Vegetarian Sweet Potato Pad Thai

This Sweet Potato Pad Thai is a fun twist on traditional pad thai. Here, spiralized sweet potato takes the place of rice noodles, making for a slightly sweeter and more colorful dish. Read on, or jump straight to the recipe HERE.

Vegetarian Sweet Potato Pad Thai | Will Cook For Friends

I’m pretty sure Thai food is my spirit animal. I could eat Thai food almost any moment of any day and be a happy camper.

Now, I should probably preface this by saying I’ve never actually been to Thailand, and I realize that Thai food varies a tremendous amount from region to region. I might not be qualified to say I love all Thai food.

But what I do know is this: set me down with a bowl of curry, or noodles, or soup, and I will happily lose myself in those flavors.

Vegetarian Sweet Potato Pad Thai | Will Cook For Friends

Admittedly, this recipe is not very close to real Thai food. (I’m sure I’m offending some people by even calling it Pad Thai.) But it is inspired by that classic noodle dish, with it’s tangy sauce and peanutty crunch, and when I’m wanting a quick, homemade version, this is what I make.

And oh, does it hit the spot.

Vegetarian Sweet Potato Pad Thai | Will Cook For Friends

Making noodles out of sweet potatoes is easy peasy with the help of a spiralizer. If you don’t already have one, this is the one I use.  I’ve had it for a couple years now, and I’ve been really happy with it.

In the summer I use it to make cold noodle salads like this Asian inspired cucumber salad, but in the colder months it mostly winds up sitting on a shelf in the basement collecting dust.

That’s where this recipe comes into play. It’s warm and savory, yet super light and healthy. There are very few dishes that are this light, but still satisfying enough that I crave them in the cold winter months.

This sweet potato pad thai hits that magical sweet spot. You’re basically eating a few cups of veggies and calling it dinner, but somehow it’s still warm, filling, and feels indulgent.

Vegetarian Sweet Potato Pad Thai | Will Cook For Friends

Do you have a favorite Thai dish? And if so, do you ever make it at home? Share in the comments below!

5.0 from 3 reviews
Vegetarian Sweet Potato Pad Thai
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Recipe type: vegetarian, easily made vegan / gluten-free
Serves: makes 2 large servings, or 4 small
For the sauce:
  • 1 TBSP tamarind paste (this is the one I used)
  • 2 TBSP water
  • 2 tsp soy sauce (or gluten-free tamari)
  • 2 TBSP palm sugar, coconut sugar, or brown sugar
  • ¼-1/2 tsp. Ground thai chilis, or cayenne pepper, or red chili flakes, to taste (or you can use fresh thai chiles, aka birds-eye chiles, for some real kick)
For the veggies:
  • 2-3 TBSP coconut or peanut oil, divided
  • 1 large egg, lightly beaten (if you want to make this dish vegan, you can swap the egg for tofu)
  • 2 large or 3 small sweet potatoes, peeled and spiralized (about 2 lbs, or 8 cups once spiralized)
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 TBSP water
  • 1 red bell pepper, thinly sliced
  • 1 cup bean sprouts
  • 3 green onions, chopped (green and white parts), plus more for garnish
  • ¼-1/2 cup fresh cilantro, chopped, plus more for garnish
  • 1 cup roasted and salted peanuts, chopped, plus more for garnish
  • lime wedges, for serving -- optional
For the sauce:
  1. Stir together all the ingredients in a small bowl, and set aside.
For the veggies:
  1. Heat 1 TBSP oil over high heat in a large nonstick skillet or wok. (I typically use a 12 inch pan). Add the egg (or tofu) and scramble quickly. Remove and set aside.
  2. Return the pan to high heat, and add the remaining 1-2 TBSP oil. Add the spiralized sweet potatoes, and saute for 2-3 minutes, tossing with tongs. Add the garlic, give it a stir, and then add the 2 TBSP water. Cover immediately to trap the steam, and let cook for another 2-3 minutes. Remove the lid and check the noodles for doneness (you want them to be tender enough to eat, but not so soft that they're threatening to turn into mashed potatoes). If they're still a bit crunchy, cook for another 1-2 minutes with the lid off.
  3. Add the sauce mixture to the pan along with the cooked egg, bell pepper, bean sprouts, chopped cilantro, green onions, and peanuts. Toss gently to combine.
  4. Serve immediately with additional cilantro, green onions, and peanuts for garnish. (You can also add additional chili flakes, or sliced chilis, if you want some extra heat.) Optionally, serve with extra lime wedges for squeezing over.
To make this dish vegan, swap the egg for tofu. You can use soft tofu to mimic the scrambled egg, or firm tofu, cut into cubes. Whichever you like best.

To make it gluten-free, be sure to use a gluten-free tamari in place of the soy sauce.

The spiralizer I personally use is THIS ONE. I'm not sponsored by this brand, I just like 'em.

This post contains affiliate links. That means if you follow a link to and make a purchase, I get a small percentage at no extra cost to you. I’m not sponsored by any of the products or brands I link to, they are just items I personally use or would recommend.

