This ultra-fast takeout style vegan garlic udon noodles dinner is going to be perfect for those busy weeknight meals. It is flavor-packed with tons of garlic, rich in chewy texture and can be made spicy or not. 100% vegan, vegetarian and very versatile.
Looking for more quick and easy dinners you can make on a busy weeknight?
Here is our latest favorite: vegan garlic udon noodles.
And I am not joking when I say it is fast to make. It should not take more than 15 minutes to whip up together! Totally my kind of meal.
By the way, I have a few speedy Asian noodle recipes to check out on my blog if you love that kind of dish, such as this spicy garlic ramen, this creamy miso udon and this teriyaki udon noodles. And now this new yaki udon noodle recipe might become one of your favorite go-to noodle dishes you can make last minute on busy days. It is a weeknight dinner treat for us!
The udon noodles that I recommend to use in this recipe are already cooked and frozen, meaning no boiling is required, just a quick thaw under water. Plus, the stir fry garlic sauce comes together within 2 minutes by whisking a few simple pantry ingredients you probably already have.
So easy! Just cook up some onion slices with the garlic (add more veggies if you want!), throw in the thick noodles and sauce, heat it all up, and start slurping! That's it!
The distinct texture of udon noodles + the amazing balance of flavors from the Asian garlic sauce is what will get you hooked after the first bite. This vegan udon noodle recipe is saucy, flavor-packed (with a good punch of garlic), ultra-versatile and so simple.
Better than take-out and better for you, too!
Hope you give it a try! ❤️
Why you will love this recipe
- Ultra simple and quick meal perfect for weeknights
- Versatile: you can add more veggies or a protein of choice
- Rich in garlicky and umami flavors and has such an addictive texture, thanks to the chewy noodles
- Uses only a few simple ingredients (with easy swaps!)
- Makes for great leftovers for the next day
- Amazing Asian-inspired comfort food recipe
- 100% vegan and vegetarian
What are udon noodles and where to find them
Udon are long Japanese noodles made out of wheat flour. They are thick and chewy in texture, making them very unique and loved by so many. They are very popular in Japanese restaurants, but you can also prepare stir-fried udon noodles easily right at home.
There are many different types of udon noodles you can find in grocery stores or at the Asian market:
- Fresh udon noodles: some local Asian grocery stores might keep some freshly made udon noodles. Those are great, although usually thinner than what is seen in the pictures and you have to cook/use them right away.
- Sealed udon noodles: I sometimes use these sealed udon noodles from the brand Ka-Me that I can find in my regular grocery store. They are already cooked, all you have to do is reheat them in the sauce. I like how convenient they are since you can simply keep them in your pantry, but they don't have as much of a chewy texture and they break easier too.
- Frozen udon noodles: Those are my favorite kinds of udon noodles and the ones that I recommended for making this recipe. They can be hard to find in regular grocery stores, so if you have a local Asian store in your town, then check them out first. When I make a trip to my Asian grocery, I simply buy more than I need and keep them in my freezer so I always have some ready to use. Frozen udon has the best chewy texture and it holds on pretty well when cooking (they don't break as easily). They also have a thicker tubular shape that's so fun to eat!
- Dry udon noodles: I like this kind of noodles better for making cold Asian salads, but not as much for a warm saucy dish. They are thinner and not as chewy. If that's all you have, that's fine, use them!
Ingredients you will need for this recipe
- Udon noodles: see above for more information. I used 2 blocks of frozen udon noodles that I found in my local Asian grocery store. Other kinds of noodles work too, although the thick chewy frozen udon is best for this recipe. If you don't have udon noodles, then you can use ramen noodles, soba noodles, pad Thai noodles or lo mein noodles. Even regular spaghetti would work well.
- Onion: to add a crunchy texture and more flavor.
- Garlic: I used a lot of garlic for these noodles, but adjust depending on your taste.
- Soy sauce: makes for the base of the sauce and adds a nice boost of umami taste. I like using low-sodium soy sauce for health reasons, but a dark soy sauce works too.
- Hoisin sauce: hoisin is a little sweet and tangy at the same time and adds amazing flavor to the sauce without overpowering it. You can swap for vegan oyster sauce as well.
- Maple syrup: just for a hint of sweetness to balance the other ingredients. This sauce isn’t overly sweet though.
- Rice vinegar: or lime juice.
- Chili oil: I used a spicy chili oil that I found in our local Asian store, but sambal oelek (chili paste) works too. Add as much as you want depending on your tolerance for heat.
- Sesame oil: I like to include a small amount of sesame oil when making the sauce, but also when cooking the onion for a nice nutty flavor.
- Sesame seeds and chives: optional
How to make vegan garlic udon noodles
This meal is so quick and easy! Also, see below for more ideas on how you can add more to it and customize your recipe.
Prepare the udon noodles
Read the package directions of your noodles for specific information on how to prep them, which can vary a lot depending on the type of noodles you have.
I used 2 blocks or cakes of frozen udon that I simply thawed in a large colander under running cold water. I'll usually run some water over them, then let them sit for 1-2 min, then run more water, etc until completely thawed. Once in a while, you can try to gently separate the noodles, but be careful not to break them.
You can also bring a pot of water to a boil, then turn the heat off and let the noodles thaw in the hot water for 1-2 minutes, then drain.
It is important not to overcook the noodles since they will keep cooking in the warm sauce.
Make the stir fry sauce
In a small bowl or jar, combine the soy sauce, rice vinegar, hoisin sauce (or vegan oyster sauce), maple syrup, sesame oil and chili oil or paste. I also like to stir in the sesame seeds right into the sauce, although you can also simply add them to the pan with the noodles. Stir well until combined. Set aside.
