Noodle-Free Pad Thai (30 Minutes!)

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Large ceramic serving platter with veggie-loaded Noodle-Free Pad Thai

This recipe has been a long time coming.

While doing some experimentation with my diet in the winter, I really missed our weekly takeout order of Pad Thai. Due to some restrictions, I wasn’t able to have it, so I decided to make a version that was friendly to my gut while still tasting delicious.

Spoiler alert: This is my new favorite Pad Thai recipe that trumps takeout every time. It’s that good!

Wood cutting board with red bell pepper, collard greens, red cabbage, green onions, and carrots for making Noodle-Free Pad Thai

Origin of Pad Thai

Pad Thai is believed to have originated in Thailand during World War II. It was born out of a combination of a rice shortage and Thailand’s prime minister wanting to create a national dish.

It’s traditionally made with rice noodles (which were borrowed from Chinese cuisine), egg, tofu, dried shrimp, and a salty-sweet-sour sauce. The sauce is usually made simply with palm sugar, tamarind, and fish sauce or soy sauce. You can find an authentic preparation here from Hot Thai Kitchen!

Our highly modified (not traditional) version is inspired by the flavors and concept of Pad Thai, but skips the rice noodles and includes nut butter and other ingredients in the sauce.

How to Make Noodle-Free Pad Thai

This recipe is simple, requiring just 30 minutes to prepare!

And LOOK at all those veggies! Noodle-free Pad Thai never looked so gorgeous and delicious.

To replace traditional rice noodles, I went with carrot “noodles,” collard greens, thinly sliced bell pepper, and cabbage. Look at all those gorgeous plants you’re going to eat!

And let’s not forget the sauce, which I played around with quite a bit until perfecting: almond butter, lime juice, coconut aminos (or tamari / soy sauce), maple syrup, and chili flake. That’s it! So simple, savory, spicy, sweet, and insanely delicious.

Stirring the ingredients for homemade gluten-free vegan Pad Thai Sauce

For more “oomph,” I added a bit of crumbled tofu to mock the egg in traditional Pad Thai, but this is completely optional, especially if you’re soy-free. I even included some options below for those looking for soy-free protein sources!

Pouring sauce onto a cast iron skillet filled with Noodle-Free Pad Thai

I hope you all LOVE this healthier Pad Thai! It’s:

Super healthy
& Delicious

This would make the perfect weeknight meal when you want something satisfying and healthy on the table FAST. It is delicious on its own, but it would pair especially well with these Thai Spring Rolls,  Thai Yellow Curry with Mango, and Curry Roasted Cashews.

If you try this recipe, let us know! Leave a comment, rate it, and don’t forget to tag a photo #minimalistbaker on Instagram. Cheers, friends!

Using wooden salad spoons to grab Vegan Noodle-Free Pad Thai from a large platter

Noodle-Free Pad Thai (30 Minutes!)

Amazing noodle-free Pad Thai with rainbow vegetables and a spicy-sweet almond butter sauce. Just 30 minutes required and SO versatile!
Author Minimalist Baker
Platter filled with our incredible Noodle-Free Pad Thai recipe
4.93 from 156 votes
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes
Servings 4 (2 as an entrée, 4 as a side)
Course Entrée
Cuisine Gluten-Free, Thai-Inspired, Vegan
Freezer Friendly No
Does it keep? 2-3 Days


TOFU optional

  • 1/2 cup extra-firm tofu (excess liquid pressed out, crumbled with a fork)
  • 1 Tbsp coconut aminos (or tamari or soy sauce if not GF)
  • 1 tsp chili garlic sauce (or 1/8 tsp red pepper flake as original recipe is written)
  • 1/4 tsp ground turmeric (optional)


  • 2 1/2 Tbsp nut butter (almond butter, peanut butter, sunflower seed butter, etc.)
  • 3 Tbsp lime juice
  • 3 1/2 Tbsp coconut aminos (or sub tamari or soy sauce if not GF // plus more to taste)
  • 1/2 tsp red pepper flake (or sub 1 tsp chili garlic sauce- Huy Fong Foods brand)
  • 1 1/2 Tbsp maple syrup (12 g coconut sugar // plus more to taste)


