Prep this plant-based recipe in 30 minutes flat.

By By Nicole Crane
Photo: Nicole Crane

There's nothing like ordering Thai on a Sunday night when you're too lazy (and too busy Netflix-and-chilling) to cook. If your takeout habit is taking a toll on your wallet and your diet-or you just want a healthier or vegan option-consider whipping up this vegan pad thai recipe next time you're craving it. (Prefer curry or drunken noodles? Try these other healthy Thai food recipes you can make at home.)

Or-get this-since it makes four to six servings, you can whip it up on a Sunday for a cozy meal, then repurpose the rest as meal-prep dinners for the week. (Here are more healthy meal-prep hacks for cooking for one.)

This take on the classic dish features a hefty helping of rice noodles and antioxidant-rich purple cabbage, carrots, and bell pepper. Skip the chicken, and instead sauté crumbled tofu in a bit of sesame oil to amp up the protein of the recipe. (Also read: 6 Mistakes You're Making When Cooking Tofu)

The star of the recipe, though, is the homemade peanut sauce. You make it by tossing peanut butter, soy sauce, fresh ginger, fresh lime, agave nectar, and a touch of rice vinegar into a food processor. The result: A flavorful sauce you'll honestly want to eat with a spoon (spoken from experience). Have extra? You can also drizzle it on this one-sheet warm Thai salad that's also vegan.

Besides being comforting, filling, and healthier (and cheaper!) than ordering takeout, this vegan pad Thai recipe is also nutritious: One serving provides 85 percent of your vitamin A, 57 percent of your vitamin C, and 32 percent of your calcium for the day.

Yup, your Seamless app is about to get way less action.

Vegan Pad Thai Recipe with Tofu & Peanut Sauce

Makes: 4 to 6 servings


For the noodles:

  • 2 tablespoons sesame oil (divided)
  • 14 oz block extra-firm tofu
  • Salt & pepper to taste
  • 1 cup purple cabbage
  • 1 red bell pepper
  • 2 green onions + optional 1 more for serving
  • 2 large carrots
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 12 oz rice noodles
  • Lime wedges for serving
  • 1/2 cup dry roasted salted peanuts for serving

For the peanut sauce:

  • 1/2 cup creamy peanut butter
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • Juice from 1 lime
  • 2 teaspoons rice vinegar
  • 1-inch piece of fresh ginger, grated
  • 1 tablespoon agave nectar


  1. Heat 1 tablespoon sesame oil in a large skillet. Drain water from tofu container, and gently squeeze out any excess water from block of tofu.
  2. Transfer tofu to a cutting board and use a fork or your hands to mash tofu block into crumbles. Place tofu in skillet, sprinkle with salt and pepper, and cook around 10 minutes until lightly browned, often stirring mixture with a spatula. Set tofu aside.
  3. While tofu is cooking, slice purple cabbage, bell pepper, and green onions, and shred carrots. Mince garlic cloves. Grate ginger (or cut into tiny pieces) and chop peanuts. Set ginger aside for peanut sauce. Set peanuts aside for garnish.
  4. Once tofu is done (it should be warmed through, and browned slightly), set aside. Heat remaining sesame oil in the skillet. Add garlic and cook for 2 minutes until lightly browned. Add cabbage, pepper, carrots, and green onions, and cook until veggies are tender, about 8 minutes.
  5. Meanwhile, boil a pot of water and cook the rice noodles according to directions. Once they're cooked to desired tenderness, drain noodles and rinse with cool water.
  6. To make peanut sauce, place all of the ingredients in the food processor. Pulse until smooth and creamy.
  7. Once veggies are done cooking, add tofu into the skillet. Transfer rice noodles into the skillet, and pour peanut sauce on top. Toss to combine well.
  8. Dish out the pad Thai into bowls and top each with crushed peanuts, extra sliced green onion, and lime wedges.

Nutrition facts per 1/6 of recipe: 530 calories, 23g fat (4g saturated), 63g carbs, 6g fiber, 6g sugar, 18g protein

Comments (1)

February 21, 2019
Sounds good but . . . You don’t list the AMOUNT of rice noodles. Please include that. Thx!