Vegetarian Pad Thai {30-Minute Recipe}


by Sil Pancho



This Vegetarian Pad Thai is a colorful combination of fresh produce, an easy vegetarian pad Thai sauce, and freshly spiralized zucchini noodles. It’s a magic wand that transforms classic pad Thai into a healthy, low-carb, 30-minute dinner.

Easy Vegetarian Pad Thai with Zucchini Noodles in a white bowl with chopsticks and garnished with lime wedges, cilantro and peanuts

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My love for pad Thai runs deep.

So much so, that when Ben and I visited Thailand, we split a plate of pad Thai every single day of the trip, both at lunch and at dinner.

It was so tasty and such a bargain, we couldn’t resist!

Back on this side of the Pacific Ocean, pad Thai is still a dish I love to cook at home.

Zoodle Pad Thai in a white bowl with chopsticks and garnished with lime wedges, cilantro and peanuts

It’s fast, easy, and hits the spot every time I’m feeling tempted by takeout (this recipe is a better choice!).

If you are going for authenticity, this Healthy Shrimp Pad Thai with rice noodles is most like the version we ate daily in Thailand.

That said, during our travels we often came across vegetarian pad Thai too.

5 Star Review

“I cannot tell people how wonderful this dish is – just DELISH!”

— Martha —

Easy Vegetarian Pad Thai with Zoodles in a white bowl with chopsticks and garnished with lime wedges, cilantro and peanuts

Today, I’m sharing a vegetarian pad Thai inspired by those we devoured on our trip (read more about our travels in this post: Thailand Part 1).

One major difference between today’s vegetarian pad Thai and the ones in Bangkok?


While not traditional, swapping zucchini noodles for classic rice noodles is a great way to make pad Thai a healthy dinner option for any night (or if you’re me in Thailand, every night) of the week.

Equipment Tip

Sprializers are widely available online and don’t take up much space in your cabinet. If you are looking for new ways to work more veggies into your diet or are following a low-carb diet, it’s an excellent and fairly inexpensive investment.

This model is an excellent spiralizer.

fresh whole zucchini on a white and red striped kitchen towel

Zoodles Vs. Rice Noodles

When summer produce is in its prime, swapping the usual rice noodles for spiralized zucchini to make zoodle pad Thai is an excellent way to use up that bumper crop.

At other times of year, I still love to cook with zucchini noodles beause:

  • Zucchini is accessible and affordable.
  • Zucchini noodles cut the calories and carbs of traditional pad Thai dramatically.
  • It packs extra vitamins, minerals, and a serving of veggies into every bowl.
  • Zoodles make pad Thai an easy, one-pot meal because no boiling of water is required.

If you haven’t jumped on the zoodle train yet, this vegetarian pad Thai is an ideal place to start (then follow-up with this Zucchini Stir Fry).

From there, you can dabble in Zucchini Pasta and Healthy Shrimp Scampi.

How to Make Vegetarian Pad Thai

Start to finish, this vegetarian pad Thai recipe is ready in 30 minutes (here are more of my favorite 30-minute meals).

It offers healthy proteins and fats thanks to a trio of eggs, peanuts, and edamame, and is veggie packed.

The sauce is salty, a little funky (in a good way), and has a touch of spice and sweetness.

Two bowls of 30-minute vegetarian Pad Thai with Zoodles garnished with lime wedges and peanuts

The Ingredients

  • Zucchini. The zucchini noodles drink up the flavor of the tasty pad Thai sauce, provide an extra serving of veggies, and make this meal incredibly healthy and low carb too.
  • Soy Sauce. Gives this dish its iconic briny, umami flavor. I always opt for low sodium soy sauce to keep the dish from becoming too salty.

Substitution Tip!

If you are not concerned about this dish being 100 percent vegetarian, you may add a teaspoon or two of fish sauce to the sauce for a more authentic Thai flavor.

  • Rice Vinegar. Has a serious impact on the yum-factor of this sauce. Don’t skip or skimp!
  • Chili Garlic Sauce. Or Sriracha, if you prefer, provides just the right amount of kick.
  • Honey. Sweetness to balance the chili sauce (classic pad Thai uses regular sugar if you prefer).
  • Eggs. Provides protein to make this dish filling and satisfying.

Dietary Note

To Make Vegan Pad Thai: Use maple syrup or light agave in place of the honey, and omit the eggs or substitute them for extra edamame or tofu.

  • Carrots. Add a bright burst of orange color and pack each serving with vitamin A.
  • Bean Sprouts. A classic addition to any pad Thai recipe. It makes the recipe fresh and a little crunchy.

Substitution Tip

If you can’t find fresh bean sprouts, you can omit them or swap them for finely shredded cabbage or broccoli slaw. Do not use bean sprints from a can, as they will lend an unpleasant metallic and overly-fermented taste.

Your local Asian market is a stellar place to look for fresh bean sprouts as well.

  • Edamame. Provide a nice contrasting texture while contributing a dose of healthy plant-based protein. (If you love edamame, try my Edamame Hummus.)

Market Swap

Feel free to add additional veggies or swap for any in-season produce of your choice. While the blend of vegetables in the recipe, as it is written, is most traditional, pea pods, sliced red bell pepper, or spinach would be tasty additions.

  • Garlic and Green Onions. Add a little extra aroma and zip.
  • Cilantro. Finishes the dish with a little color and fresh herb taste.


Add a sprinkling of fresh, chopped Thai basil (or regular basil) and chives for yet another layer of flavor.

