Vegetarian Pad Thai with Spicy Lime-Peanut Sauce

Vegetarian Pad Thai with Spicy Lime-Peanut SauceIt happened!

For the first time in years, I followed through with a New Years’s resolution!

I had my first sofa dinner party of 2012! 😉

And this my friends, is what we had for dinner: Vegetarian Pad Thai with Spicy Lime-Peanut Sauce, Spicy Cilantro Shrimp, wine, and big bowls of M & M’s!  (Yep. Dessert really was M & M’s!)

Vegetarian Pad Thai with Spicy Lime-Peanut SauceBack in the day, my girls and I would order take-out Thai food and get 1-pound bags of milk chocolate and/or peanut butter M & M’s for dessert.  I know, so fancy!

So years later, the Thai food is homemade, we’ve graduated to the dark chocolate M & M’s, and the friendships are still cherished!

What are you doing this weekend?  Call some friends you haven’t seen for a while and catch up over some great food!

Vegetarian Pad Thai with Spicy Lime-Peanut Sauce
Prep time
Total time
Serves: Serves 6
  • ¼ cup crunchy, salted peanut butter, at room temperature
  • 1 cup lime juice (about 5-1/2 large limes)
  • ¼ cup plus 1 tablespoon Mirin (sweet rice wine)
  • ¼ cup low-sodium soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 2-1/2 teaspoons chili paste (Sambal Oelek is perfect)
  • Grapesseed oil for the pan
  • 1-1/2 cups thinly sliced brown onion
  • 1 tablespoon finely minced garlic
  • 2 cups grated carrots
  • 1-1/2 cups bean sprouts
  • 1-1/2 cups thinly sliced red bell peppers
  • 2 cups finely sliced Napa cabbage
  • 8-ounces Pad Thai-Style rice noodles
  • 1 cup roughly chopped, fresh cilantro
  • ¼ cup roughly chopped, fresh mint
  • 5 finely chopped scallions
  • About ¾ cup roughly chopped salted peanuts
  • Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
  1. In a medium-sized mixing bowl, whisk the peanut butter with the lime juice, Mirin, soy sauce, sugar and chili paste. Set aside.
  2. Generously coat a large sauté pan or wok with grapeseed oil. Place the pan over low-medium heat and add the onion. Add the garlic after about 5 minutes, and continue to cook until the onion is soft, about 10 minutes.
  3. Turn the heat up to medium-high and add the carrots, bean sprouts, peppers and cabbage. Stirring occasionally, cook until the carrots are tender, about 7 minutes.
  4. Remove the vegetable mixture from the heat while you cook the noodles.
  5. Cook the noodles in a large pot of boiling, salted water just until tender but still firm to bite, about 6 minutes.
  6. Remove ½ cup of the noodle water and add it to the vegetable mixture. Then drain the noodles and add them, too.
  7. Add the cilantro, mint, scallions, and pour the sauce over the entire mixture. Season to taste with salt and pepper (if necessary) and gently toss to evenly combine all of the ingredients and garnish with the peanuts.
Typically fish sauce is a key ingredient in Pad Thai noodles, but I like to make this vegetarian version and then add things like Spicy Cilantro Shrimp, or chicken.

Gluten-free? Easy, since Pad Thai noodles are already gluten free, simply use gluten-free soy sauce and you're all set!

Up to 6 hours and at least 1 hour ahead: Prepare the vegetables and make the sauce.
30 minutes ahead: Begin sautéing the vegetables.
7 minutes ahead: Cook the noodles and assemble the dish.

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  1. Lauren says

    Lovely recipe. Would it not be worth mentioning it will only be GF if you use a GF soy sauce and not regular?

  2. Margo says

    Hi Valentina!

    love the recipe ideas on your blog! I tried your pad thai and it was delicious–for protein I added squares of firm tofu fried in an inch or so of peanut oil to get that crispy exterior.

    • valentina says

      Margo — thanks so much for the comment. So happy you liked this dish, and tofu and peanut oil is a great touch. 🙂

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