I’ve had it on my to-do list for quite some time to recreate a favorite dish from a certain fast food noodle place, and I finally got around to it. Shiitake mushrooms, carrots, bean sprouts, and broccoli are stir fried with thick Udon noodles in a sweet and tangy teriyaki sauce. It was so easy! I mean ridiculously easy, you guys. And the result is ridiculously tasty. Not trying this dish would be, well, ridiculous.
My procrastination was due in part to the fact that I wanted to come up with a healthier teriyaki sauce, and I really had no idea how to do that. I’ve never made teriyaki sauce, and the only ingredients I knew for sure that were (probably) involved were sugar and soy sauce. After a little research, I discovered that those were indeed the main ingredients, soy sauce and a LOT of sugar, as well as Japanese wine. Since I was trying to health-ify these awesome noodles, so that I could slurp them unabashedly, I knew the sugar needed to be dialed down a notch. I also decided to forgo the traditional mirin (a Japanese sweet rice wine) because I wanted to create a sauce with relatively easy to find ingredients. I ended up using orange and pineapple juice to add a hint of sweet and tang, and I just love the flavor! Obviously this is not a traditional, or authentic teriyaki sauce, but it sure does the trick. This teriyaki sauce makes for an awesome marinade, stir fry sauce, or even a dipping sauce. My latest obsession is pan-carmelizing Brussels sprouts in this sauce. Oh. My. Goodness. You have to taste it to believe it.
These noodles are even better than the ones I used to order out. This dish tastes strikingly similar, but fresher and more vibrant! I have to say, Noodles and Company does a pretty good job of offering vegetarian and vegan items, and their Japanese Pan Noodles with organic tofu option is meat free, dairy free, and egg free. Unfortunately, like most restaurant food, it still has quite a bit of added sugar and fat. Also, probably because it’s cheap, they use refined soy oil to cook all of their dishes. We eat soy products 2 – 3 times a week, usually in the form of organic and non-gmo tofu or tempeh, but I generally try to avoid refined soy products and soy oil. This healthier version doesn’t rely on sugar and fat to be tasty, but instead fresh citrus and fruit flavors and fresh veggies.
If you’re a noodle fanatic like me, you will definitely want to try these noodles. Once you have your yummy teriyaki sauce, these vegan noodles are just a pan-sauté away. Dinner in less than thirty minutes? That’s faster than ordering, driving, picking up, and coming back. Also you’ll save some money. Making this entire recipe at home for my family of three was cheaper ordering just one dish of it at the restaurant. So go ahead and get your slurp on 🙂
Healthy Homemade Teriyaki Sauce (or sub bottled teriyaki sauce)
- 1/2 cup pineapple juice*
- juice of 2 oranges
- 1/3 cup low sodium tamari
- 2 Tbsp coconut nectar (or maple syrup)
- 1 – 2 Tbsp coconut sugar (or other granulated sweetener)
- 1 Tbsp rice vinegar
- 1 tsp fresh grated ginger
- 1 tsp arrowroot powder dissolved in 1/4 cup cold water
Add all ingredients except arrowroot powder/water in a small sauce pan. Bring to a low boil, reduce heat to a simmer and add arrowroot dissolved in water. Simmer for about 5-10 minutes, until slightly thickened. Sauce will thicken a bit more as it cools. Makes about 3/4 – 1 cup.
*For the pineapple juice, I just used canned pineapple juice, but you could probably use fresh pineapple instead. I would try about 1 1/4 cup of chopped pineapple, add it to a blender with rest of ingredients (except arrowroot and water) and blend. Then add this mixture to the pot. Cook as directed then strain out the sauce through a fine sieve.
Vegan Japanese Pan Fried Noodles
- 2 tsp coconut oil or a splash of water
- 8 oz shiitake mushrooms, de-stemmed and sliced
- 1 cup broccoli florets
- 2 large carrots, julienned or sliced
- pinch or two fresh grated ginger
- 1/4 cup of healthy homemade teriyaki sauce (above) or store-bought teriyaki sauce
- 1 7 oz. package of cooked stir fry Udon noodles (I use KA-ME brand or you can take the noodles out of a package of Annie Chun’s Udon Soup)*
- 1 cup Asian bean sprouts
- Optional: 8 oz sprouted organic tofu or tempeh, cubed (see notes below for preparation)
- Optional Toppings: black sesame seeds, fresh cilantro, lime wedges
- For heat add red pepper flakes
Heat the coconut oil or water over medium high heat in a large wok or saute pan. Add mushrooms, broccoli, carrots, and ginger. Stir fry for 3 – 5 minutes. Add the noodles and the stir fry for a couple of minutes. Add the teriyaki sauce and continue to saute, coating veggies and noodles. Add the bean sprouts and toss. Remove from heat, plate, and top with optional ingredients.
To make the tofu: I like to start with the tofu when I make this recipe. Preheat your oven or toaster oven to 375 and prepare a baking sheet with parchment paper. Heat about 2 tsp of coconut oil in your saute pan or wok over medium heat, add tofu cubes and pan fry, turning the cubes or gently shaking the pan to lightly brown each side, about 5 minutes. Add a couple of tablespoons of the teriyaki sauce and toss the cubes to coat them. Transfer the tofu cubes to the baking sheet and place in the oven while you prepare the noodles. The tofu will be firm and delightfully crisp on the edges by the time you’re ready to plate the noodles.
*You can substitute any type of noodles for the udon, such as gluten free pasta, rice noodles, even spiralized zucchini (zoodles) or other veggie noodle like spiralized butternut squash or sweet potato.