Vegan Yaki Udon (Stir-Fried Noodles)

Japanese cuisine is undeniably delicious, but as vegans, it can be disappointing to find that most dishes incorporate animal products, including the original yaki udon, which is traditionally made with meat and a seafood-based sauce.

To make this recipe vegan, I’ve swapped in mushrooms, tofu, and a few colorful veggies to create a dish that is equally satisfying. Oh, and I’ve also made a delicious sweet sauce that can be applied to many dishes other than this one too!

yaki udon

🧐 What is Yaki Udon?

Yaki Udon is a Japanese dish made with udon noodles, which are thick, chewy noodles made from wheat flour, salt, and water. “Yaki” means “grilled” or “stir-fried”, and “udon” refers to the type of noodles used.

To make yaki udon, the noodles are typically stir-fried with vegetables like sliced cabbage, carrots, onions, and bell peppers, and meats such as sliced beef, pork, chicken, or even shrimp. Unfortunately, this dish is not vegan.

Not only is the original recipe made with meats and sometimes seafood, but some of the ingredients used for the sauce are also not vegan because they tend to include oyster sauce and fish sauce.

Yaki udon is incredibly popular and can be found in many restaurants across Japan, as well as around the world. It is often served as a main dish or a side dish alongside other Japanese favorites like sushi and tempura.

🗒️ Ingredients You’ll Need

To replace the meat-based proteins and fish-based ingredients in the sauce, I have found optimal plant-based substitutes to replicate the flavors in the original dish.

ingredients needed for this recipe

For the sauce, I’ve used these ingredients:

  • Mushroom sauce
  • Soy sauce
  • Mirin sauce
  • Brown sugar.

And for the remaining ingredients I’ve used:

  • Sesame oil
  • Onion
  • Garlic
  • Shiitake mushrooms
  • Bok Choy
  • Carrot
  • Tofu
  • Fresh udon noodles
  • Spring onions
  • Sesame seeds.

I’ve listed these ingredients by order of use. In other words, I start by creating the sauce and then add the following ingredients to the pan in order. The sauce is usually added after adding the udon noodles, near the end.

What Udon Noodles Should You Use?

Udon Noodles are typically sold in two forms: dried or fresh.

Dried udon noodles are not cooked and require boiling in water to rehydrate and cook before using them in the recipes. The cooking time for dried udon noodles depends on the thickness of the noodles, but it should take between 7-10 minutes.

Fresh udon noodles, on the other hand, are pre-cooked and can be used directly in a recipe after being rinsed in cold water to remove excess starch and prevent sticking.

These are the ones I use for this recipe as you can pretty much use them immediately and have your vegan yaki udon ready in minutes. Using fresh udon noodles also leaves you less room for mistakes, as you don’t need to be able to cook them properly— so you can avoid issues such as your noodles sticking.

They can be easily found in the refrigerated section of an Asian grocery store or in specialty stores. You might also be able to find them in big supermarkets but that will also depend on your location.

vegan yaki udon

👨🏻‍🍳 How To Make Vegan Yaki Udon

To start making this delicious vegan yaki udon, the first step is to create the sauce, and then prepare all the ingredients (i.e: chopping and slicing) so that it’s much easier to timely add the ingredients without risking anything burning.

the four sauces
Sauces for the vegan yaki udon.
after you mix the 4 sauces
After you mix the sauces.

So, when making the sauce for this recipe, you’re going to add mushroom sauce, soy sauce, mirin sauce, and brown sugar to a small bowl and stir until it’s all seamlessly incorporated. Set it aside for later use.

adding the sesame oil, onion, and garlic
Adding the sesame oil, onion, and garlic.
When they get soft and translucent
Soft and translucent onion and garlic.

Bring out a Chinese pan or wok, place it on the stove, and turn on the heat to medium-high. Add the sesame oil along with the diced onion and garlic. Sauteé for a few minutes until the onion and garlic are both soft and translucent.

Adding the tofu

The next step is to add the tofu and stir-fry it for a few minutes until it gains a little brownish color and it’s a bit more crispy. Don’t forget to stir frequently to prevent burning the onion, garlic, and tofu.

adding the mushrooms and carrots

Add the mushrooms and carrots. Stir until everything is mixed together and add a lid so that the mushrooms and carrots are able to cook properly and develop their softness. 10 minutes in medium-high heat should suffice to cook both ingredients.

Adding the bok choy.
Adding the bok choy.

You’ll then want to add the bok choy, and also let it cook for a little bit until it softens. 5-10 minutes should be enough to cook the bok choy.

Adding the noodles
Adding the noodles.

While the bok choy is cooking, you want to prepare the udon noodles. This means taking them out of the package and rinsing them with cold water on a sieve to remove the excess starchiness that makes them stick. Be sure to also remove excess water before adding them to the pan.

