A delicious Instant Pot Vegetarian Pad Thai is a noodle dish with a wonderful combination of Asian-inspired sweet and salty flavors, crunchy textures, and loads of flavor. All ready in under 30 minutes!
Skip the take-out and create your own quick and easy tasting menu right at home. Include Beef and Broccoli Stir Fry and Instant Pot Chicken Fried Rice and you’ve got a complete restaurant-quality meal with something for everyone!
Table of contents
Vegetarian Pad Thai with no Fish Sauce
Veggie pad Thai is a simple dish that rivals your favorite take-out! It’s exactly what you need when the craving hits for a big bowl of spectacular noodles. This is a healthy and budget-friendly version that can be customized to exactly how you like it! Add a little heat for a kick, or add a few extra veggies and skip all of the added sodium by making it from scratch.
Including fresh veggies gives it the added crunchy texture and makes it so much more healthy while still keeping the authentic Asian-inspired flavors! Using rice noodles and checking the ingredients on your soy sauce, means you can easily call this recipe gluten-free, and because there is no fish sauce added, it can be vegan as well!
Pad Thai is a simple noodle dish that is traditionally stir-fried with veggies and, if desired, a protein such as shrimp, chicken, or beef. This is a vegetarian version that doesn’t miss a beat. Making it in the Instant Pot is a 20-minute pressure cooker dinner perfect weeknights. It’s impressive enough to serve a crowd but simple enough to whip up a bowl for yourself at any given time.
The sauce used is a combination of incredible flavors from brown sugar, soy sauce, garlic, and ginger along with a squeeze of lime juice. When combined together it’s a balance of sweet and salty with a pop of citrus. It’s a tasty coating to tender noodles with the added crunch of salty peanuts on top!
Once all of the flavors have melded together overnight, the leftovers are just as delicious the next day. The results of this dish are a big return on such a simple investment!
Why we love this recipe
- Quick and easy which works on busy weeknights.
- Customizable for those who want to add a little heat, add some protein or even switch up the veggies.
- Super flavorful thanks to the delicious flavor combination of the sweet and salty sauce.
- Gluten-free and Vegan which is similar to the best crispy Kung Pao Tofu!
- One-Pot meals make for easy clean-up.
- Kid-friendly because there is no spice as with traditional recipes.
- Sauce: Sesame oil, vegetable stock or water, soy sauce, brown sugar, lime juice, ginger, and garlic.
- Noodles: Bag of rice noodles.
- Veggies: Carrots & zucchini, thinly sliced or in matchsticks. Thinly sliced green onions, snow peas, and bean sprouts.
- Garnish: Chopped peanuts, chopped radish.
How to Make Pad Thai from Scratch
This recipe will come together, from prep to table, in 20 minutes!
Step 1: Set the Instant Pot to sauté and add in sesame oil, vegetable stock, soy sauce, brown sugar, lime juice, ginger, and garlic.
Step 2: Stir the ingredients until the brown sugar has dissolved. Then add the carrots, zucchini, green onions, and rice noodles.
Step 3: Place lid on Instant Pot and set to Manual – High Pressure for 3 minutes. Do a quick release once the timer goes off.
Step 4: Remove the lid and add in the snow peas and bean sprouts and place the lid back on for 5 minutes. The bean sprouts and snow peas will heat through with the residual heat and steam.
Garnish with fresh sliced radish and crushed peanuts
Variation 1: Add chili flakes if you like your pad Thai spicy. You could also try adding some Sriracha sauce into the sauce itself for a different flavor.
Variation 2: ½ cup fresh chopped herbs like cilantro, green onions, and basil for extra flavor.
Variation 3: For added protein, you could add pieces of tofu or tempeh or eggs. For a meat option, you could add in shrimp, chicken, or beef.
- For more peanut flavor, add a dash of peanut sauce into your dish or add a drizzle on top.
- Read the ingredients on your soy sauce to make sure they comply with your dietary needs. For a gluten-free option try tamari. You could also try coconut aminos, however, it does have a bit of a different taste.
