Simple Vegetarian Pad Thai Noodles

My food taste is forever changing; it’s very rare that I’ll eat one dish week-in week-out. However, occasionally I’ll come across something so simple, so quick and so tasty from that I can’t resist having it almost every other day. As you have probably guessed, Pad Thai Noodles, or at least my slightly simplified version, is the dish which I currently find irresistible. It’s simply perfect for working days in which all one needs is a nice, light and quick dish to see one through a shift.

Pad Thai is also extremely flavourful as there is not one ingredient which doesn’t improve on the taste of the dish. Fish sauce in particular defines this meal, giving it a body of flavour and a rather unique tang. I find this rather strange, as fish sauce tastes and smells absolutely foul – my mother refuses to touch the stuff. One twist, which I believe makes this dish truly my own is the inclusion of peanut butter in the recipe. It may seem rather strange at first, but it really adds a richness and fantastic consistency to the noodles.

The egg is placed on the top, not necessarily for aesthetic purposes but because I find it incredibly hard to add to the main body of the dish without it looking rather like vomit. No doubt some of you will be able to perform this task with great ease, but I simply cannot grasp how to do it correctly. Lastly, I made this recipe vegetarian because in my opinion it doesn’t need meat. However, if one were to add prawns or chicken I’m sure one needn’t lose too much sleep – although the inclusion may well break the bank, so to speak. ขอให้เจริญอาหาร! (Apparently that means Bon Appetit, in Thai)

Vegetarian Pad Thai

Serves 1, sadly


• 1 portion of noodles, I used fairly thin rice noodles as I can’t find Pad Thai noodles anywhere

• 3 spring onions, roughly chopped

• 1 knob of ginger, finely chopped

• 1 clove of garlic, finely chopped

• 1 fresh chilli, finely chopped

• 1 tsp fish sauce

• 1 tbsp dark soy sauce

• ¾ tbsp chunky peanut butter

• Sesame oil

• 1 egg

• Serve with extra peanuts and the juice of half a lime


1. First you need to make an omelette. Heat up some oil in a wok until very hot, drop in a whisked egg and cook until golden brown on each side. Roll up the omelette and cut into slices.

2. Heat up a good glug of sesame oil in the hot wok and quickly stir fry the spring onions, ginger, garlic and chilli. Then add the fish sauce, soy sauce and the peanut butter. Cook for 1-2 minutes. Add the noodles and cook for a further 2 minutes. Serve in a bowl with lime juice, extra peanuts and the ribboned omelette.

Cost: This tasty Thai dish comes in at roughly £1.30 per portion. Of course, this depends on one’s choice of noodles and whether or not one owns a chicken, oh and also the possible inclusion of the bank breaking meat.

52 comments on “Simple Vegetarian Pad Thai Noodles

  1. cookinginsens
    September 23, 2011 at 7:31 pm

    I like this recipe a lot! The next time I make noodles, I’m going to try a meat variation of this. Thanks for the inspiration.

    • frugalfeeding
      September 23, 2011 at 8:01 pm

      Thanks, sense. Compliment indeed coming from your good self. No probs.

  2. Plummy Mummy
    September 23, 2011 at 7:31 pm

    I like the sound of this except the fish sauce as I don’t eat fish. Can you recommend a veggie substitute (what does your mum use???)

    • frugalfeeding
      September 23, 2011 at 8:02 pm

      I think you can buy vegetarian fish sauce, although fish sauce is kinda veggie anyway.

  3. Casey
    September 23, 2011 at 7:44 pm

    Love Pad Thai. This looks so delicious!

  4. ceciliag
    September 23, 2011 at 8:00 pm

    So simple and so tasty, initially i was surprised by the peanut butter but now that i think about it .. it might be a very interesting addition i shall try it and see.. always open to new ideas! c

  5. Jemma @ Celery and Cupcakes
    September 23, 2011 at 8:35 pm

    I love pad thai- love this recipe and it is very budget friendly too! 🙂

  6. j3nks73
    September 23, 2011 at 8:47 pm

    I love Pad Thai but have never made my own. This looks really simple… and good. I will definitely be adding it to the list of things to try.

    • frugalfeeding
      September 27, 2011 at 9:54 am

      I tried to make it as simple as possible, it’s really delicious. Let me know how it goes if you do.

  7. ceciliag
    September 23, 2011 at 9:11 pm

    Congrats on your versatility award, check my post from yesterday (not today).. c

  8. Celia @ Fig Jam and Lime Cordial
    September 23, 2011 at 9:28 pm

    Peanut butter is an interesting addition!

    • frugalfeeding
      September 27, 2011 at 9:54 am

      I know, but I tried it and it really works.

  9. thecompletecookbook
    September 24, 2011 at 9:02 am

    I love your take on pad thai noodles but sadly since a friend of my hubby’s used peanut butter in just about everything he cooked, I have been seriously put off hot peanut butter, except for on hot buttered toast with syrup. 😀
    Have a happy Saturday.
    😉 Mandy

    • frugalfeeding
      September 27, 2011 at 9:57 am

      You needn’t add the peanut butter, it’s just there as it adds a little richness, it tastes nothing like peanut butter.

