Need some weeknight meal inspiration? No worries! Here’s a comforting, easy, and fast vegan sesame beef yaki udon noodle recipe. This vegan yaki udon noodle stir fry is complete with a savory sesame garlic sauce and chewy homemade seitan beef strips. Similar to Mongolian beef noodles, these sesame vegan udon noodles are packed with flavor and topped with vibrant broccolini, cilantro, and green onions.
This post was originally published on January 9, 2021 and has been updated on April 24, 2022.
Why You’ll Love this Recipe:
- Chewy Udon Noodles: a lovely soft, thick noodle in every bite
- Simple Ingredients: the stir fry sauce is made with pantry friendly essentials or easy to find ingredients
- Easy & Quick Stir Fry: perfect for a weeknight dinner
- Customizable: toss in your fav veggies
What is Yaki Udon?
Yaki Udon is a stir-fried noodle dish made with lots of added vegetables and proteins popular in Japanese cuisine. Udon noodles are made from wheat flour and have a thick, chewy texture. These Japanese noodles hold on to sauce super well and when stir fried get golden with a bit of caramelization.
At the center of this dish are the noodles, so it’s important to use the right ones!
I’m using fresh udon noodles here because they’re thick, chewy, and add an interesting texture to the dish.
I really love these pre-cooked Japanese udon noodles by Ka-Me. They only take 2 minutes to cook and are soft and thick, perfect for slurping.
I’m able to find these at my local grocery store, but you could also check your local Asian markets for them.
The Sesame Sauce
Next up… the sauce. This yaki udon recipe wouldn’t be complete without a salty, slightly spicy, balanced sweet sauce. For this recipe, you’ll need the following ingredients:
Sesame Oil: to add that sesame flavor and also to add fat to the sauce!
White Rice Wine Vinegar: acidity to balance the salty and sweet
Fresh Garlic & Fresh Ginger: flavor, flavor, flavor
Agave Nectar: for a light sweetness
Brown Sugar: to help caramelize the noodles in the stir fry
Sambal Oelek: for some complex, deep spice
Regular Soy Sauce: for that bold, salty, umami flavor
and Cornstarch: to help thicken the sauce
THE BEST VEGAN “BEEF”
And of course, we can’t forget the star of the dish: the best vegan “beef”.
I’m using my homemade vegan “beef” recipe which I love to make in bulk and store in my freezer for quick weeknight meals like this.
I highly, highly recommend you try out this homemade seitan beef because it will change your life! Seriously. The chewy texture is absolutely amazing and unlike anything I’ve been able to find at the store.
In the homemade “beef” recipe, you can either cut your seitan into cubes or thin strips. For this noodle bowl, the strips work the best, so I recommend prepping the seitan that way.
If you’re in a pinch, you could try substituting soy curls. However, please note that soy curls have a softer, spongier, less chewy texture and the end result won’t be the same. Your local Asian market may also have some premade seitan strips near the tofu section.
To make this easy recipe, you’ll want to gather the following utensils:
- Large wok or a large pan
- Tongs or another stirring utensil
How to Make the Udon Noodle Stir Fry
STEP 1: In a large frying pan or wok, heat a tsp of sesame oil over medium heat to medium-high heat.
STEP 2: Saute the yellow onion until translucent. This will take about 5 minutes.
STEP 3: Add the chopped broccolini and add 1 tbsp water. Cook for 10 minutes until soft and the water is dissolved
STEP 4: Mix all of the sauce ingredients together except for the cornstarch. In a separate small bowl, mix 2 tbsp of the sauce with the cornstarch to form a slurry. Set aside.
STEP 5: Add the noodles and ½ the sauce to the pan with the onion and broccolini. Toss until the noodles are coated.
STEP 6: Add the vegan beef (or your protein of choice) and the remainder of the sauce plus the cornstarch mixture. Heat for 2 more minutes until the sauce thickens.
Serving the Vegan Sesame Beef UDON Noodles
These chewy noodles are best served warm and the recipe makes about 4 large servings.
These vegan sesame “beef” udon noodles wouldn’t be complete without garnishes!
I like to top off my bowl with fresh chopped cilantro, a squeeze of lime, a little bit of thinly sliced spring onion, and a sprinkle of black or white sesame seeds.
You can store the noodles in an airtight container in the fridge for around 5 days.
