Rainbow Vegetarian Pad Thai with Peanuts and Basil

167 reviews / 4.5 average

Fast and easy? Adaptable? Simple? Delicious? That’s this vegetarian pad thai.

Once again, NOODLES.

Here we are again, just me and my big bowl-o-noodles… and a few veggies, and a lot of sauce, and a handful of fresh basil and cilantro….  a fork, a hungry mouth, a heart-eyes emoji… ugh. This reunion with me and cooking could not get any happier.

This Rainbow Vegetarian Pad Thai is first and foremost RAINBOW, which is the only fun way to eat anything in life.

It is brown rice noodles, and spiralized veggies (because veggies in noodle form feels like more noodles), and a super tangy-delicious Pad Thai sauce that you just shake up in a jar in about five seconds flat, and peanuts that almost instantly start to soak up the sauce, and a gently scrambled egg that kind of cream-ifies the whole thing.

Also: fresh herbs by the fistful. You’ll take a bite, you’ll love it, and then you’ll remember you have to add in the basil, and so you’ll add them in and try your second bite complete with the herbs, and OH MY GOODNESS things just went to the next level. I’m so excited for you.

Vegetarian Pad Thai Close Up

Low Effort, Big Flavor

This Rainbow Vegetarian Pad Thai (with peanuts and basil dohhh) is just really good, my friends. It is really good and surprisingly easy. I took a few ideas I had seen out there in the big wide internet world (vegetables as noodles! Pad Thai sauce-ery!) and made them into this. And I am so happy with how it turned out + the minuscule amount of effort it takes to get there.

As I’ve mentioned a few times, I’ve been really taking it easy lately in the kitchen. When I say take it easy, I don’t mean making ten minute basil artichoke toasts and five minute magic green sauce. I mean taking it easy as in NOT COOKING ANYTHING. We’re talking life-saving dinner made by friends, hot dogs (gulp), mac and cheese, and chicken nuggets out of the freezer. During these last few weeks, my old self has definitely been food-snob-judging my current self.

It’s a hard job, all this noodle-eating, but I’m willing to fight the good fight. Carry on, Warrior!

Pad Thai in Skillet

How To Make Some Yummy Pad Thai

Let’s talk about how to make this Pad Thai, because it’s so easy. More like I’ll show you with pictures because I talk too much, always.

One thing I should note real quick that the really fun thing about this recipe is spiralizing the veggies. You don’t need-need-need a spiralizer – you can use a peeler or just cut the veggies into thin strips – but man oh man, that thing is fun to use.

Bell Peppers for Vegetarian Pad Thai
Pad Thai Noodles Soaking
Pad Thai Sauce and Noodles
Pad Thai Noodles Close Up

And with a swirl of the spiralizer, a shake of the sauce jar, and tong-toss of the noodles in the pan, you’ve got yourself one YUMMMMMY plate of Rainbow Vegetarian Pad Thai.

Hello, awesomeness.

Vegetarian Pad Thai Noodles on a Plate

Check Out Our Video For How To Make Vegetarian Pad Thai:

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Rainbow Vegetarian Pad Thai on a plate with cilantro.

Rainbow Vegetarian Pad Thai with Peanuts and Basil


  • Author: Pinch of Yum
  • Prep Time: 10 mins
  • Cook Time: 5 mins
  • Total Time: 15 minutes
  • Yield: 4 servings 1x

Description

Rainbow Vegetarian Pad Thai with a simple five ingredient Pad Thai sauce – adaptable to any veggies you have on hand! So easy and delicious!


Ingredients

Scale

For the Pad Thai

  • 4 ounces brown rice noodles (you can get stir-fry type noodles or Pad Thai noodles – and usually that’s half a box)
  • 1 zucchini
  • 1 red pepper
  • half a yellow onion
  • 2 carrots
  • 2 tablespoons oil
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1/2 cup peanuts, chopped
  • 1/2 cup fresh herbs like cilantro, green onions, and basil, chopped

For the Sauce:

  • 3 tablespoons fish sauce or vegan fish sauce substitute
  • 3 tablespoons brown sugar (or sub another sweetener)
  • 3 tablespoons chicken or vegetable broth
  • 2 tablespoons white vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  • 1 teaspoon chili paste (sambal oelek)