  • Lime. A final squeeze of fresh lime juice balances and brightens the dish.
  • Peanuts. Give this dish a nice crunch that contrasts the tender vegetables beautifully. A pad Thai essential.

The Directions

  1. In a small bowl, mix the sauce ingredients.


For sweeter pad Thai, add additional honey. For spicier, add additional chili paste.

  1. Spiralize the zucchini into zoodles (or cut into ribbons using a Y-shaped vegetable peeler). Set aside.
  2. Next, sauté the garlic, and scramble the eggs until they just begin to set.
  3. Add the zucchini noodles, bean sprouts, carrots, edamame, green onions, and sauce. Then, cook until the veggies are crisp-tender.
  4. Garnish with peanuts, cilantro, and lime wedges. Serve and ENJOY!

Storage Tips

  • To Store. Zucchini noodles soften when reheated. Therefore, this recipe is best enjoyed the day it is made, but it can last in the refrigerator for 1 to 2 days.
  • To Reheat. For best results, quickly warm the pad Thai, uncovered, in a skillet over medium-high heat until heated through.
  • To Freeze. Freezing is not recommended.

Meal Prep Tip

While this recipe does not hold up the best to reheating, you can prep the ingredients in advance to cut down cooking time for a make-ahead dinner.

  • Prewash, spiralize, and chop your produce up to 24 hours before cooking.
  • Store prepped veggies in separate or divided containers in the refrigerator.
  • Mix the sauce ahead and store it in an airtight container.

Then, when ready to cook, simply heat your skillet or wok and cook as directed in the recipe. Easy peasy!

What to Serve with Vegetarian Pad Thai

Recommended Tools to Make this Recipe

  • Spiralizer. For making fresh, healthy zucchini, beet, or butternut squash noodles.
  • Nonstick skillet. A nice, deep skillet is ideal for making veggie-pack stir fry recipes.
  • Wok. If you have the cupboard space and enjoy making stir fries often (like this Vegetable Lo Mein), a wok is a great investment.

The Best Wok

This wok’s ceramic coating allows for cooking and frying with less oil and butter. It’s 3-layer bottom creates an even heat distribution too.

Easy Vegetarian Pad Thai with Zucchini Noodles. Full of protein and flavor, not too spicy, gluten free, and low carb! This fast and healthy one pot meal is perfect for busy families and weeknight dinner. Recipe at | @wellplated

Did you make this recipe?

Let me know what you thought!

Leave a rating below in the comments and let me know how you liked the recipe.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is Pad Thai Usually Vegetarian?

No. If we get technical, traditional pad Thai is not typically vegetarian because most authentic recipes contain fish sauce which is derived from fermented small fish or krill. Additionally, pad Thai recipes often contain sautéed shrimp or chicken, although tofu is also common.

Is Vegetarian Pad Thai Unhealthy?

Vegetarian pad Thai is an excellent, healthy dinner option. As long as you don’t go overboard on the sugar or oil, then pad Thai is low in fat, cholesterol, and calories. Recipes like this one also get bonus points since it swaps traditional rice noodles for zucchini noodles (zoodles) making it a low-carb meal and offering even more vegetables.

Is Pad Thai an American Dish?

No. Unlike General Tso’s Chicken, a popular Chinese dish that actually has origins in Taiwan and the United States, pad Thai was actually created in Thailand.


  • 3 tablespoons low sodium soy sauce or tamari
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons rice vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 1-3 teaspoons chili garlic sauce or Sriracha, or hot sauce of choice


  • 2 medium zucchini
  • 1 teaspoon extra-virgin olive oil divided
  • 2 cloves garlic minced
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 cup bean sprouts
  • 1 cup grated carrots
  • 1/2 cup shelled edamame
  • 2 large green onions finely chopped
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped peanuts
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
  • Lime wedges for serving
  • Additional hot sauce for serving

  • In a small bowl, stir together the sauce ingredients. If you prefer a sweeter pad Thai, add additional honey. For spicier, add additional chili paste.

  • With a spiralizer, cut the zucchini into zoodles. If you don’t have a spiralizer, you can cut the zucchini into ribbons using a Y-shaped vegetable peeler. Set aside.
  • Heat 1 teaspoon of oil in a large nonstick skillet or wok over medium-high heat. Add the garlic, then crack the eggs directly into the skillet. Break apart the yolk with the spatula and let cook for 30 seconds, until just beginning to set. Add the noodles and sauce and stir to coat. Next, add the bean sprouts, carrots, edamame, and chopped green onions and let cook until the bean sprouts are crisp-tender, about 1 minute. Sprinkle on the peanuts and cilantro. Serve immediately with lime wedges and additional hot sauce as desired.

  • TO STORE: Because zucchini noodles soften when reheated, this recipe is best enjoyed the day it is made, but it can last in the refrigerator for 1 to 2 days.
  • TO REHEAT: For best results, quickly warm the pad Thai, uncovered, in a skillet over medium-high heat until heated through.
  • TO FREEZE: Freezing is not recommended.
  • To Make Vegan Pad Thai: Use maple syrup or light agave in place of the honey (for vegan), and omit the eggs or substitute them for extra edamame or Air Fryer Tofu.

Serving: 1(of 2)Calories: 371kcalCarbohydrates: 37gProtein: 20gFat: 18gSaturated Fat: 3gPolyunsaturated Fat: 5gMonounsaturated Fat: 8gTrans Fat: 1gCholesterol: 164mgPotassium: 1251mgFiber: 9gSugar: 22gVitamin A: 11587IUVitamin C: 52mgCalcium: 139mgIron: 4mg

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