If reheating, you can either pop them in the microwave for a minute or two, or you can re-stir fry them until warmed through.
Substitutions and Add-ins
These noodles and the savory sauce work so well with a variety of different ingredients. You can sub or add in so many different ingredients to this vegetable yaki udon. Below are a few ideas:
- Shiitake mushrooms
- Bean sprouts
- Red Pepper
- Snow peas
- Vegan Oyster Sauce
- Napa Cabbage
- Broccolini: use any veggies you have on hand! Baby Bok Choy would be delicious.
- Rice Vinegar: you can use lime juice or white vinegar instead
- Soy sauce: this can be subbed for Dark Soy Sauce or Reduced Sodium Soy Sauce
- Seitan Beef Strips: you can switch up your choice of protein by subbing in Crispy Tofu (make sure to use extra firm tofu) or Soy Curls
- Cooked Udon Noodles: these pre-cooked chewy wheat noodles can be subbed for dry udon noodles or rice noodles. Rice noodles usually need to be soaked in hot water to soften them, but If using one of these options, you’ll want to follow the package instructions to prepare them.
- Brown sugar: this can be subbed for maple syrup, coconut sugar, or one of the substitutions listed in this post!
Make the Ingredients Ahead of Time: this streamlines the cooking process and ensures nothing becomes overcooked
Prepare the Vegan Beef: Make the vegan beef ahead of time and freeze it so you always have some on hand!
Don’t Overcook the Noodles! Fresh udon only needs to be cooked for a short amount of time. Don’t stir fry them too long or they’ll get too soft.
Yaki Udon FAQ
Most udon noodles are vegan. They’re usually made from wheat flour and some type of starch, like tapioca starch. The brand I use in this recipe is by Ka-Me.
Yaki Udon is a stir-fried noodle dish made with lots of added vegetables and proteins popular in Japanese cuisine.
If you don’t have time to make my homemade vegan beef recipe, you can substitute them with marinated baked tofu, soy curls, or another protein of choice.
looking for some more delicious vegan meal ideas?
Did you make this vegan udon stir fry recipe? I’d love to know! Leave a rating and comment below!
- 1 tbsp sesame oil
- 1 tbsp white rice wine vinegar
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 1/2 tbsp minced ginger
- 2 tbsp agave nectar
- 1 tsp sambal oelek
- 1/4 cup soy sauce
- 2 tbsp brown sugar
- 2 tbsp water
- 1 tbsp cornstarch
Noodles & Beef
- 1 yellow onion, chopped
- 1 package pre-cooked vegan udon
- 1 recipe of TYBM's Homemade Vegan Seitan Beef, cut into strips
- 2 cups chopped broccolini
- Sesame oil for cooking
- Sesame seeds
- Green onion, sliced
- Cilantro, chopped
- Sesame oil
- In a large skillet or wok, heat a teaspoon of sesame oil. Saute the yellow onion until translucent, about 5 minutes.
- Add the chopped broccolini and add 1 tbsp water. Cook for 6-8 minutes until softened and the water is dissolved.
- While the broccolini is cooking, mix all of the sauce ingredients together except for the cornstarch. In a separate small bowl, mix 2 tbsp of the prepared sauce with the cornstarch to form a slurry. Set aside.
- Add the udon noodles to the pan with the onion and broccolini. Cover for 2 mins to loosen the noodles.
- Add ½ the sauce to the pan. Toss until the noodles are coated.
- Add the “beef” strips and the remainder of the sauce plus the cornstarch mixture. Heat for 3-4 more minutes until the sauce thickens and everything is evenly coated.
- Serve immediately and top with cilantro, green onion, and sesame seeds.
- If you are in a pinch and don't have time to prep the homemade seitan "beef" you can try using soy curls. Please note: soy curls have a spongier texture and are less chewy than the homemade seitan, so the end result won't be quite the same.
- For this recipe, I recommend using a wok. I use this one which I love!
Nutrition Information:Yield: 4 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 400Total Fat: 15gSaturated Fat: 3gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 11gCarbohydrates: 24gFiber: 4gSugar: 13gProtein: 20g
Nutritional info is an estimate.
Disclosure: This page contains some affiliate links. Please know that I may receive a percentage or commission from a link included on this page, at no cost to you. I will only recommend a product or service that I have used or believe has substantial value to my readers.