Instructions

  1. Place the uncooked noodles in a bowl of cold water to soak. Spiralize the zucchini, red pepper, and onion into noodle-like shapes. Cut the carrots into very small pieces (or spiralize them, too, if they’re big enough).
  2. Shake up the sauce ingredients in a jar.
  3. Heat a tablespoon of oil over medium high heat. Add the veggies – stir fry with tongs for 2-3 minutes or until tender-crisp (if they are not spiralized, they might need longer). Be careful not to overcook them – they’ll get soggy and heavy. Transfer to a dish and set aside.
  4. Add another tablespoon of oil to the pan. Drain the noodles – they should be softened by now. Add the noodles to the hot pan and stir fry for a minute, using tongs to toss. Add the sauce and stir fry for another minute or two, until the sauce is starting to thicken and stick to the noodles. Push the noodles aside to make a little room for the egg – pour the beaten egg into the pan and let it sit for 30 seconds or so. Toss everything around with the tongs. The egg mixture will stick to the noodles and everything will start getting sticky.
  5. Add in the vegetables, toss together, and remove from heat. Stir in the peanuts and herbs and serve immediately.

Equipment

Notes

If going sugar free is important to you, make sure to sub another sweetener for the brown sugar. Also important: fish sauce contains trace amounts of sugar.

There is a fine line between the mixture being Just Right Sticky and TOO Sticky. Usually too sticky happens when you cook it too long. Watch it carefully and once you see it starting to come together, remove from heat right away and toss with the veggies.

You might not need all the sauce in this recipe, but I (as a sauce lover) did use all of it! I would say just eyeball whatever amount looks good to you and save the rest to add in later if you want.

This recipe is gluten free other than the 1 tablespoon soy sauce, so just swap that out for something else if you need it to be gluten free!

  • Category: Dinner
  • Method: Stovetop
  • Cuisine: Thai

Keywords: pad thai recipe, easy pad thai, vegetarian pad thai, sticky noodles, pad thai sauce

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NOTE: The fish sauce is a key ingredient and the flavor is hard to replicate, and personally, I’m not a die-hard vegetarian, so this works for me as is. But that being said, if I were an absolutely 100% vegetarian, I would try this recipe as a vegan fish sauce substitute.

Note: this post contains affiliate links for the brown rice noodles!


Time To Show You Off!


One More Thing!

This recipe is part of our simple Asian-inspired noodles page. Check it out!

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Recipe rating

439 Comments

  1. Pinch of Yum Logo

    Oh Lindsay I LOVE your easy, healthy meals and this is no exception! This looks amazing, and I love all those crushed up peanuts they add such a fantastic texture!






  2. Pinch of Yum Logo

    Oh why hello, gorgeous! THIS is what’s making my stomach growl at 7:30 a.m. My oatmeal suddenly seems a bit lacking with all those gloriously swirled noodles ;). Love that you shot this on that wood backdrop as well! It brings such a nice warm and earthy feel to the photo!

    Feel free to send over a plate of this to California haha! Happy Monday!

  3. Pinch of Yum Logo

    Hi Lindsay, I really enjoyed your post! It feels so real: life with picky eaters is troublesome especially when it comes to healthy food. Yay to you for having them eating fresh apples! You’re doing a great job with those kids and I am so in awe after admiring this lovely vegetarian pad thai that you mastered meanwhile. Can’t wait to try it 🙂

  4. Pinch of Yum Logo

    Pad Thai is a BIG deal in our house. Like, I make the sauce on the reg and keep it in the fridge so we can face plant into it ALL the meals.
    And the rainbow goodness? HECK to the yes. I am majorly needing some take-er-easy meals, so I am all about this. Pinned!

  5. Pinch of Yum Logo
    Amy

    Goodness, that looks mighty tasty. Okay, so as a newbie to the vegetarian world, can I ask a quick question? Is fish sauce a go for super serious vegetarians? Hosting friends tonight and this looks like just the ticket, but I want to make sure it’ll work for them. Thanks!

    1. Pinch of Yum Logo

      Agreed! I would swap it out if the people you’re cooking for are full time, real deal vegetarians. I also linked a vegan fish sauce in the post that you could try as a replacement! Thanks for the comment Amy!

      1. Pinch of Yum Logo

        Hi! I just tried this but made a couple tweaks, just because I didn’t have all the ingredients. I was looking for a good base recipe and this is it! Thanks! 🙂 (My tweaks were really just using a bit of peanut butter to make the sauce creamy and have more body–since I didn’t have fish sauce, using spinach instead of zucchini, omitting the egg, and using sriracha! Oh, and squeezing a little lime juice into the sauce, too!)