  • 1 Tbsp sesame oil (sub water or omit if low/no-fat)
  • 1 medium serrano pepper (seeds + stem removed, thinly sliced // omit for less heat)
  • 1 small bundle green onions (ends removed + thinly sliced)
  • 1 1/2 cups thinly sliced red cabbage
  • 1 medium red bell pepper (cored and thinly sliced lengthwise)
  • 2 Tbsp coconut aminos (or tamari or soy sauce if not gluten free // divided)
  • 4-5 large carrots (peeled and ribboned with a vegetable peeler // ~4 cups packed)
  • 6 leaves collard greens (large stems removed, stacked + thinly sliced // ~2 cups packed)
  • 1/2 tsp freshly grated ginger (optional // or 1/4 tsp ground ginger as original recipe is written)
  • 1/2 tsp freshly grated turmeric (optional // or 1/4 tsp ground turmeric)

FOR SERVING optional

  • Fresh cilantro
  • Crushed peanuts / peanut sauce
  • Red pepper flake


  • If serving with tofu: Add tofu to a small mixing bowl and season with coconut aminos, chili garlic sauce (or pepper flake), and turmeric (optional). Stir and set aside.
  • Add all sauce ingredients to a small mixing bowl and whisk to combine. Taste and adjust flavor as needed, adding more lime juice for acidity, coconut aminos for saltiness, red pepper flake or chili sauce for heat, or maple syrup for sweetness. Set aside.
  • Heat a large skillet over medium heat. Once hot, add oil (or water), pepper, onions, cabbage, bell pepper, and half of the coconut aminos for veggies (1 Tbsp as original recipe is written). Cook for 3 minutes, stirring/tossing frequently.
  • Add tofu to a corner of the pan and sauté until slightly browned, stirring frequently – about 3-5 minutes.
  • Add carrots and collard greens and remaining half of the coconut aminos for the veggies (1 Tbsp as original recipe is written) and stir. Sauté for 2 minutes. Then add Pad Thai sauce and freshly grated ginger and turmeric (optional).
  • Sauté over medium heat until warmed through and collards are slightly wilted – about 3 minutes – stirring frequently.
  • Taste and adjust flavor of dish as needed, adding more maple syrup for sweetness, red pepper flake or chili garlic for heat, coconut aminos for saltiness, or lime juice for acidity.
  • Divide between serving plates and enjoy. Serve as is or with peanut sauce, crushed peanuts, cilantro, and lime wedges. Serves 2 as an entrée or 4 as a side.


*You can easily remove the tofu from this dish to keep the recipe soy-free! Other protein options could include crushed peanuts/nuts, serving the dish over quinoa, or even sprinkling on some hemp seeds.
*Nutrition information is a rough estimate calculated without additional garnishes or toppings.
*This recipe is Pad Thai-inspired and not authentic. It is my healthier take on a classic dish I love and am always looking for ways to recreate.

Nutrition (1 of 4 servings)

Serving: 1 side servings Calories: 268 Carbohydrates: 26.8 g Protein: 9 g Fat: 15.1 g Saturated Fat: 2.1 g Polyunsaturated Fat: 3.9 g Monounsaturated Fat: 6.6 g Trans Fat: 0 g Cholesterol: 0 mg Sodium: 526 mg Potassium: 540 mg Fiber: 5.7 g Sugar: 16.3 g Vitamin A: 11800 IU Vitamin C: 87.5 mg Calcium: 160 mg Iron: 1.6 mg

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My Rating:

  1. Carol B says

    Amazing flavor and texture!

    Followed the recipe to the T and am throwing this into my weekly rotation.

    Pad Thai is one of my favorites, but having been diagnosed with type 2 diabetes I have not been able to eat it for many years. This is such a great way to enjoy the dish without all of the carbs.

    Thank you for sharing!

    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerSupport @ Minimalist Baker says

      We’re so glad you enjoy this version, Carol! Thank you for the lovely review! xo

  2. Alison says

    This looks delicious and wondering if what I could substitute for the collard greens – kale, baby spinach or something else? Thanks!

    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerSupport @ Minimalist Baker says

      Hi Alison, we prefer the texture of collard greens in this recipe, but yes, you could! We think kale would be the next best option. Hope that helps!

    • Grace says

      I could not find Collard Greens at my local grocery store, so I used kale! It worked great! You just need to cook it a little longer to wilt the kale, ( in my opinion )!

  3. Izzah says

    This was on my list to try ever since I heard Dana say that she was proud of this recipe on a podcast. Finally got around to trying it and I have to say, this truly is something to be so proud of. Such a creative, brilliant recipe. More balanced, better flavor than most with-noodle Pad Thai recipes. Thank you for sharing!

