnish
- fresh lime wedges for serving
For the pad thai sauce:
- 2 tbsp tamarind paste
- 2 tbsp soy sauce
- Juice of 1 lime
- 2 tbsp coconut sugar
- Cook the soba noodles according to the package instructions, then drain and set them aside.
- Heat up a large wok or frying pan over medium heat with some vegetable oil.
- Add the garlic and shallots and cook until they become fragrant, which should take roughly 1-2 minutes.
- Cubed tofu goes in next! Cook it until it starts to brown, which should take about 5-7 minutes.
- Add the tamarind paste, lime juice, and coconut sugar to the pan and stir well for a flavour explosion.
- Add the cooked soba noodles to the pan and stir until they are coated with the mouth-watering sauce.
- Now add the bean sprouts and stir them in until they are just heated through.
- Remove the pan from the heat and garnish your dish with chopped peanuts, fresh coriander and sliced green onions for that extra pop of colour, then you're ready to serve up with a zesty lime wedge on the side.
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