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!!!
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 egg, cabbage, carrots, green onion, and rice noodles. Plus a huge amount of tangy-sweet sauce made with lime juice, tamarind, soy sauce, and miso. Put all that all together and you get quite the flavor explosion, plus a massive amount of yum.
I know, I know, you’re not a huge tofu fan. Guess what – me either! BUT! I think I have 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 the crap out of it. All you need to do is drain the liquid from the box, replace it with fresh water and a 1/4 tsp 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 the tofu and into the saltwater solution. In school they called this osmosis. I will therefore dub this procedure as Tofmosis [tohf-moe-sis]. Brilliant, I know.
But really, it does the trick! Just a quick sear on the stove and you’ve got some seriously edible tofu, which turns into seriously tasty tofu when mixed with the Pad Thai sauce.
I don’t believe this is quite traditional because I added cabbage to the recipe, as well as some interesting ingredients to the sauce. But, 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, in fact, so any 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.
Because a meal like this has so many different parts and things to do, I’ve included a little graphic below that gives you a basic outline of the procedure. My recommendation is to read the instructions below thoroughly so you know exactly, what to do, then scroll back up here while you’re cooking to give you a quick reminder when you need it (click to enlarge). I would like to do this for all my difficult or time consuming recipes, so let me know how you like it! [[PS this took forever, so puhhhleaseee let me know how you like it?]]
If you are gluten free, make sure to use tamari instead of soy sauce. Otherwise this should be fully gluten free. If you are vegan, go ahead and omit the eggs! It is still super delicious, and I totally make it this way. Oh yeah, and did you notice the lack of tofu in the images? Definitely because I remade it to take pictures, and totally forgot to get tofu at the store. But do use the tofu. It’s so good, I promise!
Vegetarian Pad Thai (gf)
A delicious vegetarian pad thai with seared tofu, scrambled eggs, and a tangy-sweet sauce. Makes a giant meal perfect for leftovers! GF with vegan option.
- Prep Time: 1 hour
- Cook Time: 1 hour
- Total Time: 2 hours
- Yield: 6-8 servings
For the sauce:
- 2 Tbsp lime juice
- 3 Tbsp tomato paste
- 6 Tbsp soy sauce*
- 2 Tbsp chili garlic sauce or sriracha
- 2 Tbsp yellow miso
- 2 Tbsp brown sugar
- 1 heaping Tbsp peanut butter
- 1 Tbsp tamarind*
- 1/2 cup water
For the rest:
- 14 or 16 oz rice noodles
- 2 Tbsp vegetable oil, plus more if needed
- 16 oz extra firm tofu
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 4 eggs*
- 4 carrots
- 1 small head cabbage
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- 5 green onions
- 1 cup chopped cilantro
- 8 oz mung beans
- peanuts, for serving
- Drain the tofu, then fill with fresh water and about 1/4 tsp salt. Swish it around a bit to distribute the salt, then let sit for at least 1 hour. Drain and squeeze gently in your hands to remove excess moisture, then cut into 1/2″ cubes.
- Cook the noodles according to package directions, but a minute or two short. You want them almost fully cooked, but not quite.
- Heat the vegetable oil over medium-high heat in a very large skillet. Add the tofu and cook, tossing every couple minutes, until nicely browned on all sides. Add more vegetable oil as necessary. Remove from the pan.
- Cut the cabbage half in half again, then slice the two quarters into thin 1/4″ slices. Slice the green onions and separate the green from the white parts. Use a vegetable peeler (my preference), food processor, or other method to shred the carrots. Add the carrots, the white parts of the green onions, and the cabbage to the now-empty skillet you used to cook the tofu.
- Sautee for about 7 minutes, until everything is softened. While the cabbage mixture cooks, mix together all the ingredients for the sauce. It might be a bit chunky, but just do the best you can.
- Crack the eggs into a bowl and scramble. Cook in a separate pan, tossing often and breaking them into small pieces. Remove to the same plate as the tofu.
- When the cabbage mix is almost done cooking, add the garlic and cook for about 1 minute. Pour the sauce over the top, add the cooked noodles, tofu, and eggs and use tongs to distribute everything evenly – this might take a while!
- When everything is heated through, mix in most of the cilantro, the mung beans, and the green parts of the green onion. Serve with extra cilantro, wedges of lime, and peanuts.
– Use tamari if gluten free.
– Omit eggs in vegan – it’s still super delicious!
– If you can’t find tamarind, use a bit more lime juice, to taste. But do try to find it, because it makes a difference!