20-Minute Vegan & Vegetarian Pad See Ew With Tofu

5 from 7 votes

This vegan pad see ew noodle recipe is perfect for busy weeknights! It comes together in less than 30 minutes and is packed full of authentic Thai flavors.Made with broad noodles, crumbled tofu, and gai lan, this stir fry is naturally vegetarian, vegan, and so delicious

Thai Pad see ew noodles stir fry with tofu

Delicious weeknight dinner

Time: 20 minutes

Vegan pad see ew is one of my all time favorite Thai dishes! This is an easy vegetarian/ vegan version you can make at home.

Cooking method: Stovetop

I had taken a Thai cooking class while in Thailand because it is one of my favorite cuisines. What I learned is that sometimes Thai food can take a lot of hard to find ingredients to get authentic flavor but, Pad See Ew takes a minimal amount. It can be made under 30 minutes. My version is both vegan and vegetarian!

Pad see ew is a Chinese influenced noodle stir fry dish. It is common Thai street food. See ew means dark soy sauce and therefore it is a key ingredient in this dish.  The dish is basically noodles stir fried in soy sauce.  In this vegan and vegetarian friendly version I use crumbled tofu in place of egg/meat protein and gai lan.

Another popular Thai dish is pad thai. Pad thai is more on the savory side, pad see ew is savory and sweet. It is not overly sweet but if you like your food spicier, drizzle some chilli oil on top.

Pad see ew noodles stir fry with tofu


  • Fresh sen yai noodles (description, substitutes below)
  • Vegetarian oyster sauce
  • Dark soy sauce
  • Light soy sauce
  • Vinegar
  • White pepper
  • Brown sugar
  • Oil
  • Water
  • Gai lan (chinese broccoli, substitution ideas below)
  • Garlic cloves
  • Roasted crushed peanuts (optional garnish)
vegetarian pad see ew ingredients

What are sen yai noodles?

Sen yai noodles are broad, flat noodles made of tapioca starch and rice flour. The tapioca flour gives them that wonderful chewy texture. I do recommend trying to find sen yai noodles for pad see ew because they are DELICIOUS.  I love all dishes made with them simply because of the texture. I always use Nona Lim’s pad see ew noodles. I found mine at Whole Food’s. They come fresh and air tight packaged.  I carefully pull them apart before tossing to stir fry.

Sen Yai Noodle Substitutes

While not traditional, you can substitute with other types of noodles such as pad thai noodles which are made of rice.  I would go for the broadest type of rice noodles you can find so it soaks up the amount of sauce used in the recipes.

This vegetarian / Vegan version  of pad see ew calls for crumbled tofu

A few notes on the tofu:

  • Make sure to drain the tofu by pressing it to draw out excess water, this will help it crisp up a bit
  • I like to make my tofu crumble a mix of cooked and crispy so it is about half browned and half white
  • Add arrowroot powder or cornstarch to the crumbled tofu to help it crisp up
  • How do you crumble tofu? Break off small pieces and gently press between your fingers, it will crumble easily! See video:
YouTube video

Is Pad See Ew gluten free?

Sen yai noodles are gluten free but the recipe does use soy sauce.  You could try substituting light soy sauce with tamari sauce and dark soy sauce with hoisin sauce. But I have not made the recipe with those substitutions

Dark soy sauce vs. light soy sauce

Dark soy sauce has a stronger flavor and gives the noodles the darker color. Light soy sauce has less sodium and it does not taste as strong.  If you do not use dark soy sauce the taste will be different.


Gai lan (Chinese broccoli): while this is traditionally used, you can substitute for bok choy, other leafy Chinese greens, broccolini or even spinach. You what you have!

Vegetarian oyster sauce: I recommend trying to get this. If you cannot you can try hoisin sauce instead but I have not tried it.


I like to add roasted crushed peanuts for texture and crunch! You could also top with chili oil if you want more heat in your pad see ew.

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Thai Pad see ew noodles stir fry with tofu

20-Minute Vegan & Vegetarian Pad See Ew With Tofu

Shilpa Joshi
This vegan pad see ew noodle recipe is perfect for busy weeknights! It comes together in less than 30 minutes and is packed full of authentic Thai flavors.Made with broad noodles, crumbled tofu, and gai lan, this stir fry is naturally vegetarian, vegan, and so delicious
5 from 7 votes
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Total Time 20 minutes
Course dinner, lunch
Cuisine Thai
Servings 4 people
Calories 842 kcal


  • Wok


  • 11 oz sen yai noodles substitue pad thai noodles or other rice noodles
  • 2 cups gai lan chopped. Substitute with bok choy, broccolini, spinach other greens you have
  • 2-3 cloves garlic minced
  • 1 tbsp water
  • 1 tsp arrowroot powder or cornstarch
  • 7 oz extra firm tofu remember to drain it by pressing it
  • 2 tbsp oil olive, sesame, other neutral oil
  • 2 tsp oil olive, sesame, other neutral oil


  • 2 tbsp dark soy sauce
  • 1/2 tbsp light soy sauce
  • 2 tsp vinegar use rice vinegar, if available
  • 2 tbsp vegetarian oyster sauce substitute with hoisin if needed
  • 1 tbsp brown sugar
  • 1/8 tsp white pepper Add more if you like spicy



  • Chop gai lan
  • Mince garlic cloves
  • Prepare sauce by mixing the following into a bowl: dark soy sauce, light soy sauce, vegetarian oyster sauce, water, vinegar, white pepper and brown sugar
  • Use your hands to crumble tofu into a medium bowl and mix in arrowroot powder or cornstarch to coat
  • If using fresh sen yai noodles: gingerly separate by hand so they are not sticking to each other
    If using dried rice noodles: prepare according to instructions, slightly under cook so they do not fall apart when stir frying


  • Heat 1 tbsp of oil in a wok. Once hot add in crumbled tofu and cook 3-4 minutes until it begins to brown. Set aside.
  • Add 2 tsp of oil to wok and once heated add garlic, stir then add gai lan. Cook for about 30 seconds so it wilts but retains crispness. Set aside.
  • Add 1 tbsp of oil to wok. Once heated add sen yai noodles and sauce. Mix and let cook 30 seconds -1 minute on medium. Noodles should carmelize and may slightly stick to bottom.
  • Add crumbled tofu and gai lan to wok and mix with noodles/sauce. Dish is ready!


Notes: add roasted crushed peanuts for some crunchy texture
If you like it spicier, drizzle some chilli oil on top or up the amount of white pepper in the dish!


Calories: 842kcalCarbohydrates: 143gProtein: 17gFat: 21gSaturated Fat: 2gSodium: 2143mgPotassium: 414mgFiber: 3gSugar: 8gVitamin A: 3128IUVitamin C: 32mgCalcium: 144mgIron: 3mg
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!

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