- This recipe uses no fish sauce which makes it a vegan-friendly dish. If you are not aiming for that and would like to add it in, go right ahead!
- Vegan “fish” sauce, made from shitake mushrooms, is a great alternative, however can be tricky to find.
- Make sure you do a quick release once the noodles are done cooking, or they’ll become mushy when overcooked.
Leftovers, which makes great meal prep for lunches, will keep in the fridge in an airtight container for up to 4 days.
To warm through, reheat on the stovetop on medium heat. If you have any leftover sauce, you could pour in a bit as well.
Authentic pad thai sauce usually includes fish sauce and tamarind paste. Feel free to add 2 tablespoons of each when mixing the sauce ingredients together.
Yes! You can simply cook the rice noodles per their package directions in boiling water on the stove. Then mix together the sauce ingredients in a pan then add the vegetables and saute for approx. 7-8 minutes. Then add the cooked rice noodles into the sauce and vegetables mixture and toss to coat.
Other Easy Dinner Recipes
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Instant Pot Vegetable Pad Thai
- 1 tablespoon sesame oil
- ½ cup vegetable stock or water
- ¼ cup soy sauce
- 2 tablespoons brown sugar
- 1 tablespoon lime juice
- 1 teaspoon grated ginger
- 1 teaspoon minced garlic
- 2 carrots thinly sliced or in matchsticks
- 1 zucchini thinly sliced or in matchsticks
- 2 green onions thinly sliced
- 1 8 ounce bag rice noodles
- 1 cup snow peas
- 1 cup bean sprouts
- 2 tablespoons chopped radish
- ¼ cup peanuts chopped
- Put Instant Pot on sauté mode by selecting the button.
- Add the sesame oil, vegetable stock, soy sauce, brown sugar, sesame oil, lime juice, ginger and garlic.
- Stir the ingredients for approx. 2 minutes or until the brown sugar has dissolved.
- Add the carrots, zucchini, green onions and rice noodles.
- Place the lid on the Instant Pot and turn the knob on top to pressurize. (turn the knob away from you)
- Set the Instant Pot to Manual – High Pressure for 3 minutes.
- When the timer goes off, manually release the pressure by turning the valve on top toward you. (cover with a towel and be careful of the hot steam)
- Remove the lid and add in the snow peas and bean sprouts.
- Place the lid back on for 5 minutes to allow the snow peas and bean sprouts to heat from the steam. (you can place it on the “warm setting if desired) .
- Garnish with fresh sliced radish and crushed peanuts
Nutritional facts are estimates and are provided as a courtesy to the reader. Please utilize your own brand nutritional values to double check against our estimates. Nutritional values are calculated via a third party. Changing ingredients, amounts or cooking technique will alter the estimated nutritional calculations.
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Wish I would have read the comments. Mush, till I got the noodles cooked. Probably would have been better to do the veggies and broth in the instant pot, and add the noodles and peas, etc., at the end.
What I meant there was cook the noodles separate and add at the end.
Like the comment above, my noodles didn’t cook all the way and the flavor was lacking. So here’s what I ended up doing.
After I followed the initial recipe and found the noodles undercooked I put it back in on manual for 1 minute. After that I quick released. Noodles were better, but still not done. And flavor was lacking. I made a new batch of sauce (minus the ginger and the lime) and put that in and put back in on manual for 1 more minute. Noodles were done and the extra sauce added flavor. I added some salt (because I used low sodium broth and soy sauce) and a sprinkle of onion powder to top it off. Put in a bowl added peanut and the radishes, topped with fresh bean sprouts, lime and a scrambled egg. Delish!
We liked the taste, but like the other comments, the noodles did not cook. I used the wide, Pad Thai noodles, and wonder if the thinner rice noodles would be a better choice. Like another commenter, I put the IP back on for 2 minutes, but my result was that many of the veggies were overcooked.
I want to figure out the solution to this issue because I think the recipe has some promise.
The noodles didn’t cook! And the sauce was pretty bland. Followed instructions exactly ♀️