        On the topic of vegan fish sauce, I found this recipe a while ago and pinned it for reference (I’m not vegan, but one never knows when it’ll come in handy): https://food52.com/blog/15368-a-fish-sauce-with-all-of-the-flavor-none-of-the-fish






  6. Pinch of Yum Logo

    This looks so good! I’ve always been a little afraid of making Pad Thai at home because I thought the sauce was difficult, but your sauce appears to be so easy! I must try this out!
    xx Sydney

  7. Pinch of Yum Logo
    Liz in St. Paul

    My current obsession is spring rolls, and I would TOTES wrap up leftovers (if they exist) with lettuce, some quick pickled veg, and a drizzle of sweet chili sauce. Yaaaaaaaaaaaaaas.

    PS- I just realized that I majorly mess up your stats. I subscribe to your email list, which I check on my “vintage” iPhone 4S. But then. I type in the website when I get to my computer for the day to read/comment/ruin all your hard work analyzing traffic to POY. Sorry!

      1. Pinch of Yum Logo
        Arielle

        Woah this recipe was SO SALTY! I couldn’t eat more than two bites and had to throw it out. I might try it again though with half as much fish sauce and soy sauce.






  8. Pinch of Yum Logo

    How awesome is this!
    I know how you feel about not cooking sometimes – most Sundays I get in a cooking slump – and don’t wanna do any cooking at all…then my daughter tries to eat chocolate covered noodles and I’m back in business!

  9. Pinch of Yum Logo

    Yes, yes, and yesssss. What I wouldn’t give to face-plant in a big ol’ bowl of that right about now! This looks DELISH and SO impressed that you made it to the kitchen and whipped this up despite the craziness. High fives.






  10. Pinch of Yum Logo

    Another awesome recipe, the pictures make it look absolutely delicious. I’m not a fan of meat less Pad Thai but I will be definitely be using this recipes and adding meat to it.

    PS – The Spiralizer looks like too much fun haha

    1. Pinch of Yum Logo

      Awesome! Hope you enjoy it Chris! 🙂 I love Christopher’s comment about adding shrimp… that could be good too!

  11. Pinch of Yum Logo
    Jessica Ford

    I think what you are doing for those kids is so amazing. You deserve some time off from cooking.

    This recipe looks delicious; I can’t wait to try it! I have that exact spiralizer and I love it.

    Question about the fish sauce – I have tried some very yucky fish sauces. Can you recommend a brand that is good? Thanks!

  12. Pinch of Yum Logo

    This recipe looks absolutely delicious! I will definitely have to give it a try!

    I have that exact spiralizer too & love it!

  13. Pinch of Yum Logo
    Max

    Looks great and probably tastes great. WARNING – heart bomb for anyone with heart problems or potential heart problems. 58% sodium????
    Three things hospitals tell you or ask you if you have heart problems or potential
    1 – You are lucky to be alive
    2 – Do you smoke?
    3 – Avoid salt
    ( I have had 3 heart attacks in a year and well under 10% functioning heart so had a little experience LOL) Guess both God and Devil don’t want me yet LOL.
    Try to substitute low sodium ingredients in the sauce if you can
    Would love to taste this recipe though. Looks fantastic. Love your site by the way.

  14. Pinch of Yum Logo
    Sarah

    Hey Lindsay,

    This looks deliciously colourful! Will be running out to get a spiralizer so I can try this recipe out at home 🙂






  15. Pinch of Yum Logo
    Kathleen

    Made it tonight and loved the favors! Two problems, though… The noodles didn’t soften and the fish sauce remained stinky after dinner.

    Very disappointed about the noodles since it made the meal inedible. Next time, I’ll boil them a bit or maybe use some whole wheat angel hair pasta (cooked).

    The fish sauce – what can you do..? It’s a bit stinky to me. The dish had great flavor though so I’ll make it again.

    Live spiralizing all the veggies!

    1. Pinch of Yum Logo

      Fish sauce – I find it stinky, too! Generally though, the stink leaves (or at least lessens) after a short cook time. You could try cooking the sauce prior to adding it to the noodles to see if that helps. Also, rice noodles are definitely tricky. I think this would be good with angel hair if you decide to go that route. 🙂

      1. Pinch of Yum Logo
        Kathleen Martin

        I couldn’t end on a fail so I made it again tonight. AWESOME!! Bought the correct noodles (love them) and added chicken. Stir fried the chicken in sesame oil with a little crushed red pepper at the beginning and tossed it in at the end. So good!! Thank you for a delicious meal!

      2. Pinch of Yum Logo
        Judy

        I love Pad Thai and this recipe was delicious. I just added a bit of tofu. I haven’t use rice noodles before. I will have to cook them a bit next time as they needed to be softer. My only problem using noodles is getting them incorporated into the dish. I generally end up cutting them in half or they won’t separate. Do you have a suggestion?