Japanese Vegan Udon Noodle Soup

Japanese vegan udon noodle soup

The Spruce Eats / Anastasiia Tretiak

Prep: 10 mins
Cook: 20 mins
Total: 30 mins
Servings: 4 servings
Nutritional Guidelines (per serving)
352 Calories
21g Fat
32g Carbs
11g Protein
See Full Nutritional Guidelines Hide Full Nutritional Guidelines
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Nutrition Facts
Servings: 4
Amount per serving
Calories 352
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 21g 27%
Saturated Fat 4g 18%
Cholesterol 2mg 1%
Sodium 1690mg 73%
Total Carbohydrate 32g 12%
Dietary Fiber 6g 21%
Total Sugars 5g
Protein 11g
Vitamin C 37mg 184%
Calcium 160mg 12%
Iron 2mg 14%
Potassium 658mg 14%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)

A staple of Japanese cuisine, udon noodles have won the hearts and palates of food enthusiasts around the world. Thick, silky, and filling, these wheat noodles are commonly found in soups, with or without animal-based proteins, but always surrounded by thinly sliced vegetables, mirin, soy, rice vinegar, and ginger, along with the very important umami flavor brought by mushrooms.

This particular vegan version of this Japanese-inspired soup is made with Chinese broccoli, scallions, fresh cilantro, and peanuts. It's similar to a traditional recipe, so you'll find it warming and filling, but not heavy.

Dried udon noodles can be found in the international section of most supermarkets, but sometimes Asian markets and supermarkets sell the frozen version. What you really want is the fresh version, which you might be able to acquire from a local Japanese restaurant, as they're difficult to find elsewhere; if you can't find dried or frozen, use soba noodles instead.

Easy to make, our udon soup is a great introduction to classic Japanese flavors and a tempting light lunch or dinner.

1:38

Click Play to See This Vegetarian Japanese Udon Noodle Soup Recipe Come Together

Ingredients

For the Broth:

  • 4 cups vegetable broth (or chicken-style vegetarian broth)

  • 2 (1-inch) pieces ginger

  • 1 pinch sugar

  • 2 tablespoons rice vinegar

  • 1/4 cup soy sauce

  • 2 tablespoons vegetarian mushroom sauce

  • 1/2 teaspoon chili paste

  • Salt (to taste)

  • Pepper (to taste)

For the Chinese Broccoli:

  • 1 tablespoon peanut oil

  • 1/2 tablespoon ginger (minced)

  • 2 cloves garlic (minced)

  • 2 tablespoons sesame oil

  • 1 pound Chinese broccoli (chopped)

For Assembling:

  • 1 pound udon noodles (cooked according to package instructions)

  • 4 medium (1/8-inch-long) green onions (thinly sliced)

  • 1/4 cup cilantro (chopped)

  • 1/2 cup peanuts (roasted and salted)

Steps to Make It

Make the Broth

  1. Gather the ingredients.

    Ingredients for Japanese udon noodles

    The Spruce / Anastasiia Tretiak

  2. In a medium saucepan, combine the vegetable broth or vegetarian "chicken" broth with the pieces of ginger, sugar, rice vinegar, soy sauce, mushroom sauce, and chili paste. Stir to combine, and bring to a boil. Cover the pot and reduce to a simmer.

    Vegetable broth

    The Spruce / Anastasiia Tretiak

  3. Allow the broth to simmer for at least 10 minutes. Remove the chunks of ginger from the broth and discard. Season lightly with salt and pepper.

Make the Chinese Broccoli

  1. In a separate large skillet, heat the peanut oil and add the minced ginger, garlic, and sesame oil. Let it become fragrant for 2 to 3 minutes and add the chopped Chinese broccoli.

    Greens in a wok

    The Spruce / Anastasiia Tretiak

  2. Sauté for a few minutes, until the broccoli is just tender and a lively green color. Remove from heat and set aside.

    Mix greens in wok with a wooden spoon

    The Spruce / Anastasiia Tretiak

Assemble the Noodle Soup

  1. Prepare individual bowls by placing a serving of noodles in each, topping it with the prepared Chinese broccoli, a generous amount of broth, some sliced green onions, chopped cilantro, and roasted peanuts.

    Japanese udon noodle soup topped with cilantro and peanuts

    The Spruce / Anastasiia Tretiak

  2. Enjoy.

Is Udon the Same as Ramen?

Although udon and ramen are used both broth-based Japanese dishes loaded with noodles, veggies, and broths with similar ingredients, udon and ramen differ. Udon noodles are thicker, whiter, and typically vegan; ramen noodles are thinner, often made with eggs (so they're more yellow in color), and curlier in shape. Both of them, however, contain wheat flour; only soba is usually gluten-free, made from buckwheat (but read the package to be sure if that's a concern).

How to Store and Freeze Udon Noodle Soup

The best way to store noodles, whether in the refrigerator or in the freezer, is to separate the broth and veggies from the noodles into separate sealed containers; this is often the way you will receive Asian noodle-based soups if you purchase them for takeout. Store in the refrigerator for 3 to 5 days.


If you want to freeze the soup, just freeze the broth and veggies. Noodles like udon don't reheat well after they've been frozen. Just reheat in a saucepan over medium-low heat until it's hot all the way through.

Variation

Our quick recipe is vegan and uses vegetable broth as a base, but if you'd like a more classic version, you can replace it with dashi, which has fish ingredients in it.

Kitsune Noodles

Kitsune noodles are a classic preparation of udon noodles. Topped with fried tofu, the soup is really delicious and filling thanks to the added protein in the tofu. For this version, simply follow the recipe as is but top each bowl of soup with a slice of fried tofu.

  • Simply press and remove any excess liquid from a package of extra-firm tofu, slice it into 2 pieces by cutting it diagonally and then slice each triangle in half by its thickness. Pat the tofu triangles dry with paper towels, drench in cornstarch, and deep fry in 350 F oil until golden brown on both sides. Sprinkle with sea salt.
  • Top the soup with a triangle of tofu. For a more elaborate version of this dish, you can fry the tofu twice, for an extra special texture.