Vegetable Pad Thai with Marinated Tofu?! As I'm writing up this post, I feel like I have to make some...AGAIN. My love for a good Veggie Pad Thai is really more like an obsession. I'm one of those people that ONLY orders a Pad Thai at restaurants begging them to make it vegetarian and without fish sauce. They say Pad Thai doesn't really have the authentic taste without the fish sauce. Well, for us vegans and vegetarians to omit the fish sauce, we have to find what works. And sometimes the Pad Thai served is amazing but sometimes, it just isn't the best. So, this is why we learned to make some at home! Everyone likes their Pad Thai a little differently but a good veggie Pad Thai is just a good veggie Pad Thai...you know what I mean?!
I love to pack mine with veggies and tofu for added nutrients and protein. I also don't always have bean sprouts on hand. And to be completely honest, they're too expensive to buy at the stores that have them available close by. That's when I utilize some homemade mung sprouts (never made by me and always made by my mother-in-law!).
Here's what goes into my Vegetable Pad Thai with Marinated Tofu:
- Rice Noodles: These work really well! I've found that I also love my Pad Thai made with thinner rice noodles.
- Veggies: I like to use bell peppers (packed with VITAMIN C!), sugar snap peas, broccoli, carrots, and onions. Really, you can get creative and use a variety of vegetables to make it packed with nutrients.
- Marinated tofu: you really don't HAVE to marinate it but I think it adds a little extra flavor to the dish! I saute mine in a skillet but you can also bake it!
- Some Pad Thai sauce that includes:
- Tamarind concentrate can be found at any Asian grocery stores. I like to use this one. I always have this on hand because I like to eat my 5-Minute Sweet Tamarind Chutney with Indian snacks.
- Ginger garlic paste: I make this at home using 6 cloves of garlic and about 2 inches of ginger. Any extra leftovers can be refrigerated or frozen!
- Brown sugar: this really makes the sweet and savory flavor and gives the dish it's perfect stickiness!
- Topping Options: Lime, cilantro, peanuts, extra sriracha, sprouts of your liking!
I like to marinate the tofu ahead of time but really, you need about 20 minutes for the flavors to soak in. So marinate the tofu, then whip up your Pad Thai so it's all done in 30ish minutes!
Let me know if you love Pad Thai as much as I do! I hope you love this recipe and enjoy making it your own!
Many dishes, such as this one, contain a lot of sodium. Something to keep in mind about sodium is that it is an essential mineral for your body but too much can be a problem. Why should you worry about salt? Because it can lead to hypertension which can then cause heart disease, stroke, kidney disease, and poor bone health. American Heart Association recommends no more than 2,300 milligrams a day for healthy adults which is only about 1 teaspoon of salt! Always read your labels when purchasing packed foods!
Vegetable Pad Thai with Marinated Tofu
- 1 Package (14 Oz.) Extra Firm Tofu
- 1 Tsp Ginger Garlic Paste; *see notes below
- 2 Tbsp Soy Sauce; low sodium
- 1 Tbsp Rice Vinegar
- 1 Tsp Sriracha
- 1 Tbsp Oil; for cooking the tofu
Pad Thai Sauce
- 2 Tsp Tamarind Concentrate
- 3 Tbsp Soy Sauce; low sodium
- 3 Tbsp Brown Sugar; You may use just 2 Tbsp if you would like your noodles to be more savory than sweet.
- 8 Oz. Rice Noodles
- 1 Tbsp Oil; olive or sesame works great
- 1 Tbsp Ginger Garlic Paste; *see notes below
- 1 Small Red Onion; sliced
- ½ Cup Broccoli Florets
- 1 Small Red Bell Pepper; sliced
- 1 Small Green Bell Pepper; sliced
- ½ Cup Carrots; julienned
- ½ Cup Snap Peas
- ½ Cup Cilantro; chopped
- 1 Tbsp Oil
- ½ Lime
- Peanuts; optional
For the Marinated Tofu
- Press the tofu by wrapping it in an absorbent towel and placing something heavy on it to remove excess water. Do this for at least 20 minutes, the longer the better. Try to get as much water out as you can for a crispy tofu with a chewy center.
- While the tofu is pressing, in a small container with a lid, prepare the marinade for the tofu by mixing the ginger and garlic paste, rice vinegar, soy sauce, and sriracha.
- After the tofu is pressed and most of the water is squeezed out, cube the tofu and place in the medium container with the marinade. Close the lid and shake the container so the tofu is coated. Marinate the tofu for at least 20 minutes. The longer the better! I like to prepare mine the day before for more flavor but it also works great if you start marinating it while you prepare the Pad Thai.
- Prepare the Pad Thai while the tofu is marinating. Once the tofu is ready, heat oil in a skillet over medium heat. Once hot, add the marinated tofu. Sauté on high heat for about 5-10 minutes, flipping occasionally to cook on all sides, until tofu has browned on each side.
For the Sauce
- In a small bowl, combine the tamarind, soy sauce, and brown sugar. Set aside for later.
For the Pad Thai
- Cook the rice noodles according to the package.
- Heat oil on medium-high heat. Add the onions and ginger garlic paste and cook for 1-2 minutes. Add the broccoli, red bell pepper, green bell pepper, and carrots and cook for about 5 minutes. Be careful to not let them get soggy. Add the snap peas last and cook for about 1 minute.
- Add prepared noodles and marinated tofu to the veggies and toss with tongs for about one minute.
- Pour the pad thai sauce over the vegetables and noodles and cook for about 2 minutes until it thicken and sticks to the noodles.
- Remove from heat. Sprinkle peanuts, cilantro, squeeze the lime, and serve immediately.
- To make fresh paste you may use 6 cloves of garlic to 2 inches of ginger. You can use a mini food processor or if you want to go old fashioned a mortar and pestle can also work. Keep extra in the fridge for about a week or in the freezer for 3-4 months. When grinding, don't add any water. If you feel you need some liquid, use oil as it can help preserve it if you're storing extra.
- Don't cook the sauce and noodles for too long otherwise it gets too sticky!
- I have made this using whatever vegetables I have on hand it turns out great.
- Bean sprouts aren't always easily accessible so using homemade mung sprouts is a great alternative.
- I've also just pan fried the tofu without marinating it and it turns out great if you're short on time or just feeling lazy! 🙂