Vegetable Yakisoba is a Japanese dish of fried noodles and can be made with a variety of meats, just vegetables or vegetables and Tofu. The dish is fried in a wok and then tossed with a savoury and sweet sauce.
Yakisoba is often served at takeaway restaurants that specialise in Japanese food or Japanese fusion cuisine all over the world. It’s so delicious and extremely quick to make at home, it will be ready before the takeaway delivery arrives so you don’t always have to order this in, you can make it at home from scratch so that you know exactly what has gone in it and how it was prepared!
What is Yakisoba Exactly?
Yakisoba translates is a Japanese term that can be translated to fried noodle. Yake means grilled or fired and Soba stands for Noodles. So in short it’s a Japanese noodle stir fry made with wheat noodles. The traditional version contains pork belly and an assortment of veggies.
Yakisoba is a relatively new dish that’s appeared in the early 20th century, you can often find it in food stalls and at festivals. It’s a super easy street food that contains all kinds of goodness. Making it perfect for an easy mid-week meal or a Friday night take-out substitute.
Veggies to Use for a Yakisoba
You can use most vegetables in a yakisoba dish, it’s one of those dishes that you can use when you’ve got a few things left in the fridge that needs eating. Cabbage normally form part of a vegetable yakisoba dish but can be swapped out if you don’t have it available. Vegetable options include:
- Zucchini / Courgette
- Sugar snap peas
- French beans
- Bell peppers
- Baby corn
- Bok Choy
- Spring onion
- Brown onion
Yakisoba noodles are very similar to ramen noodles (which is a good replacement for yakisoba noodles). The noodles in vegetable yakisoba are Chinese noodles made from wheat, they are yellow but don’t contain any egg. You can find these noodles pre-cooked from most supermarkets, which is the easiest option as you can just add them straight to the wok.
We’re using cooked noodles in this recipe, but if you’ve got the uncooked option just follow the pack instructions and portion recommendation. Once cooked add them to the wok in the same way as outlined in the recipe.
What can I Substitute for Yakisoba Noodles?
The closest substitute for Yakisoba Noodles is Ramen noodles if you can find them. Alternatively, you can also use chow mein or instant dried ramen noodles are usually easy to find. Just discard the seasoning packet that you find in dried noodles, cook the noodles according to the pack instructions and make your own vegetable yakisoba sauce as outlined in this recipe.
If you can’t find any noodles then there is always the option to use spaghetti, but it won’t be the ideal swap. We’d use this a s a last resort option – unless you’re going for a fusion dish of course.
Adding Tofu (optional)
If you enjoy Tofu and would like to add extra protein to the dish you can easily do so. Just make sure you’ve removed as much moisture as possible before frying. You can marinade the Tofu with a bit of soy sauce or something similar for extra flavour, but again remember to remove as much moisture as possible before adding to the wok.
What is in Yakisoba Sauce?
- Vegetarain Worcestershire Sauce
- Dark soy sauce
- Rice wine vinegar
- Organic tomato puree
- Vegetarian oyster sauce
- Organic brown sugar
You can leave the Worcestershire sauce out if needed, just add a bit more soy sauce, vinegar and brown sugar. The sauce needs to be thick, and rich, just enough to thoroughly coat the noodles. Taste-wise it should be slightly sweet and not spicy. For the best noodles, add the sauce right before serving.
Vegetarian or Vegan Worcestershire
Traditional shop-bought Worcestershire usually contain anchovies or fish sauce so be mindful that it’s not vegetarian or vegan. However, you can make your own or buy a vegan version from a store. Here is a handy recipe for a homemade vegan Worcestershire sauce from Karissa’s Vegan Kitchen if you’d like to make your own.
If this recipe is made as a meatless Monday or part of a less meat diet then you can use traditional Worcestershire sauce if that is what you have in your cupboard.
Tips for Making Veggie Yakisoba
To make vegetable yakisoba noodles you should use a flat pan, however, a wok can also work if you’d like to use one. You’re at home, so you can make this your own. Ideally, if you can use an uncoated pan that’s great, as non-stick may not be as healthy as you think it is. As we say, when in doubt just leave it out.
For the Noodles
- 1 organic onion sliced
- 1 organic bell pepper chopped
- 100g organic mushrooms
- 100 g roughly chopped organic cabbage
- 1 large carrot cut Julienne style
- 4 portions wok ready or cooked yakisoba noodles
- 2 tbsp good quality organic vegetable oil
For the Sauce
- 2 tbsp Worcestershire – vegan or homemade (see linked recipe above)
- 2 tbsp dark soy sauce
- 1/4 tsp rice wine vinegar
- 1/2 tsp organic tomato puree
- 2 tbsp vegetarian oyster sauce
- 1 tbsp organic brown sugar
- In a bowl combine all the ingredients for the sauce and mix well.
- Heat the vegetable oil in a wok, add the vegetables and stir fry on medium to high heat until they become tender.
- Add the noodles to the wok and fry for a minute or two.
- Lastly, add the sauce and stir for another two minutes. Remove from the heat and serve.
Yakisoba is a carb-heavy dish, but if you add a higher ratio of vegetables into your dish then it can be a healthy option. You can even bulk up the veggie amounts that we’ve added to this recipe if you’d like to, using fewer noodles and more high fibre veg will make it score even higher on the healthy food chart.
Yakisoba is a Japanese fried noodle dish that translates to grilled noodles. Both chow mein and yakisoba contain a form of fried noodles. Chinese chow mein uses crispy crinkly looking fried wheat noodles that have a light flour coating are then added to chopped veggies and a sauce.
Yakisoba uses Japanese Soba noodles. Soba noodles are roughly the same thickness as spaghetti and are made with a mix of wheat and buckwheat flour.