Healthier vegan pad thai

4 servings


20 minutes

active time

40 minutes

total time


115 g / 4 oz (7-8) Medjool dates OR maple syrup / sugar (SEE NOTES)

25 g / 2 tbsp peanut butter*

45 ml / 3 tbsp soy sauce or tamari

3 tbsp tamarind concentrate**

½ garlic clove

1 cm / 0.4" fresh ginger (optional)

1 tsp Sriracha (optional)

1 tsp mushroom powder (optional)

½-1 nori sheet (optional)

200 g / 7 oz 3 mm flat rice noodles (medium size)

2 tbsp / 30 ml stir-frying oil (I use rice bran)

100 g / 3½ oz tenderstem or regular broccoli, cut small

1 carrot, cut into matchsticks or sliced

½ red pepper, sliced thinly

1 shallot, diced finely

3 spring onions, white part sliced thinly and green part sliced into 2.5 cm / 1" segments

3 garlic cloves, diced finely

100 g / 1 cup bean sprouts, cleaned

200 g / 7 oz fried / baked tofu, shop-bought or see below

2 tbsp crushed roasted peanuts

fresh lime, to serve

fresh coriander, to serve

30 ml / 2 tbsp soy sauce or tamari, adjust to taste

15 ml / 1 tbsp maple syrup (or sugar)

20-30 ml / 1½-2 tbsp rice wine vinegar

1 garlic clove, minced

1 tsp finely grated ginger

200 g / 7 oz firm tofu, pressed

2 tbsp cornflour / cornstarch


Soak pitted dates in boiling water for 15-30 minutes to soften. If using sugar or maple syrup, see the recipe NOTES.

Put softened dates, peanut butter, soy sauce / tamari, half of the tamarind concentrate and 90 ml / 6 tbsp of water in a blender. Blend until smooth. Taste and add more tamarind according to your taste and the strength of your tamarind. You want a good balance of sweet, salty and sour. The sauce is meant to be intense at this point as it will flavour the rest of the dish.

Optionally, give the sauce more umami by blending in some garlic, ginger, Sriracha, mushroom powder and nori if you have them. Make sure the sauce is silky smooth - add another tablespoon of water if needed. This sauce can be made a few days in advance and refrigerated.

Precook the noodles according to the instructions on the packet (mine needed simmering for 5 minutes), refresh under a cold tap and set aside.

Heat up a wok until smoking lightly, add approx. 10 ml / 2 tsp of oil. Once hot, add broccoli, stir-fry for 1 minute, followed by carrot and red pepper, stir-fry for 1 minute.

Remove vegetables from the wok, heat up a bit more oil and fry shallot, spring onions until lightly charred, add garlic and bean sprouts for the last 60 seconds. Remove from the wok.

Now add in pad thai sauce, followed by the pre-cooked noodles. If you prepared your noodles by soaking them in water for 1 hr instead of simmering, you will certainly need to add more water (about ¼-½ cup) to the wok as your noodles still need to rehydrate a lot before they soften.

Stir-fry the noodles in the sauce until fully softened (try one to make sure), add fried tofu and all of the veggies back into the wok, stir-fry for another 30 seconds to heat up.

Divide between plates, serve with crushed peanuts, fresh lime and a smattering of coriander if liked.

Mix all of the marinade ingredients in a shallow baking dish.

Cut pressed tofu into same size cubes - I went for 1 cm / 0.4" cubes and sit them in the marinade for as long as you can (minimum 1 hr), flipping them to the other side now and again .

Take out of the marinade, dust with cornflour or place in a zip lock bag with cornflour and shake to coat.

Fry in a pre-heated skillet (or wok), in about 15 ml / 1 tbsp (15 ml of oil), flipping the pieces regularly to make sure they brown evenly. You can also bake it in a 180° C / 355° F oven for about 20-25 minutes, turning the pieces over once halfway through the baking time.


Serving Size




Total Fat

15.58 g

Saturated Fat

2.87 g

Unsaturated Fat

12.71 g

Trans Fat

0.01 g


0 mg


1877.79 mg

Total Carbohydrate

81.94 g

Dietary Fiber

5.77 g

Total Sugars

27.54 g


14.7 g

4 servings


20 minutes

active time

40 minutes

total time
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