Pad Thai

Prep Time: 20 minutes Cook time: 40 minutes Serves: 4

This tofu Pad Thai is based on the recipe served by a local Thai restaurant. We use a bit of liquid smoke, which adds a flare familiar to people who have visited Thai restaurants on the West Coast.

This meal contains a variety of vegetables, include onions, dark leafy greens, and carrots, but the sweet, peanut flavor makes for a surprisingly decadent meal. Remember that, in a hurry, frozen vegetables can always be substituted.

Alex: I couldn’t have committed to a plant-based diet if I didn’t have a good Pad Thai option. The sauce recipe was given to me by the owner of a local Thai restaurant. His original recipe contained 1/4 cup of soybean oil and an entire 1/2 cup of sugar, which I’ve omitted.


  • 8 oz soaked pad thai noodles
  • 8 oz tofu, ideally pressed, frozen, and thawed
  • 1 head broccoli, chopped
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 2 carrots, halved and sliced
  • 4 white button mushrooms, sliced
  • 4 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 3-4 stalks cut green onions
  • 2-4 Thai chili peppers, pressed and diced, or 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1/3 cup peanut, crushed
  • 1/4 tsp basil
  • Pad Thai Sauce
  • 1/4 cup soy sauce / tamari
  • 1/4 cup rice vinegar
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1 stalk minced lemon grass or a few squirts of lemon juice
  • 2-4 tbsp raw sugar (Kati: I secretly sneak more in sometimes.)
  • 1 tsp corn starch
  • 1/2 tsp liquid smoke


  1. First preheat oven to 350 for the tofu.
  2. Mix the sauce ingredients in a measuring cup. The sauce will be quite strong, but this is necessary: Rice noodles will absorb a surprising amount of flavor. If the sugar does not mix in well enough, then microwave the container.
  3. Bake the tofu. Tofu has the best texture if it’s frozen ahead of time and then thawed. If you don’t have time to do this, press the tofu for a few minutes between paper towels underneath a book or something else heavy. Slice it into small cubes or triangles. If it wasn’t frozen, a light coating of salt can help draw out moisture during baking. For extra flavor, you can marinate the tofu in the pad Thai sauce overnight, but we seldom do this. (Also, you’ll need to make more sauce.) Put the tofu in the oven. We recommend using tinfoil.
  4. Prepare your vegetables and saute them in a pan using water (or vegetable broth if you prefer). We usually add the ingredients starting with mushrooms, then onions, then broccoli, then carrots, then garlic.
  5. Once the vegetables are finished, pour in the sauce and let it sit.
  6. Remove the tofu from the oven. If you used tinfoil, one easy way to separate the tofu (without tearing it off the tinfoil) is to put it in the freezer for 30 seconds to a minute. The condensation the tofu causes separates it easily. (Alex: When you cook without oil, you learn these tricks quickly!)
  7. Mix the tofu and the noodles with the vegetables, and turn the heat back on medium-high. Mix constantly until the vegetables, tofu, and noodles have absorbed most or all of the sauce.
  8. Top with green onions, basil, and crushed peanut. Serve!

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