Pad Thai is the best thing that can happen to a package of rice noodles. It’s not one of the national dishes of Thailand by accident.
Vegetarian Pad Thai
Many Pad Thais are made with fish sauce, not to mention shrimp and possibly other fishy or meaty additions. But if you are a vegetarian – or a vegan – you cannot be banished from the joy of Pad Thai. Solutions must be found.
Substitutions for Vegan Pad Thai
I did a little dive on the internet to find out how to make a solid vegan substation for fish sauce and took pieces and thoughts from a bunch of suggestions. The answer is a combination of water, soy sauce, salt, dried mushrooms, and kombu, if you have it. Click here for the recipe for Vegan Fish Sauce.
If you want a vegan Pad Thai, you’ll also need to leave out the eggs.
What Kind of Noodles for Pad Thai
Don’t use skinny vermicelli-style rice noodles for this dish, get the ones with a fettucine-like cut.
Soaking Rice Noodles
Working with rice noodles is quite easy – all they need is a soak in hot water to soften them up. Read the package directions, because the soaking times vary.
And keep an eye on them when they are soaking; they can go from tender to mushy very quickly. Swish them around so they separate and don’t clump together. And also keep in mind that they will continue to cook and soften when they are added to the other Pad Thai ingredients in the pan, so have them be a bit al dente when you finish soaking them.
Vegetarian Pad Thai: A flavorful and satisfying Pad Thai with plenty of vegetables, and no fish sauce and shrimp.Tweet This
Garnishes for Vegetarian Pad Thai
Top the Pad Thai with the peanuts and bean sprouts, and pass small bowls of additional peanuts, sprouts, and cilantro and red pepper flakes at the table if you’d like.
More Thai Recipes:
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Vegetarian Pad Thai
- 1 pound firm or extra-firm tofu
- 16 ounces rice noodles (fettucine-like cut)
- 4 tablespoons canola or vegetable oil , divided
- 2 red bell peppers , cored seeded and very thinly sliced
- 2 cups shredded carrots
- 2 shallots , chopped
- 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
- 3 tablespoons vegan “fish sauce”
- 3 tablespoons fresh lime juice
- 3 large eggs , lightly beaten (leave out if you want a vegan Pad Thai)
- ¾ cup sliced scallions , both white and green parts
- Red pepper flakes to taste , plus more to serve, if desired
- 3 tablespoons finely chopped roasted peanuts , plus more to serve, if desired
- 1 cup bean sprouts , plus more to serve, if desired
- Fresh cilantro leaves (optional)
- Place the tofu on a flat plate, and cover it with another flat plate. Place a large can of tomatoes or broth, or something fairly heavy on the top of the plate, and let the tofu sit for about 45 minutes. Pour off the water that the tofu will have released from the pressing. Cut the tofu into ½-inch cubes.
- Meanwhile, soak the noodles in a bowl of warm water to cover for 20 minutes until they are soft (or follow package directions). Drain the noodles.
- Heat 2 tablespoons of the oil in a wok or a large skillet over medium high heat. Add the tofu cubes and sauté until they are golden brown on all sides, about 5 minutes. Transfer them with a slotted spoon to a paper-towel lined plate to drain, set them aside, and wipe out the skillet.
- Heat another tablespoon of oil in the skillet over medium-high heat, and sauté the peppers and carrots for 2 minutes, until they start to soften. Transfer them to a paper-towel lined plate to drain, set them aside, and wipe out the skillet. In a small bowl, combine the sugar, 2 tablespoons of the fish sauce, and the lime juice, and set the sauce aside.
- When the noodles have been drained, add the remaining tablespoon of oil to the pan, and heat over medium high heat. Add the shallots, and sauté until tender, about 3 minutes. Add the beaten eggs (if using), and stir until cooked, about 2 minutes. Add the noodles and tofu, and stir to combine and heat through. Stir in the vegetables, scallions, and red pepper flakes, and pour in the sauce. Toss over the heat for a minute, then transfer to a serving dish.
- Top the Pad Thai with the peanuts and bean sprouts, and pass small bowls of additional peanuts, sprouts, and red pepper flakes at the table if you’d like.
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