Tofu Pad Thai Recipe {30 Minutes!) - Simply Quinoa (2024)

This fast and easy Tofu Pad Thai recipe comes together in 30 minutes with simple ingredients like rice noodles, lime, peanut butter, and fresh herbs.

Tofu Pad Thai Recipe {30 Minutes!) - Simply Quinoa (1)
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I've always loved pad Thai, and I decided it was time to make a healthier version. This recipe is low on added oils, sweeteners, and thickeners. But let me tell you: it is PACKED with flavor. Lime juice, peanut butter, fish sauce and tamari make a totally delicious sauce that hits all the right notes.

This tofu pad Thai is:

  • Sweet, savory, salty, and acidic
  • Full of protein – but totally vegetarian!
  • Super satisfying, thanks to rice noodles, eggs, and tofu
  • A perfect blend of textures: soft, chewy noodles, creamy egg, crunchy tofu, and peanuts
Tofu Pad Thai Recipe {30 Minutes!) - Simply Quinoa (2)

What's In Traditional Pad Thai?

Traditionally, pad thai is made with rice noodles, some form of protein (often shrimp or chicken), egg, bean sprouts, veggies, and pad thai sauce. Pad thai sauce is what can be kind of tricky to make. It uses tamarind paste, fish sauce, dried shrimp powder, and lime, among other ingredients.

Pad thai is also usually stir-fried in a bunch of oil – typically vegetable oil – which actually makes it not so healthy.

Ingredients in Healthier Tofu Pad Thai

We kept things fairly traditional with the recipe, but I did end up changing up the sauce slightly to use ingredients that might be easier to find.

Here's what you'll need to make healthy tofu pad thai:

  • Rice noodles: I like to use stir fry/pad thai noodles since they have the most classic structure. They soak up the sauce best too.
  • Tofu: to keep this vegetarian, we're using extra firm tofu which I quickly saute first to get a little crust on the outside. If you prefer soft or firm tofu, that's fine!
  • Bean sprouts: I found mung bean sprouts, but any bean sprouts you can find are fine.
  • Carrots: these are the most traditional and I really like them. I end up thinly slicing them. For a fancy effect, you can make super thin slices on a mandolin.
  • Garlic: to give the dish some extra flavor and punch.
  • Green onions: we have thinly sliced about 4 – 5 green onions – they add so much flavor and a nice little pop of color in this mostly brown dish.
Tofu Pad Thai Recipe {30 Minutes!) - Simply Quinoa (3)

Pad Thai Sauce with Peanut Butter

To make the sauce, you'll need:

  • Tamari: I like using a gluten-free tamari because it's a bit more naturally gluten-free (less wheat, more soybeans)
  • Fish sauce: this gives the dish a really unique flavor. If you are vegetarian completely, you can use this vegan fish sauce.
  • Rice vinegar: adding in acid to the sauce really helps to balance the flavor and boost the overall dish.
  • Coconut sugar: pad thai does have some sugar and I like to use palm sugar because it's a little less sweet but has a robust flavor.
  • Peanut butter: to add even more peanut flavor, the peanut butter helps elevate that.

And we're finishing this dish off with some cilantro, chopped peanuts, and red pepper flakes.

Tofu Pad Thai Recipe {30 Minutes!) - Simply Quinoa (4)

How to Make Pad Thai

There are a few things to balance as you're making this dish, but overall, it's super simple to make. Here are the steps to follow:

STEP ONE: The Noodles

Start by cooking your noodles according to the package instructions. While they're cooking you can move onto the next step.

Tofu Pad Thai Recipe {30 Minutes!) - Simply Quinoa (5)

STEP TWO: The Tofu

We'll first quickly saute the tofu. Like you would chicken, we're going to sear the tofu so it has some crispiness.

Tofu Pad Thai Recipe {30 Minutes!) - Simply Quinoa (6)

STEP THREE: The Veggies

Transfer the tofu to a plate and add the pan back to the heat. Then you'll add your veggies and garlic and quickly saute it until they're softened. Push them aside and then cook your eggs.

Tofu Pad Thai Recipe {30 Minutes!) - Simply Quinoa (7)

STEP FOUR: The Sauce

While the veggies are cooking, whisk together your sauce. Should take about 30 seconds.

Tofu Pad Thai Recipe {30 Minutes!) - Simply Quinoa (8)

STEP FIVE: The Whole Dish

And lastly, combine it all together! Add the (drained) noodles, the sauce, the tofu, and our extra goodies. Then serve it up!

