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Vegan Drunken Noodles

  • Author: Liz Madsen
  • Total Time: 20 minutes
  • Yield: 8 cups 1x
  • Diet: Vegan


Savory, spicy, and a little sweet, these Vegan Drunken Noodles are the ultimate Thai-inspired dish. These noodles are packed with flavor!


Units Scale


  • 8 oz wide (or extra wide) rice noodles (see note 1)
  • 2 cups soy curls (see note 2)
  • 2 cups vegan chicken broth or vegetable broth (see note 3)
  • 3-4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2-4 red Thai chilies, seeded and minced (more or less to taste, omit if preferred) (see note 4)
  • 1 small sweet onion or 2 shallots, sliced
  • 1 bunch green onions, cut in 2-inch long strips
  • 1 cup Thai holy basil / Thai basil / sweet basil (see note 5)
  • Neutral high heat oil for cooking if desired, or use water


  • 1/4 cup reduced sodium soy sauce (see note 6) (use GF tamari if needed)
  • 1/4 cup dark soy sauce (or 2-3 tablespoons soy sauce / GF tamari + 2-3 teaspoons molasses / other sweetener)
  • 1 tablespoon coconut sugar (or any sugar)
  • 1 tablespoon water


  1. Note: Please be careful when cutting the chilies. If you’ve never cut really hot peppers before, wear latex (or non-latex if you have an allergy) gloves and don’t touch anything until you’ve washed all surfaces and removed the gloves. The oil can burn your skin and last a LONG time. Trust me, I walked around with burning chili oil on my hand for a few days the first time because I didn’t know.
  2. Cook noodles: First, cook your noodles according to package instructions. I boiled mine in a large pot of water until they were tender enough for my liking, then I strained them and rinsed them in a little cool water. It helps if someone can stir the noodles almost constantly while they cook (they only take about 5-7 minutes to cook), because they can stick together (especially the dried noodles, which are the ones I am using in this recipe). If you’re not going to use the noodles within a few minutes of rinsing, I suggest tossing them with a little bit of oil (a neutral oil like grapeseed OR use an appropriately flavored oil like sesame or peanut oil).
  3. Rehydrate soy curls: While the noodles are cooking, if you can, start the rest of the dish. Add the soy curls to a medium bowl and cover with the vegan chicken broth (or use vegetable broth or water). When they have rehydrated (about 5-6 minutes), drain off the excess liquid and set aside.
  4. Cook garlic and chilies: In a large nonstick pot over medium high heat, add the minced garlic and chilies. You may use oil if you prefer--use a high heat oil such as grapeseed, peanut, or soybean oil, or you may just use a bit of water, and add a splash (a tablespoon or two) whenever anything starts to stick. Cook the garlic and chilies for about 30 seconds, stirring constantly with a cooking spatula or wooden spoon.
  5. Add onion: Add the sweet onion or shallot and saute for 2 minutes, stirring frequently.
  6. Add soy curls: Drain off the rehydrated soy curls (if using vegan chicken broth, reserve the excess liquid in case you need it later in the cooking process (optional)) and add to the pan. Stir and allow them to cook for about 6 minutes. Flip at the 3 minute mark, but otherwise try not to disturb them so they get a little browned on each side (adds a nice texture).
  7. Add noodles, sauce, and green onions: Now add the cooked noodles, then the sauce, then the green onion. Toss well with silicone tongs or a spoon and cook for a few minutes until the noodles have soaked up any extra sauce. If they soak up a LOT, then you can add a little more using leftover vegan chicken broth if you have it, or a little water (mixed with a touch more soy sauce if you like).
  8. Add basil: Finally, add in the basil, stir well, and remove from heat. The basil will wilt slightly but not get too cooked (basil, especially sweet basil, can turn brown and lose flavor when cooked).
  9. Eat: Serve hot and enjoy!
  10. Store: Refrigerate leftovers in an airtight container for 3-4 days.


  • Note 1: While fresh rice noodles would probably be the most delicious, they can be difficult to find. I bought these wide “fettuccine style” rice noodles online and they were perfect. But if you can only find a thinner noodle that’s totally fine too.
  • Note 2: These soy curls are what I used as my “chicken” replacement because I find the texture very similar to chicken and they’re easy to cook with--just rehydrate and throw in a pan. Other substitutes include baked or pan-fried super firm tofu, tempeh, seitan chunks (like this vegan seitan chicken), chickpeas, or store-bought chicken alternatives.
  • Note 3: I love using Better Than Bouillon No Chicken Base, because it tastes just like chicken. I simply mix 2 teaspoons with 2 cups of hot water and whisk to combine. Carton vegan chicken broth, vegetable broth, or water will all also work instead.
  • Note 4: Unlike pad see ew (a similar sounding yet different dish), pad kee mao or drunken noodles are often quite spicy. The best chili peppers for vegan pad kee mao are Thai red chilies, but I could only find green and orange by me. Perhaps they would have turned red had I been patient, but come on, I’m not a patient person! Red fresno peppers or jalapenos are a good substitute if you cannot find Thai chilies.
  • Note 5: Thai Holy Basil would normally be used in this dish. It is authentic and adds some heat, but can be pretty hard to find. I checked Asian stores around my location and couldn’t find it. The next best option apparently is Thai basil, which almost tastes like licorice or anise, but I also couldn’t find that. So, the best option in this case is regular sweet basil that you can find at the grocery store. To make up for it, I used more chilies in our dish.
  • Cook Time: 20 minutes
  • Category: Entree
  • Method: Stove top
  • Cuisine: Thai

Keywords: Vegan, Nut-Free, Refined Sugar-Free, Can Be Oil-Free, Can Be Gluten-Free, Vegan Drunken Noodles, vegan spicy Thai noodles, vegan Pad Kee Mao