  4. Bridget says

    This dish is absolutely fantastic! I was a bit skeptical but willing to try it out? I didn’t read the full recipe again when I started cooking so I made the sauce first adding the coconut amino to the sauce not realizing that I was supposed to add it to the veggies as they cook. Honestly it made no difference , both times I made it it was perfect! I did not use tofu, I marinated chicken thighs in the tofu marinade. The second time I made it made a quick pickle of rice wine vinegar and a bit of palm sugar, added the scallions and put them on to the dish raw at the end for a nice pop of flavor, it was a good choice. I have had this for breakfast with a nice runny yolk fridge egg and it is fantastic! Thank you fir sharing this recipe!

  5. LizzieMac says

    This is our second time making this dish. So tasty, just like our favorite Thai Restaurant. I’m so glad I can enjoy a food I love and miss so much again. I used chicken breast rather than tofu. My husband likes it and being a Thai food connoisseur, that says a lot. Prep time and cooking took me 1.5 hours. It’s worth it. I also used Tamari Sauce this time rather than Soy and it was noticeably better to us.

    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerSupport @ Minimalist Baker says

      We’re so glad you and your husband enjoyed it, Lizzie. Thanks so much for the lovely review! xo

  6. Kathy says

    This is a quick and easy recipe that is so colorful, healthy, and delicious! I made it exactly as written, with tofu and without any optional garnishes. It is perfect. I can’t wait to make this again!

  7. Beth says

    I have made this several times and sooo good! I mean it’s just so pretty and then tastes great! This time I cut the veggie ‘noodles’ into more bite sized pieces. Can’t go wrong with this recipe!!

  8. Leptosiphon says

    Delicious! I’ll definitely make this again. Topped mine with sesame seeds and cilantro! However, no possible way this recipe takes 30 minutes if there’s only one person doing the work. Maybe with two people, or a personal sous chef, then I could see it getting done in 30 minutes.

  9. Anne-Marie Jennings says

    Another wonderful recipe, thanks so much! I made this tonight and my husband and I loved it. Your fantastic recipes help make our meals as newer vegans a real pleasure. :-)

    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerSupport @ Minimalist Baker says

      Aw, we’re so glad you enjoy our recipes, Anne-Marie! Thank you so much for your kind words and lovely review! xo

  10. LinP says

    Substitute soy curls for the tofu and cut the veggies in half since it’s only my hubby and I. Made the peanut sauce to top. This was excellent! Did not miss the noodles at all. Since I only used half of the veggies, prep didn’t take as long as others mentioned. Quick cooking and putting together it was on the table in 15 minutes.
    LOVE your innovations!

    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerSupport @ Minimalist Baker says

      Aw, we’re so glad you enjoyed it! Thank you for the lovely review and for sharing your modifications! xo

  11. Hannah says

    Loved making this for a healthy filling dinner! I did it with tofu and it held well in the fridge for a few days of leftovers. Next time, I think I will prep the vegetables ahead of time, so it will be a quick after work dinner to make.

  12. Clare Nobbs says

    This recipe was definitely very tasty and a wonderful GF alternative to the usual version, but it wasn’t even close to 15 minutes prep time. Give yourself at least 30-40 minutes to do all the peeling and shaving, etc required.

  13. Rachy says

    Changed out the cabbage with brussel sprouts and ahhh I’m in love! I accidentally skipped the maple syrup but was still delicious. I did cover it in lots of sriracha though, I prefer spicy to sweet :)

    Next time I’ll try adding fish sauce and a sweet for a more traditional pad thai.

    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerSupport @ Minimalist Baker says

      We’re so glad you enjoy it, Rachy! Thank you for the lovely review and for sharing your modifications! xo

    • Kat says

      What a genius and beautiful recipe. Although it was a little time consuming, I made it for dinner tonight and absolutely loved it😊 perfect for those days when I want to go low carb for dinner because I had way too much rice/pasta/bread for lunch and/or breakfast!!😂 thank you for making healthy delicious!

      • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerSupport @ Minimalist Baker says

        We’re so glad you enjoyed it, Kat! So perfect for getting lots of veggies in =) Thank you for sharing! xo

  14. Kim Hendricks says

    This recipe is amazing!!! I have used shrimp and chicken as the protein source. The flavor, texture and colors will have you craving this as a weekly rotation.

    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerSupport @ Minimalist Baker says

      We’re so glad you enjoy it, Brian! It’s one of our favorites as well! Thank you for sharing! xo

    • Lily says

      This was tasty! I added the whole block of tofu and doubled the marinade and it was a good balance of protein. Didn’t miss rice noodles at all. Good way to get so many veggies into a meal.

      Took care of the veggies the night before so this was much easier as a weeknight meal. Will make this again.

      Thanks for the recipe!!