Cook the vegetables
While the noodles are thawing, then warm up a large wok with a little sesame oil (or a large non-stick pan). Then, add the onion and cook while stirring often for 3-5 minutes on medium-high heat (you want them tender, but still a little crunchy).
Then, add the garlic (and a little more of the sesame oil if needed), stir well and cook until fragrant (a few minutes) on medium heat. Watch to be sure the garlic does not burn!
Combine and serve
Once the onion and garlic look done, then pour the sauce over the wok and stir. Bring to a simmer and let it cook for 1-2 minutes, then add the chives (or green onions) and noodles. Toss to combine and give it a few minutes to warm up together.
Serve the garlic noodles with a sprinkle of sesame seeds and more chives or green onions. Enjoy!
- Be gentle when manipulating the noodles (especially if using frozen udon or sealed packaged udon). They break easily!
- A large wok is best for making this recipe as it allows the garlic to cook to remove the raw flavor without burning it (the wide sides of the wok aren't as hot as the bottom...). Stir often and watch carefully!
We love this saucy fried udon simply garnished with more sesame seeds and chives. If you want, you can also serve with a side of veggies for bonus nutrients, such as broccoli, cauliflower, green beans, leafy greens, mushrooms, bok choy, etc.
For a meal that's higher in plant-based protein, you can also serve with a side of tempeh or tofu. Or, include some edamame in the stir fry! Here are a few protein ideas you can serve this meal with:
You can also play around with the toppings to add more flavor but also extra layers of texture. Try these toppings:
- Crushed nori sheets
- Toasted cashews
- Red pepper flakes
- Salted peanuts
Variations to the recipe
You can also include some vegetables within the noodle dish, especially cabbage, bell peppers, bok choy, broccolini or shiitake mushrooms. Simply cook the veggies with the onions and make sure to keep them crunchy for the best texture.
You can also modify the sauce ingredients as you wish. Here are a few ideas:
- I like hoisin sauce for this recipe, but if you have a vegan mushroom oyster sauce, then add this instead.
- You can also include some grated ginger for more flavor. Cook it for 1-2 minutes in the pan with the onion and garlic before pouring the sauce over.
- Add 1-2 tablespoons of sriracha for a spicy dish. Gochujang paste can also add some heat and a delicious smoky flavor to the noodles.
Keep the leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge for 2-3 days: the noodles might dry out slightly, but the flavors will remain the same.
To reheat, you can add an extra splash of water (or soy sauce) to loosen up the noodles and warm them up on the stove in a pan. If you are in a rush or at work, then simply use the microwave.
They are made with white wheat flour. They aren't bad, but also, not necessarily rich in nutrients. That being said, they are very satisfying and you can use them as a vehicle to add more goodness to it, such as plant-based protein and tons of vegetables!
To make this recipe completely gluten-free, then you will have to use a different kind of noodles since udon is made with wheat flour. Look for certified GF buckwheat noodles or GF Asian-style rice noodles. Also, swap the soy sauce for a GF tamari or coconut aminos.
More recipes like this
- Vegan chow mein
- Creamy gochujang pasta
- Vegan peanut noodles
- Quick kale sesame noodles
- Vegan satay noodles
- One-pot broccoli ramen noodles
I hope you like this garlic udon noodle recipe as much as we do! If you try it, please leave a comment below and rate the recipe to let me know how it was. Your feedback is so helpful!
Vegan Garlic Udon Noodles (15-Minute Easy Recipe)
- 14-16 oz udon - frozen or vacuum sealed (I used 2 packets), see notes
- 1 small yellow onion - finely sliced
- 4 cloves of garlic - finely chopped or crushed
- 3 tbsp soy sauce
- 2 tbsp maple syrup
- 1 tbsp hoisin sauce - vegan oyster sauce works too
- ½ tbsp rice vinegar
- 1 tbsp sesame seeds
- 1 tsp sesame oil - plus more for cooking
- ½-1 tsp sriracha or spicy chili oil - optional
- handful chives or 2 green onions - finely chopped, optional
- Follow the instructions for cooking the udon noodles, which will depend on the type and brand. I used frozen thick udon, so I simply thawed them in a large colander under running cold water until they were separated.
- In a small jar, combine the sauce ingredients (soy sauce, hoisin (or vegan oyster sauce), rice vinegar, maple syrup, sesame oil, chili oil or paste and sesame seeds). Whisk until combined and set aside.
- Warm up a large pan or wok with a little sesame oil on medium-high heat. Then, add the onion and cook for about 5 minutes stirring often until tender but still crunchy. Add the garlic and keep cooking until fragrant (2-3 minutes). Stir often so the garlic does not burn.
- Then, pour the sauce mixture into the pan and bring to a simmer. Let it cook for 1-2 minutes, then add the chives (or green onions) and noodles). Stir to combine, let everything warm up together and serve with more sesame seeds and chives. Enjoy!
- There are many different kinds of udon noodles you can find and use for this recipe. The frozen thick udon are the best choice and you can find them in local Asian markets. In regular grocery stores, you can often find large udon noodles, but in sealed vacuumed packaging. They work well too, although they have a less chewy bite and they break easier. Try to avoid the thin dried udon noodles, although they are fine too if that's all you can find. You can check out the blog post for more info!
- Keep the leftovers in an airtight container for 2-3 days. Reheat in a pan or the microwave and add a splash of water if needed.
- For more protein, serve with a side of tofu or tempeh or include edamame in the noodles dish.
- You can also cook some vegetables with the noodles, such as broccoli, bok choy, mushrooms, carrots, etc. Check out the blog post for more ideas!