Learn how to make vegetarian Pad Thai – the vegetarian version of popular Pad Thai rice noodles from Thailand.
Pad Thai is a great example of the balance of textures and flavours in a single dish, something Thai cuisine handles so well. While I make vegetable noodles quite often for a quick dinner, this is a Thai noodles recipe and so requires a bit more preparation and planning for me. Once you buy the basic ingredients like soya sauce, it should get a lot easier to make some impromptu for a weeknight dinner.
I have said this many times but it’s worth repeating – TH and I love Thai food and in the years we spent in Singapore and in Sydney, we often crave a good Thai meal and seek out restaurants that serve vegetarian Thai dishes. In our quest to find a repeat-worthy pad thai and drool-worthy green curry, many restaurants have come and gone through our list of to-eat places. In spite of my love for Thai food, I have not ventured much into cooking my own except for the vegetarian tom kha soup I made ages ago and more recently, vegetarian green curry paste and Thai green curry recipe with vegetables.
I can’t think of why it took me so long to plunge into the world of Thai cooking. The ingredients were most readily available in Singapore (except Thai basil which for some reason always remained elusive) and there’s a great Thai grocery store I frequent in Sydney too. So it’s not the ingredients, I just felt I didn’t know where to start.
So to solve this, I attended this lovely vegetarian Thai cooking class in Bangkok – at May Kaidee’s. A morning well spent. The class was intimate with just 3 of us, very hands-on, and taught more things than they promised. We came back stuffed, happy, and all set to make our own tom yum paste and green curry paste from scratch.
This pad thai recipe is adapted from what we learnt in class. I had to make do with the Thai soya sauces available in Sydney so the brands and type are a bit different. I felt like everything we made in class was absolutely delicious and this pad thai (this is my third attempt at making it near-perfect) was pretty close to the real deal.
An important note – if you want to make great Thai food at home, it’s important you buy the right ingredients. Soya sauce is a key piece of this so I’d advice you use a Thai brand. The healthy boy brand is popular and heavily exported so hopefully you can find it where you live. Here’s a picture above of what I bought.
Vegetarian Pad Thai Recipe
- 200 grams flat narrow rice noodles
- 1 tablespoon peanut oil or any oil you have in hand
- 1 cup julienne vegetables carrots, beans, red onions
- 1/4 cup cubed tomato or 1 small tomato
- 1 teaspoon minced garlic
- 1 egg
- 1.5 tablespoon Thai soy sauce dark or light is fine
- 1/4 cup bean sprouts
- 1 tablespoons roasted crushed peanuts
- 1 teaspoon red chilli flakes
- 2 tablespoons mix chopped spring onion and coriander leaves
- 1/2 lime juiced
- 1/2 teaspoon sugar
- First important step is to prep and keep all your ingredients ready. Then it’s just a matter of adding everything in one by one.
- Prepare the noodles per packet instructions. Mine were instant noodles so I had to immerse the noodles in boiling water for 3 mins and transfer to a colander to drain the remaining water.
- Heat oil in a wok and add the garlic, onions, carrot, beans, and tomatoes.
- Saute on high heat until the vegetables are beginning to turn soft. Lower heat.
- Push the vegetables to the side of the wok and break the egg in, if using. Let it cook for a bit and then lightly scramble it without making the pieces too tiny.
- Add the cooked noodles and mix well to incorporate.
- Increase heat to high and add the soya sauce and sugar.
- Saute to combine well. Then throw in the spring onions and coriander leaves, bean sprouts, peanut powder, and chilli flakes.
- Mix again until the noodles and the vegetables look combined and cooked through.
- Turn off the flame and squeeze the lime juice.
- Add more coriander leaves for garnish and mix again.
- All done! Serve pad thai noodles hot for best flavour.
- The flavours in pad thai noodles are largely determined by personal taste so don’t be afraid to experiment. Add and subtract ingredients till you find your personal balance in flavour
- Make sure to buy the right kind of ingredients for best results
Step by Step Vegetarian Pad Thai Recipe
Prepare the rice noodles following packet instructions. Mine were instant noodles so I just needed to soak it in boiling water and drain. Set this aside.
Heat oil in a wok and add the garlic, onions, carrot, beans, and tomatoes.
Saute on high heat until the vegetables are beginning to turn soft. Then lower heat before the next step.
Push the vegetables to the side of the wok and break the egg in, if using. Let it cook for a bit and then lightly scramble it without making the pieces too tiny.
Add the prepared noodles and mix thoroughly
Increase heat and add soya sauce and sugar
Then add bean sprouts,
chilli flakes, peanut powder,
and coriander leaves / spring onion. Mix everything well to incorporate and drizzle more oil if needed. Serve hot with more chilli and peanut powder on the side!