There is something so comforting about a vegan spicy udon noodle soup! When you combine thick soft chewy noodles with a richly flavored broth with a little kick, you have in my book, the perfect quick dinner!
Interesting Facts About Udon noodles
How to recognize them? They are by far the thickest noodles (2-4 mm). They are made from 3 ingredients: wheat flour, water, and salt (definitely not an option for people with gluten intolerance). Udon noodles are naturally vegan and super popular in Japan and Korea where they are usually served in a light broth with some meat. The noodles are so filling that you don’t need to add much to the dish making it one of the quickest and easiest soup!
Udon Vs Ramen
Since most of us will have tasted ramen at least once (a favorite of college students on a budget!), you may wonder if udon and ramen noodles are similar in composition. Turns out, store-bought udon noodles are quite healthier than ramen because they do not contain as much sodium and have no MSG! So if you are sensitive to the latter, you may want to stick to udon noodles or make your own ramen. Stay tuned for a future post and video on how to make them from scratch!
Not to further shoot down ramen noodles but the instant type that is sold in individual packages is also often deep-fried making it a triple threat! I remember eating them straight out of the package once and marveling at the fact that they tasted so good just like that! One last thing about instant noodle packages, ramen or udon, is to ditch the sauce in the package that comes with it because it is loaded with MSG, sodium, and other not so good things for you. I promise you that you can make an even better tasting broth with just a few ingredients!
Different types of udon noodles and how to cook them
Regular grocery stores usually carry pre-cooked soft noodles in a vacuum-sealed bag (see photo).
You can just add them to your hot soup broth along with your favorite vegetables and they will be ready in a few minutes. You can also find semi-dried and dried noodles in Asian grocery stores. Semi-dried noodles must be boiled in a large pot of water for 8 minutes and dried noodles for 10 minutes.
All three types can be frozen.
One last thing, you can use just about any vegetable you have on hand to make this soup, so use this recipe as a guide but get creative and try out new combinations! If you need more inspiration, you can always watch some of my favorite feel-good foodie movies featuring Asian noodles here.
Let’s get cooking!
Spicy Vegan Udon Noodle Soup
- frying pan
- cooking pot
- 4-6 cups vegetable broth
- 7.34 oz pre-cooked udon noodles
- 8 oz firm or extra firm organic tofu
- 1 cup fresh snap peas
- 1 cup chopped green onions
- 2 tbsp white miso paste
- 1 tbsp white or black sesame seeds
- 1 tbsp vegetable oil
- 1-2 tsp sesame oil
Prepare the noodles
- Bring a large pot of water to a boil.
- Remove the noodles from the package and throw away the seasoning package.
- When the water is boiling, add the noodle and turn the heat on medium.
- After a few minutes, using chopsticks, gently detangle the noodles.
- Test to make sure they are cooked. Drain and set aside in a bowl.
Prepare the Tofu
- Pat dry the tofu and cut into cubes.
- Heat up a frying pan, then add the vegetable oil.
- Place the tofu cubes making sure they don't overlap and sprinkle some salt and pepper.
- Cook over medium heat and turn to evenly crisp the tofu. Set aside when done.
Prepare the Instant Broth
- Dissolve 2 cubes of vegetable broth into 4-6 cups of boiling water.
Putting it Together
- Place the cooked noodles and snapped peas in the hot broth.
- Set aside 1/4 cup of the broth to mix the 2 tbsp of miso.
- Turn the soup off. Add the sesame oil and mix.
- Add the miso and green onions.
- Split the soup into 2 bowls and top with the fried tofu and sesame seeds.
I usually add some chili paste and extra soy sauce, but that's just me!