This healthy take on Instant Pot Pad Thai is loaded with veggies and uses ingredients you already have on hand! Done in about 30 minutes. Vegan and gluten-free option.
I feel like I've been living under a rock.
When the Instant Pot became all the rage over the holidays last year, I kind of...ignored it. Me, a Registered Dietitian and food blogger and restauranteur, turning a blind eye to the latest and greatest in quick cooking. The horror!
So when my friend Megan emailed me about her new Fresh and Healthy Instant Pot Cookbook, I was forced in the best way possible to hop on the trend train and give this beloved electric pressure cooker a whirl.
Now I'm whipping up recipes with it left and right. And if you love this, you've just gotta try my Teriyaki Vegetable Stir Fry!
How to make pad Thai in the instant pot
This may not taste exactly like traditional pad thai from my favorite takeout spot, but it's an amazing stand in for healthy pad thai when the craving strikes and tamarind paste is nowhere to be found!
- First we're cooking our noodles right in the Instant Pot by breaking them up and covering with water.
- Meanwhile, we chop our veggies and whisk together an easy peanut sauce. Remove the noodles once they're done and add the sauce to the pot.
- Next, we add our veggies and cook until they're softened. Add the cooked noodles, green onions, and stir to combine. Garnish with cilantro and peanuts and serve!
What to cook in the Instant Pot
I love that nearly all the cooking time is hands-off, so you can do your laundry or respond to emails or pluck your eyebrows (is that just me?) while things cook.
My favorite things to cook in the Instant Pot are:
- bulk grains like brown rice, quinoa, millet, and oatmeal
- simple "set it and forget it" meals like chili and lentil soup
- sweet potatoes (so moist and much quicker than the oven)
- veggies like broccoli, cauliflower, and cabbage for buddha bowls
Is cooking in the Instant Pot Healthy?
Yes! Pressure cooking is one of the healthiest ways to cook since there's less oil involved and nutrients aren't being lost.
Another fun fact I learned is that the pressurized pot lowers the boiling point of water, so your food is rarely cooked at a temperature above 250 degrees. Lower temps means fewer nutrients lost, as does shorter cooking times.
Does the instant pot save cooking time?
Did you know the instant pot cooks 50-70% faster than traditional cooking methods? Winning!
It doesn't always shorten the cooking time, but it does decrease the active time since it times everything for you. It takes time for the pot to come to pressure before the cycle begins and to release that pressure when the cycle ends. Ultimately it makes meal prep so much more efficient because it's completely hands off.
The time to come to pressure is similar to the time it takes for water to boil. All of Megan's recipes include the total time needed for pressure cooking.
Which noodles are best?
I like whole wheat spaghetti because it's so easy to find and I usually have it on hand. For a more authentic pad Thai recipe, you can use Annie Chun's rice noodles.
For gluten free, use brown rice or chickpea noodles and tamari.
- Add scrambled eggs. Who doesn't love eggs in their pad Thai? Cook them using the sauté function then stir them back in at the end!
- Add cooked shrimp. Simply use the sauté function to cook the shrimp in oil until it's opaque.
- Change up the veggies. You can use fresh basil, bean sprouts, or whatever veggies you love. A frozen stir fry blend makes this super easy in a pinch!
How to store
This recipe is best day of, but leftovers can be stored in the fridge for up to 5 days.
Craving more Asian-inspired recipes?
- Quinoa Stir Fry with Peanut Sauce
- Peanut Noodles with Broccoli
- Quinoa Fried Rice
- Thai Curry Soba Noodle Bowls
Please let me know how this recipe turns out for you by leaving a star rating and/or comment! I'm SO excited for you to try it.Print
This flavorful and healthy take on vegetarian Instant Pot Pad Thai made easy peanut sauce uses ingredients you have on hand! Done in just over 30 minutes. While this is not traditional pad thai, it's a great stand in using accessible ingredients when the craving strikes.
- 4 oz whole wheat spaghetti (or brown rice spaghetti for gluten-free*)
- 4 cups water
- ¼ cup natural peanut butter
- 5 tbsp soy sauce (or tamari for gluten-free)
- ¼ cup pure maple syrup
- 2 tbsp lime juice (or rice vinegar)
- 1 tbsp sriracha (or 1 tsp crushed red pepper flakes)
- 1 tsp minced fresh ginger (or ½ tsp dried ginger))
- 1 large clove garlic, minced
- 1 tbsp fish sauce, optional (for more authentic flavor)
- ½ head green or red cabbage, shredded (or coleslaw mix, about 4 cups)
- 1 large carrot, shredded
- 1 red bell pepper, seeded and chopped
- 2 cups snow peas
- 3 green onions, tender white and green parts only, chopped
- Chopped fresh cilantro and salted peanuts, for garnish
- Break noodles in half and arrange in Instant Pot in a crisscross manner to avoid clumping. (See notes at the bottom for stovetop option**.) Pour water over noodles. Secure lid and move steam release valve to Sealing. Select Manual/Pressure Cook to cook on high pressure for 2 minutes. While noodles cook, in bowl, whisk together peanut butter, soy sauce, maple syrup, lime juice, Sriracha, ginger, garlic, and fish sauce and set aside.
- When the cooking cycle is complete, let the pressure naturally release for 10 minutes, then move the steam release valve to Venting to release any remaining pressure.
- When the floating valve drops, press Cancel and remove lid. Drain noodles through colander, rinsing with cold water to remove starch and stop cooking. Rinse and dry insert and return to Instant Pot.
- Press Sauté and pour peanut sauce into pot. Add cabbage, carrot, pepper, and snow peas and stir well. Sauté until vegetables are tender, about 5 minutes. Stir in noodles and green onions until everything is heated through. I like to add a drizzle of toasted sesame oil at the end!
- Serve pad thai warm with cilantro and peanuts on top. Dish is best served right away, but leftovers can be stored in an air-tight container in fridge for 5 days.
*If using brown rice spaghetti, cook on high pressure for 0 minutes, then let pressure naturally release for 8 minutes before draining.
If you'd like to add scrambled eggs or shrimp, use the sauté function to cook in a splash of olive oil. Once set or cooked through, transfer to a plate and proceed with the rest of the recipe.
Stovetop option: Cook noodles in a pot according to package directions. Whisk together sauce. Drain and rinse noodles and keep them in the strainer while you add the sauce to the sauce pot along with the veggies. Sauté for about five minutes then add noodles and green onions.
Recipe lightly adapted and reprinted with permission from The Fresh & Healthy Instant Pot Cookbook, by Megan Gilmore, copyright © 2018 Megan Gilmore. Published by Ten Speed Press, a division of Penguin Random House LLC.
Keywords: instant pot pad thai