What Else to Add to Pad Thai

Feel free to add in more ingredients for added flavor, texture, and nutrition if you'd like!

Here are some easy add-ins to homemade pad Thai:

  • Veggies: feel free to add whichever veggies you want – broccoli, cauliflower, peppers, etc.
  • Protein: not a fan of tofu? Swap out the tofu with chicken, shrimp, scallops, meat, etc.
  • Peanuts: if you don't like peanuts or are allergic, you can swap the peanuts with almonds and almond butter

And if you have anything else you'd like to add, go for it! This dish can be totally your own ❤️

Tofu Pad Thai Recipe {30 Minutes!) - Simply Quinoa (9)

How to Make Pad Thai…Vegan!

And lastly, if you want to make this recipe completely vegan, you can!

Swap the fish sauce with vegan fish sauce. For the egg, just leave it out. Or if you have access to a vegan egg replacement, you can do that as well.

It's super easy, it's healthy and it's absolutely delicious!

Tofu Pad Thai Recipe {30 Minutes!) - Simply Quinoa (10)

More Healthy Thai-Inspired Dishes

  • Quinoa Pad Thai Salad
  • Chicken Pad Thai Quinoa Burgers
  • Almond Butter Thai Quinoa Salad
  • Pad Thai Zucchini Noodle + Quinoa Salad
  • Thai Peanut Chopped Spinach Salad

If you make this Tofu Pad Thai, be sure to let me know what you think with a comment below!

30-Minute Tofu Pad Thai

4.8 from 28 votes

This super easy tofu pad thai recipe takes 30 minutes, is healthy, gluten-free and vegetarian. It tastes like takeout, but without any junk! Made with egg, peanut butter and coconut sugar!

author: Alyssa

yield: 4 servings

Tofu Pad Thai Recipe {30 Minutes!) - Simply Quinoa (11)

Print Recipe Pin Recipe

Prep: 5 minutes minutes

Cook: 25 minutes minutes

Total: 30 minutes minutes


for the noodles:

for the sauce:


  • Begin by cooking the noodles according to the package instructions. Drain once cooked.

  • While the noodles are cooking, cut the tofu into cubes. Heat the oil in a large pan and place the tofu in the pan. Sear for 2 – 3 minutes per side. Once the tofu is seared, transfer it to a plate.

  • Into the same skillet, add the bean sprouts, carrots, and garlic. Cook until the carrots have softened, about 3 minutes.

  • While those are cooking, quickly whisk together the sauce.

  • Once the veggies are done, push them to the side of the pan. Crack both eggs in the pan and scramble them. Combine with the veggies.

  • Add the tofu, drained noodles, green onions, cilantro, lime, pepper flakes, and sauce. Toss to combine.

  • Plate the pad thai and top with additional cilantro, chopped peanuts, sliced hot peppers, and a spritz of lime (if desired). Enjoy!


Serving: 1serving | Calories: 632kcal | Carbohydrates: 104g | Protein: 21g | Fat: 15g | Saturated Fat: 3g | Cholesterol: 82mg | Sodium: 1816mg | Potassium: 597mg | Fiber: 5g | Sugar: 12g | Vitamin A: 6071IU | Vitamin C: 11mg | Calcium: 112mg | Iron: 4mg

cuisine: Thai

course: Entree


Did You Make This Recipe?

Be sure to share a comment and rating to let us know!

Tofu Pad Thai Recipe {30 Minutes!) - Simply Quinoa (12)

Filed Under:

  • Dairy Free
  • Dinner
  • Flexitarian
  • Gluten-Free
  • Quick Recipes
  • Recipes
  • Stovetop
  • Vegetarian
Tofu Pad Thai Recipe {30 Minutes!) - Simply Quinoa (2024)


Does Pad Thai always have tofu? ›

Pad Thai is a Thai noodle stir fry with a sweet-savoury-sour sauce scattered with crushed peanuts. It's made with thin, flat rice noodles, and almost always has bean sprouts, garlic chives, scrambled egg, firm tofu and a protein – the most popular being chicken or prawns/shrimp.

Can I freeze chicken Pad Thai? ›

In order to keep your Pad Thai fresh and contaminant-free, always store it in the fridge or freezer. Remember, even properly stored leftovers have a shelf-life. Pad Thai can typically last for three days in the fridge and can stay safe in the freezer for up to three months.

Is Pad Thai healthy? ›

It can definitely be a part of a balanced, well-rounded diet. While pad thai includes many nutritious ingredients, its sodium content is considerably high. You can reduce its sodium by requesting the eatery go easy on the sauce and salt-contributing condiments.

