Vegetable Pad Thai with Fried Tofu

One of my favorite cookbooks for vegan recipes is Thug Kitchen, Eat Like You Give a F#ck! Yep, that’s the name. The cookbook has some controversy around it because the cookbook and (former) blog uses vulgar stereotypes to promote its message. The creators, who turned out to be a young white couple, worked “undercover” until the cookbook became super popular. There was appropriate backlash and so they renamed the blog Bad Manners and rebranded themselves. Regardless of the rough launch, the recipes in the cookbook are full of traditional recipes that are healthier than their originals, and have so much flavor I dare carnivores to see if they miss the meat in them.

This Vegetable Pad Thai with Fried Tofu recipe is adapted from a recipe in the Thug Kitchen cookbook. The sauce is the same recipe from the book however I changed up the toppings and noodle recipe. This is something I do to most recipes simply because I usually have food in the fridge that I need to use up or I may not have an ingredient. There’s usually a good substitution in my kitchen. Never be afraid to alter a recipe… that’s how new recipes and recipe variations are born!

The tofu is very easy to fry so don’t let that stop stop you from making this recipe. I used a tiny bit of oil in the pan to brown the tofu but you could absolutely use no oil if you want to make it oil-free. If you aren’t a fan of tofu instead you can always air-fry or roast some chickpeas that have been tossed in a bit of oil and salt.

Vegetable Pad Thai with Dry-fried Tofu ingredients
Vegetable Pad Thai with Dry-fried Tofu ingredients

I have craved asian take-out lately but Brian and I are not eating foods from restaurants right now due to Covid. This Pad Thai satisfied my craving, was easy to make, the noodles weren’t soggy and I didn’t have to change out of my pajamas to go get it.

I love feedback! If you make this recipe please rate and comment. If you make changes I’d love to know what they were.

Vegetable Pad Thai with Fried Tofu

5 from 8 votes
Recipe by Jackie’s Veggie Kitchen Course: Dinner, Lunch, Vegan, Vegetarian


Prep time


Cooking time



Vegetable Pad Thai with Fried Tofu Ingredients

  • Fried Tofu
  • 1 Tbs. olive oil – or none for dry fried

  • 1 block organic extra-firm tofu

  • Pad Thai Sauce
  • 1/4 cup lime juice

  • 1/4 cup tamari

  • 3 Tbs. water

  • 3 Tbs. date sugar

  • 3 Tbs. tomato paste

  • 3 Tbs. rice vinegar

  • Pad Thai Noodles and Veggies
  • 14 oz rice noodles – I used brown rice and corn noodles because that’s what I had – any noodles will work

  • 1 head broccoli

  • 1/2 sweet onion

  • 4 cloves minced garlic

  • 1 cup sliced green onions

  • 1/4 cup chopped cilantro

  • 2 tsp. cooking oil – I used grapeseed

  • Pad Thai Toppings
  • 2 cups thinly sliced cabbage

  • 1 carrot thinly sliced into matchsticks or shredded thick

  • 1/2 cup chopped peanuts

  • 1 lime cut into wedges

Directions for
Vegetable Pad Thai with Fried Tofu

  • Fry tofu
  • Cut the tofu vertically into 1/4 inch slices. Then cut those slices in half widthwise. You should end up with about 20 pieces. This size will be easy to flip. You will cut them again after frying.
  • Preheat skillet with 1 Tbs. oil (I used a cast iron). Once the oil is hot, add the tofu in a single layer. You can also dry-fry the tofu without oil. Either way, you’ll want the skillet hot enough that the tofu sizzles when it hits the pan.
  • Sprinkle a little salt over the tofu and then, using a spatula, gently press down on the tofu. You will hear the steam escape as you do this. Keep pressing while the tofu toasts. After 3 or 4 minutes the tofu should be golden brown. Flip the tofu pieces, salt and cook the other side the same way.
  • When the tofu is finished frying remove from heat and cut into strips or small squares and set aside for later.
  • Make pad Thai sauce
  • Mix together all the ingredients for the sauce in a small bowl. Set aside.
  • Prepare pad Thai toppings
  • Prepare toppings and set aside.
  • Prepare and cook pad Thai ingredients
  • Chop up the broccoli into bite sized pieces.. Get the rest of your noodle veggies prepared to stir-fry.
  • Cook noodles according to package directions. Rinse in cool water and set aside.
  • Heat the oil over medium heat in a big skillet or wok. When the pan is hot, add the onions and stir-fry until they start to brown.
    Add the broccoli and stir-fry for 3 minutes.
    Add the garlic and stir-fry for 30 seconds.
    Add the noodles and 1/3 cup of the sauce. Toss until everything is coated.
    Fold in the tofu, green onions and cilantro.
  • Assemble Recipe
  • In a large bowl add cabbage, carrots and pad-thai veggie and noodle mixture.
    Add the rest of the sauce, reserving enough to drizzle over the top when serving.
    Mix to combine (I use my hands to do this). Plate each serving.
  • Top with chopped peanuts.
    Drizzle remaining pad Thai sauce over each serving.
    Squeeze 1/4 of a lime over each plate.


  • Add or substitute any vegetable you wish to this recipe. Red cabbage, bean sprouts, cauliflower, mushrooms… you get the idea.
  • You could substitute the fried tofu with fried shrimp, chickpeas or tempeh.
  • Like the sauce with more of a peanut flavor? Add 1 Tbs. peanut butter to the sauce (use a blender). I’d suggest making it without the peanut butter before altering it though because the sauce is amazing as is.

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  1. Danielle Manning (Rosa)

    I’ve been wanting to make pad Thai with spaghetti squash!

  2. Kelly Vazquez

    This looks so delicious!! Can’t wait to give it a try.

    Any chance you have a good recipe for cabbage rolls? I’ve been dying to try a veggie version and would love your take on it!

    • I don’t have a great recipe for vegetarian cabbage rolls but I am working on one. When it’s good enough to share I will post it and let you know. Thanks for the idea… it was just the nudge I needed!
      This recipe is a favorite for sure. Let me know if you make it.

  3. Dennis Schelling

    I made this Pad Thai last night for dinner. The flavors are incredible. Will definitely be making it again. Thank you Jackie for an awesome recipe.

    • Hi Dennis! Thanks for reviewing and rating another recipe! So glad you are enjoying my recipes and the blog. I too love this Pad Thai. I sometimes change it up by adding different vegetables to it.

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