Gluten-Free Veggie-Packed Pad Thai with Seared Tofu

I am so excited to share this recipe with you guys! For a few reasons:

  1. It makes a giant meal.
  2. It’s rather easy, even if it does take a while.
  3. It’s pad thai!!!

A close of a bowl of vegetarian pad thai noodles with seared tofu.

Do I even need to say anything else?!

Okay, fine, I will. This vegetarian pad thai recipe is super duper delicious.

It’s got seared cubes of tofu, yummy scrambled eggs, cabbage, carrots, green onions, and rice noodles. Plus, a huge amount of a tangy-sweet sauce made with lime juice, tamarind, soy sauce, and miso. Put that all together, and you get quite the flavor explosion, and a massive amount of yum.

Vertical image of two bowls of an assorted vegetable dish with chopsticks.

I know, I know. You might not be a huge tofu fan. Guess what – me neither! BUT! I’ve figured out the best way to prepare it, and it doesn’t involve any weird contraptions or piles of cookbooks and canned beans to press it down.

Vertical top-down image of two dishes and a cup of brown liquid and chopsticks.

All you need to do is drain the liquid from the box, replace it with fresh water and a little salt, and let it sit for an hour, or up to 8 hours. I have no idea why this works, but my gut tells me the salt draws the gross-tasting water out of it and into the saltwater solution.

In school, they called this osmosis. I will therefore dub this procedure Tofmosis (tohf-moe-sis).

Brilliant, I know.

Vertical image of a bowl of white noodles in a white bowl on a green patterned napkin.

But really, it does the trick! Just a quick sear on the stove and you’ve got some seriously edible protein, which turns into a seriously delicious addition to this meal when mixed with my sauce.

Vertical image of a hand holding chopsticks with two dishes and a jar of brown sauce.

I like to sneak in as many veggies as I can, even when making a traditionally not-so-healthy dish. The cabbage is kind of noodle-like, so any of the cabbage-averse out there probably won’t even notice it. It happens to be one of my favorite veggies to cook with, so I am stoked to add it wherever possible.

Ready to get cooking? Try the recipe below!

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Horizontal image of a white bowl of a noodle dish with a patterned napkin.

Gluten-Free Vegetarian Pad Thai


  • Author: Raquel Smith
  • Prep Time: 30 minutes
  • Cook Time: 1 hour
  • Total Time: 1 hour 30 minutes
  • Yield: 6-8 servings
  • Category: Thai
  • Method: Stir-Fry, Stovetop
  • Cuisine: Vegetarian

Description

A tasty, veggie-packed pad thai with seared tofu, scrambled eggs, and a tangy-sweet sauce. Makes a giant meal that’s perfect for leftovers!


Ingredients

For the Sauce:

  • 2 tablespoons lime juice
  • 3 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 6 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons chili garlic sauce or Sriracha
  • 2 tablespoons yellow miso
  • 2 tablespoons light brown sugar
  • 1 heaping tablespoon creamy peanut butter
  • 1 tablespoon tamarind paste
  • 1/2 cup water

For the Main Dish:

  • 16 ounces extra firm tofu
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 16 ounces rice noodles
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil, plus more if needed
  • 1 small head cabbage
  • 5 green onions
  • 4 carrots
  • 4 eggs
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 cup chopped cilantro, divided
  • 1/2 cup mung bean sprouts
  • 1/2 cup chopped peanuts
  • 2 limes, cut into wedges

Instructions

For the Sauce: 

  1. In a medium bowl, whisk together all of the ingredients for the sauce and set aside. 

For the Main Dish:

  1. Remove the tofu from the packaging and discard the liquid. Fill a large bowl with fresh water and stir in about 1/4 teaspoon of salt. Add the tofu and let sit for at least 1 hour, or 8 hours in the fridge.
  2. Drain and squeeze gently with your hands to remove any excess moisture, then cut into 1/2-inch cubes.
  3. Cook the rice noodles according to package directions, but remove them from the water about 2 minutes before recommended. You want them to be al dente, almost fully cooked, but not quite. They will continue to cook in a later step.
  4. Heat the vegetable oil over medium-high heat in a large skillet or wok. Add the tofu and cook, tossing every couple of minutes, until browned on all sides. Add more vegetable oil as necessary. Remove from the pan.
  5. Quarter the cabbage, remove the core, then cut into thin 1/4-inch slices. Thinly slice the green onions, separating the green from the white parts. Peel and shred the carrots with a vegetable peeler or food processor.
  6. Add cabbage, the white parts of the scallions, and the shredded carrots to the skillet you used to cook the tofu. Saute for about 6 minutes over medium heat, until everything is nearly cooked through. Add the garlic, stir, and continue to cook for 1 more minute.
  7. Crack the eggs into a bowl and beat together. Cook in a separate frying pan coated with vegetable oil, stirring often and breaking them into small pieces. Set aside.
  8. Pour the sauce over the top, add the cooked noodles, tofu, and eggs. Use tongs to distribute everything evenly.
  9. When everything is heated through, mix in most of the cilantro, the mung beans, and the green tops of the scallions. Serve with extra cilantro, peanuts, and lime wedges.

Keywords: Thai, vegetarian, pad thai, rice noodles, tofu

Veggie-Packed Noodles

Filled with vegetables and a bunch of other flavorful ingredients, my pad thai is a recipe that will entice and delight with every fun bite!

Horizontal image of a white bowl of a noodle dish with a patterned napkin.

If you are gluten-free, make sure to use tamari instead of soy sauce. If you are vegan, go ahead and omit the eggs. It is still super delicious, and I totally make it this way.

Did you notice the lack of tofu in the images? This is definitely because I remade it to take pictures, and totally forgot to get tofu at the store. But do use it. It’s so good, I promise!

Let me know how it turns out for you in the comments below, and be sure to give the recipe a rating to let other readers know how much you enjoyed it.

Photos by Raquel Smith, © Ask the Experts, LLC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. See our TOS for more details. Originally published on February 23, 2015. Last updated: August 3, 2018 at 17:13 pm. With additional writing and editing by Nikki Cervone.

Nutritional information derived from a database of known generic and branded foods and ingredients and was not compiled by a registered dietitian or submitted for lab testing. It should be viewed as an approximation.

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About Raquel Smith

Raquel is a whole foods enthusiast, an avid mountain biker, and a dog lover. She works by day at Food Blogger Pro and formerly maintained her food blog "My California Roots" (now being merged into Foodal).

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