How to best cook tofu? ›

Step 1: Press extra firm tofu for at least 30 minutes and cut into cubes. Add a small amount of oil to a non-stick skillet and heat over medium high heat. Add tofu to pan and brown on each side for about 1-2 minutes for a total of about 15 minutes.

What is tofu called in Thailand? ›

Regional names
Thai name
Korean name
35 more rows

Should Pad Thai be wet or dry? ›

Real pad thai should be:

Stir-fried in a hot wok, so the noodles come out dry with a little smokiness, not wet.

Does Pad Thai go bad if not refrigerated? ›

To avoid foodborne illnesses, it's crucial to recognize signs of spoilage in Pad Thai. If you notice any off smells, strange textures, or a sour taste, it's best to discard the dish. Never consume Pad Thai that has been left unrefrigerated for more than two hours or shows signs of mold.

Can I eat cold leftover Pad Thai? ›

Leftover Pad Thai and Takeout Noodles

To be safe, always reheat noodles with meat and animal products to a temperature of 165°F or higher in order to kill any outstanding bacteria before eating.

Can you reheat Pad Thai with egg? ›

Reheat the leftover pad thai (or whatever you prefer) with a dash of olive oil on a pan or in the microwave. 2. Beat egg and milk with some salt and pepper. Pour a bit of the egg onto a pan with a bit of oil, to make an omelette slightly thicker than a crepe.

What is the unhealthiest Thai dish? ›

Pad Thai – Sigh…

everyone's favorite dish is probably the worst offender on the Thai restaurant menu. This tasty stir fried noodle dish can pack 700 – 1400 categories in a restaurant serving. The extra calories come from the fact that this dish is made primarily of rice noodles that are then stir fried in oil.

Is Pad Thai junk food? ›

Padthai is a full-energy like fast food(KFC or Mcdonalds) but The nutrients are more complete. It contains a lot of carbs and is high in cholesterol. The cook does add peanuts and sugar to the dish, too. There are a lot of other Thai dishes that are more healthy, indeed.

Can I eat Pad Thai while losing weight? ›

Stir Fried Noodle and rice dishes: Most stir-fried noodle and rice dishes contain oil and simple carbohydrates which are bad for weight loss. And sorry for Pad Thai lovers, you have to cross it out from your favorite Thai food while trying to manage your weight loss diet.

What not to mix with tofu? ›

What to not serve with tofu? According to studies, a high volume consumption of tofu and spinach together can increase your risk of kidney stones. Tofu and spinach contain calcium and oxalic acid respectively and the combined can form kidney stones.

What can I add to tofu to make it taste better? ›

Toss the cubes with olive oil, tamari or soy sauce, and sriracha. If desired, you could also add cornstarch to make the cubes extra crispy. Finally, bake! Transfer the baking sheet to a 425°F oven and cook until the cubes are browned around the edges.

Is it better to fry or bake tofu? ›

Texture: Baking tofu transforms its texture from soft and spongy to firmer and chewier. As the tofu bakes, moisture evaporates, and the tofu becomes denser. This change in texture can be desirable in certain dishes where a meat-like consistency is desired. Crispiness: Baking tofu allows it to develop a crispy exterior.

What does pad thai traditionally have? ›

Pad thai is made with rice noodles, which are stir fried with eggs and chopped firm tofu, flavored with tamarind juice, fish sauce, dried shrimp, garlic, shallots, and sometimes red chili pepper and palm sugar, and served with lime wedges and often crushed roasted peanuts.

Does pad thai usually have soy? ›

It is usually a mixture of fish sauce (condiment made of fish), oyster sauce (made from oyster extract), brown sugar and tamarind (tree seed), but can also include shrimp, garlic, shallots or red chili pepper. Some establishments or chefs may use soy sauce, which is traditionally made by fermenting soybeans and wheat.

Is tofu common in Thai food? ›

Tofu is very common in Thailand and there are many varieties. Depending on how strict you are, you can frequently omit the meat or substitute egg, sea food or different kinds of tofu for meats. While not found in Thailand, Soy-hot dogs make great Thai fried rice.

Does Thai cooking use tofu? ›

Origin of Pad Thai

It was born out of a combination of a rice shortage and Thailand's prime minister wanting to create a national dish. It's traditionally made with rice noodles (which were borrowed from Chinese cuisine), egg, tofu, dried shrimp, and a salty-sweet-sour sauce.


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