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20 Responses to Vegetarian Sweet Potato Pad Thai

  1. Christine | Vermilion Roots January 16, 2017 at 10:10 am #

    This recipe gets me so excited. I need a spiralizer now! I just posted about tamarind paste and have been looking for recipes that use it. This is perfect!

    • Willow Arlen January 16, 2017 at 1:29 pm #

      I love my spiralizer, Christine! I don’t use it as often as other kitchen gadgets, so it’s definitely not a necessity… but if you want to make veggie noodles, it’s a must. It makes things so quick and easy, and clean up is a breeze.

  2. Ann January 16, 2017 at 1:14 pm #

    My boyfriend and I also love love love Thai food! My favorite dish is Pad See Ew and his is Pineapple Fried Rice. We order that for takeout like once a week (eep!). My spiralizer has been collecting dust, so thank you so much for sharing this recipe. Can’t wait to give it a shot :)

    • Willow Arlen January 16, 2017 at 1:30 pm #

      Thanks Ann, I hope you give this a try! And now I’m craving some Pad See Ew… yum!

  3. Tara January 16, 2017 at 1:26 pm #

    Such a great use of the spiralizer! The colors in this dish are just gorgeous and I love your photos! I think Pad Thai may be my favorite Thai food, though there are so many amazing dishes out there.

    • Willow Arlen January 16, 2017 at 1:30 pm #

      Thanks Tara! Pad thai is always a good choice. :)

  4. Luci January 16, 2017 at 2:15 pm #

    Food as a spirit animal? Love it! I’m not sure if mine would be oatmeal or Indian food, though. I’ve never been to India but that doesn’t stop me from eating endless dishes inspired from there ;)
    Thanks for popping an easy vegan swap in there – pinning this for later! Although Thai food isn’t my spirit animal, it’s very much up there with my preferred cuisines :D

    • Willow Arlen January 16, 2017 at 2:20 pm #

      Oh yes, Indian food is definitely up there for me, too! And you’re welcome! I’m not vegan but I like to make my recipes versatile whenever possible. The more people that can enjoy them, the better!

  5. Veena Azmanov January 16, 2017 at 2:26 pm #

    Now you have me wanting a Spiralizer!! Your sweet potato noodles looks so awesome. Gonna check the one you have.. I love Pad Thai… and this looks so much more healthy with the veggies.

    • Willow Arlen January 16, 2017 at 2:38 pm #

      Thanks Veena! I love my spiralizer. It’s not a gadget I use every day, but if you have the space for one it makes veggie noodles such a breeze. Definitely recommend having one!

  6. Elizabeth January 17, 2017 at 9:49 am #

    I’m a huge fan of Thai food too! Especially right now, all those bright flavors are so wonderful. I’ve never tried spiralizing sweet potatoes – yours look so great I will definitely have to try them!

    • Willow Arlen January 17, 2017 at 10:13 am #

      Thanks Elizabeth — I hope you give them a try! Sweet potato is one of my favorite things to spiralize these days. Not at all healthy, but they make amaaaaazing curly fries if you throw ’em in the deep fryer.

  7. betty January 17, 2017 at 11:08 am #

    My goodness this is genius!!!! I’ve never spiralized sweet potato before – oh, they look so tempting. I must break out my spiralizing attachment to try this.

    • Willow Arlen January 17, 2017 at 11:30 am #

      Thanks Betty — DEFINITELY worth breaking out the attachment for. Spiralized sweet potatoes are da bomb!

  8. michelle @ hummingbird high January 18, 2017 at 9:08 am #

    yum! i need more excuses to bust out my spiralizer, and this looks like a pretty good one to me. and isn’t thai food just the best? xo

    • Willow Arlen January 18, 2017 at 9:31 am #

      Thanks Michelle! Thai flavors are hard to beat.

  9. Katie | Healthy Seasonal Recipes January 18, 2017 at 1:10 pm #

    I am in heaven! I love the way you used the wok to make this. Every time I have tried making sweet potato noodles for the whole family I’ve struggled with fitting them all in the pan. That’s an excellent solution. And I also (say that I) love Thai food, and haven’t been. We’ll have to go to find out! ;)

    • Willow Arlen January 18, 2017 at 5:37 pm #

      Thanks Katie! I actually used a big ol’ 12-inch skillet, but I recommend using a wok if you have one. It’s one of those items I want to get, but I haven’t been able to justify the storage space for when it’s not in use. That said, my 12-inch skillet basically lives on my stove, and it’s just big enough to handle this much sweet potato. If you don’t have a wok, you can totally get away without one here, just need a biiiiig pan. :)

  10. Todd Wagner | HonestlyYUM January 20, 2017 at 4:38 pm #

    I think this is the best use of the spiralizer I’ve ever seen!! Thai food is my favorite, and all I seem to be craving lately. Thanks for the recipe inspo, Willow!!

    • Willow Arlen January 20, 2017 at 5:33 pm #

      Thanks Todd! There are so many uses for spiralized veggies, and I’m still thinking up new ones to share. I’m glad you like this one!

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