  15. Babbie VAN DYK says

    I absolutely loved the Noodle free Pad Thai. Fun to chop and cook, delicious and nutritious to eat! It gets a 20 out of 10 from me! thank you for the recipe!! Next time I am going to try it with peanut butter in the sauce!

  16. Rita says

    This was really good. I made it crunchy, hubby would like it more cooked. We had some leftover chicken, so I made your peanut sauce to go over that. This is a great way to eat a lot of mixed veggies. Thank you!

  17. Kate says

    You don’t miss the noodles and it’s PACKED with vegetables. I added way more ginger because why not? I could see myself making this for my non-plant based family :)

    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerSupport @ Minimalist Baker says

      Yay! We love to hear this. Thanks so much for the great review, Kate! So glad you enjoyed!

  18. Tanya W says

    I’ll make this again and maybe we’ll get up to 5 stars, the 4 is based on potential and modification. We didn’t use tofu, and didn’t have collard greens, and we used soy sauce instead of coconut aminos (maybe the amount of soy should be decreased?). Anyway, the flavor was good, but way too strong, like we needed to double everything else and include the tofu and collard greens. We ate it anyway… about half of it about a week ago, but at that point it was not good.

    So we made this for leftovers tonight with about half the veggies and sauce left, we added 2 more large carrots and 1.5 cups more cabbage (steamed). We also added ~1.25 cups leftover rotisserie chicken and mixed it with the previously made overly-powerfully flavored vegetables. We got it about spot on… still just a little too strong.

    So, what I’ll do next time is be sure to use the collard greens and tofu, and cut the sauce in half. I see this is an experiment worth continuing. I love that it doesn’t have noodles. I love the carrot ribbons, which kind of take the place of noodles, and I love that it can provide a substantial meal with tofu (or meat if desired).

    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerSupport @ Minimalist Baker says

      Hi Tanya, Thank you for sharing your experience! If using soy sauce, we’d definitely suggest reducing the amount of it (by half) because it has a stronger flavor than coconut aminos. Let us know how it goes next time!

  19. Elaine says

    Hi there this recipe sounds amazing! I am on a very low carb diet and wonder if the sauce would work without maple syrup? Thanks so much

    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerSupport @ Minimalist Baker says

      Hi Elaine, it will be more savory and not as well balanced, but might be okay. If decreasing the amount by half is an option, we would suggest that!

  20. Cammy says

    My girlfriend and I are die hard Thai food lovers and we both say this recipe is to die for. Will definitely be making again!

    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerSupport @ Minimalist Baker says

      Aw, yay! This is one of our favorites too =) Thanks so much for sharing, Cammy! xo

  21. Diane l Grenz says

    This was an absolutely delicious and easy dish to make. I love the flavors and the color combinations. Would definitely make again.

      • Casey says

        Made this for lunch today and my husband and I absolutely loved it. Thank you so much for the awesome recipe! We’ll be making this weekly.

  22. Jess Guli says

    AMAZING!!!! This was so delicious and quick and so easy to make, and is jam packed with lots of flavor, beautiful colors which means loads of healthy nutrients !!! :).

    I use the exact recipe only I had to substitute a jalapeño pepper because I didn’t have a Serrano which was perfectly fine and I had to use liquid aminos (I had no coconut aminos, or soy sauce-i think the liquid aminos made it a touch too salty but who cares, it was still delish! next time I’ll make sure I have coconut aminos.)

      • Beth says

        This is delicious! All the flavors and colors are just incredible! I have tried to like Pad Thai as I’m vegan but just couldn’t find anything I liked. This is my go to veggie dish. Its good cold too. The only change was that I didn’t add a serrano pepper because I am whimp with hot food.

  23. Casey says

    I actually made a “no cook” version of this recipe last summer because it was too hot out to turn on the stove, and it was so good.
    For mine I…
    • skipped the red cabbage, turmeric, and ginger in the veggie mix (the ginger got added into the sauce instead), added chopped thai basil and fresh raw sugar snap peas instead for a bit of crispy crunch
    • Made the peanut sauce as shown in the recipe but added 1 tsp graded garlic and 1 tbsp grated ginger

    I can’t rate the recipe because I never actually tried it how it’s made but I absolutely loved this modified version!

  24. Suzan L Fedock says

    Tried this last night and it was AWESOME! We used almond butter with the recipe and it was a creamy spicy delight!!! Easy weeknight meal and the family loved it!! Will use this sauce all the time!

  25. Domenique says

    This dish was absolutely amazing! So flavourful and healthy- I didn’t miss the noodles at all. Will definitely make again. I doubled the amount of tofu for more protein. Thank you for this recipe!