The fella and I love ordering Thai takeout, but since going vegan it is a lot trickier. It’s impossible to know what they really use in those kitchens and not always easy to ask. With that in mind, I looked up some Pad Thai recipes to try at home. I took my favorite parts of all the recipes I found, tweaked here and there, and this was the result!
Recipe: Vegan Tofu and Veggie Pad Thai
For the sauce
1 TBS tamarind concentrate
2 TBS water
3 TBS raw sugar
2 TBS rice vinegar
Cayenne Pepper to taste
¼ cup vegan fish sauce (you can buy this or make your own)
1 TBS tahini
¼ tsp red pepper flakes
For the rest:
1 package wide rice noodles
1 block extra firm tofu, diced
1/3 cup cornstarch
Oil for frying (or you can bake or air fry tofu)
1 shallot, minced
3 cloves of garlic, minced
2 cups bean sprouts
1 cup carrots, peeled and cut into thin strips
1 red pepper, cut into thin strips
1 zucchini with seeds removed, cut into thin strips
4 scallions sliced thinly
¼ cup fresh cilantro, minced
1/8 cup dry roasted peanuts
Lime wedges to garnish
The vegan “fish” sauce: I didn’t see this item at my grocery store, so I made my own. I boiled 3 cups of water with a tablespoon of sea salt, 2 tablespoons low sodium soy sauce, and one ¼ oz packet of dried shiitake mushrooms for about 30 minutes. Strain out the mushrooms so you’re left with only liquid and there you have it!
Mac Hack: Make more than you need. It will keep in the fridge in a sealed container for up to two months and adds a delicious umami flavor to any recipe.
To make the sauce, simply whisk together all ingredients and set aside.
Cook the rice noodles according to package instructions until soft but not mushy. Drain and set aside.
Place tofu on paper towels and press to remove moisture. Replace with dry paper towels and allow to drain for at least 10 more minutes.
Dredge tofu in corn starch.
-If you choose to fry the tofu, heat a few tablespoons of vegetable or canola oil in a nonstick skillet. Add tofu and then fry until crisp, turning to brown all sides. Remove to a paper towel-lined plate and season with salt and pepper.
-If you want to air fry, spritz the tofu with a thin coating of oil and air fry until crisp
Wipe pan clean and return to medium heat. Sautee carrots, pepper, and zucchini in (in oil or vegetable broth) until they start to soften. Add shallot and garlic and continue to cook until fragrant. Whisk sauce to recombine and add to skillet with vegetables. Add rice noodles, tossing to coat. Add tofu and bean sprouts and toss to coat. Once tofu is warmed through and noodles are tender, remove from heat. Garnish with fresh cilantro and peanuts. Serve with lime wedges on the side.
Playing around: Add chili paste, extra pepper flakes or cayenne, or your favorite minced hot pepper to sauce if you like things extra spicy. I picked my favorite vegetables, but you could also do broccoli, mushrooms, or your favorite seasonal veggies.
Hope you enjoy this as much as I did! I ate the leftovers for DAYS!!!