Add the sauce and let them cook for a few minutes.
Adding the sauce and cooking the noodles for a few minutes.

You then add the sauce you prepared at the beginning, and stir, evenly mixing the noodles, veggies, and sauce together. You stir-fry everything for an extra 5 minutes on medium-high heat and turn it off. You’re now free to serve!

yaki udon
Enjoy this amazing vegan yaki udon recipe!

❓Frequently Asked Questions

Can I make this recipe spicy?

Yes, you can adjust this recipe and make it spicy! In fact, you can do so by adding chili flakes to the sauce!

I would recommend adding one teaspoon of chili flakes if you don’t want an overwhelmingly spicy flavor.

What are some possible variations or additions to this recipe?

Well, if you don’t have some of the ingredients I’ve mentioned, you can actually include veggies like bell peppers, broccoli, or cabbage. In terms of protein, you can use different protein sources such as tempeh or seitan.

How do I store and reheat vegan yaki udon leftovers?

You can store the leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.

To reheat, you can either microwave it or stir-fry it in a pan with a little bit of oil until it’s heated through.

Is this recipe budget-friendly?

I personally think this recipe is budget-friendly, plus, you can find most ingredients at most supermarkets, including udon noodles.

Maybe the only ingredient that is a bit more expensive is the mirin sauce, but it’s something that you can use repeatedly and include in future recipes, so its value is justified.

Can I use frozen vegetables for this recipe?

Yes, you can use frozen vegetables for this recipe. Just make sure you thaw them first and pat them dry to remove any excess moisture before adding them to the stir-fry.

Though, keep in mind, that they might take longer to cook than fresh vegetables, so be sure to adjust the cooking time accordingly.

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vegan yaki udon

Vegan Yaki Udon (Stir-Fried Noodles)

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  • Author: Alexandre Valente
  • Total Time: 40 minutes
  • Yield: 3 bowls 1x
  • Diet: Vegan


Since the original Yaki Udon (stir-fried udon noodles) aren’t usually vegan, I’ve developed a completely vegan version that’s both simple to prepare and incredibly flavorful. 


Units Scale

Vegan yaki udon sauce

  • 6 tbsps of mushroom sauce
  • 3 tbsps of soy sauce
  • 3 tbsps of mirin sauce
  • 3 tbsps of brown sugar

Vegan yaki udon

  • 3 tbsps of sesame oil
  • 1/2 onion (diced)
  • 4 cloves of garlic (diced)
  • 250 grams of tofu (chopped in cubes)
  • 100 grams of mushrooms (chopped)
  • 1 medium carrot (diced)
  • 1 cup of bok choy (sliced)
  • 400 grams of udon noodles (fresh)
  • spring onion to garnish (diced)
  • sesame seeds to garnish
  • Lime juice ((optional))


  1. The first step is to create the sauce, mixing the mushroom sauce, soy sauce, mirin sauce, and brown sugar into one bowl. Stir until it’s all incorporated.
  2. The second step is to prepare all the ingredients (i.e: chopping, slicing, and dicing) so you can timely add them without risking burning anything.
  3. On a wok or deep pan, you add the sesame oil, onion, and garlic. You sauteé them on medium heat, until they’re soft and translucent.
  4. Add the tofu, stir-frying it for a few minutes until they’re light brown, perhaps even a little bit crispy. Don’t forget to frequently stir to prevent your ingredients from burning.
  5. Next, you add the mushrooms and carrots. Stir and close the pan with a lid, so that the mushrooms and carrots can quickly become soft. Stir every 20-30 seconds to prevent ingredients from burning.
  6. Then you add the bok choy, and also let it cook for a little bit until it softens. 5-10 minutes should be enough to cook the bok choy.
  7. While the bok choy is cooking, you want to prepare the udon noodles. This means taking them out of the package and rinsing them with cold water on a sieve to remove the excess starchiness that makes them stick. Be sure to also remove excess water and then add them to the pan.
  8. Add the sauce you’ve prepared earlier, and add it to the pan, stirring it with the noodles, tofu, mushrooms, and veggies until it’s evenly mixed with all the ingredients. Let it cook for an extra 5 to 10 minutes and turn off the heat.
  9. Serve onto bowls and garnish with spring onions and sesame seeds. Although it’s a personal preference, I also fancy adding a bit of lime juice to contrast with the sweetness of the sauce. I think it gives it a nice touch. Enjoy!
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 30 minutes
  • Category: Main Course
  • Cuisine: Japanese

🙏🏻 Before you go, I’ve got a favor to ask!

I’d love to get your feedback on this recipe! Feel free to leave a comment below detailing your experience— and let others know how you feel about it!

Of course, you can also ask any questions you may have about the recipe— and we’ll try to respond ASAP.

chopsticks and vegan yaki udon

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