  10. ChgoJohn
    September 24, 2011 at 12:23 pm

    This is another simple dish that can be ruined if one does’t know when to stop adding ingredients.I agree with you and think the peanut butter would work very well.

    • frugalfeeding
      September 27, 2011 at 9:58 am

      Exactly. People seem a little skeptical, but it works very very well.

  11. ambrosiana
    September 24, 2011 at 1:08 pm

    this looks delicious!!! I love oriental food!!

    • frugalfeeding
      September 27, 2011 at 9:58 am

      Me too, I’m totally hooked at the moment.

  12. thekalechronicles
    September 24, 2011 at 3:36 pm

    For a variation on the Pad Thai theme, try Thai Pasta with Peanut Sauce posted on “The Kale Chronicles.” Like yours, it is a vegetarian version except for the fish sauce. It doesn’t involve oil or frying and incorporates more vegetables. I’ll try yours, too. — Sharyn

    • frugalfeeding
      September 27, 2011 at 10:02 am

      Fish sauce is vegetarian! Vegetarians tend to eat fish… for some reason it doesn’t count as a meat. I hope you enjoy it.

  13. emilysincerely
    September 24, 2011 at 10:39 pm

    Reading this makes my mouth water. Definitely adding the peanut butter too! Emily

    • frugalfeeding
      September 27, 2011 at 10:08 am

      It works! There’s no reason not to 😛

  14. danieljdemarco
    September 25, 2011 at 1:46 am

    This looks so fast and easy, going to be trying a variation soon I hope. A note on fish sauce: I was at my Filipino girlfriend’s aunt’s house the other day, and they were challenging me to take a whiff of several varieties of increasingly pungent fish sauce. Just as you said, they say it smells awful (we all washed our hands after just handling the bottles) but it adds such depth of flavor to so many dishes. Since then I’ve been looking for an excuse to buy a bottle…looks like I found it.

    • frugalfeeding
      September 27, 2011 at 10:11 am

      I just love fish sauce, but it does smell vile… Let me know how it goes.

  15. promenadeplantings
    September 25, 2011 at 8:37 am

    I love Pad Thai noodles, I sometimes add some fried Tofu (for extra protein) but I realise tofu isn’t to everyones liking 🙂

    • frugalfeeding
      September 27, 2011 at 10:12 am

      Tofu has never taken my fancy, I think it’s fine without the added protein, but prawns would be lovely.

    September 25, 2011 at 3:47 pm

    Love this recipe. I’ve never thought of vegetarian pad thai, but the omelet seems like a great way to add some protein and texture. Great pics too!

    • frugalfeeding
      September 27, 2011 at 10:15 am

      I think it works really well on top, rather than being incorporated.

  17. thelittleloaf
    September 25, 2011 at 7:50 pm

    I love pad thai…it’s so simple and utterly delicious. If you want a foolproof way of integrating the egg there’s a recipe on my blog, although the slices of omelette on top of your dish do look rather pretty. Might give it a go next time!

    • frugalfeeding
      September 27, 2011 at 10:16 am

      I think I might prefer it this way… however, I shall give it another go for authenticity.

  18. Aimee@clevermuffin
    September 26, 2011 at 4:00 am

    Love Pad Thai! And I’m with you, I can’t mix the omelette through without it looking like vomit (wonderful choice of words!) haha.

  19. Debbie
    September 26, 2011 at 6:54 am

    I love Pad Thai, looks so yummy.

  20. Yinzerella
    September 26, 2011 at 4:47 pm

    Bravo. I think I might try to make this sometime this week. That is if my Safeway carries fish sauce.

    • frugalfeeding
      September 27, 2011 at 10:22 am

      Oh please do, it’s deeeeeelish.

      • Yinzerella
        October 3, 2011 at 4:15 pm

        Making it tonight. I’ll let you know how it turns out.

  21. Matthew Vaughn
    September 27, 2011 at 8:55 am

    Interesting recipe. With the inclusion of ginger and peanut butter it sounds almost like a satay-style peanut sauce. I’m actually very curious what it would taste like, I think it would be quite different to mine.

    • frugalfeeding
      September 27, 2011 at 10:32 am

      I know it sounds a little strange but it is really very nice. It doesn’t taste like peanut butter and is pretty far from satay. I think it just adds a certain richness.

  22. Cara
    September 29, 2011 at 3:56 pm

    My favorite!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  23. Zoe @ Pantry and Fridge
    October 4, 2011 at 5:25 pm

    Sounds fabulous….Now I’m hungry for them. 🙂

  24. Paige
    October 10, 2011 at 5:41 pm

    I still can’t use fish sauce without having flashbacks of the time I tried to use it to oil my wok, thinking it was sesame oil. The house smelled revolting for a week.

    Can’t wait to try the Pad Thai! It looks brilliant.

    • frugalfeeding
      October 10, 2011 at 9:11 pm

      That must have been awful! Let me know it goes.

  25. Davo23
    May 13, 2013 at 10:33 am

    I just finished making this for dinner, the only difference that I added tofu. This was an absolute winner! My wife and I absolutely loved it. This will definitely become a regular

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