When asked about my favorite food, I always choose Asian food first. And vegan garlic noodles are my favorite! Seriously, I could eat Asian food every day of my life, and I could live happily ever after. Unfortunately, garlic noodles generally swim in oil or contain dairy or meat products when eaten out. So, similar to most of my recipes, I veganized my favorite garlic noodles recipe. So, let's dive into a quick and easy garlic noodle recipe that takes minutes to make.
Of course, I wanted more than just garlic noodles, so I added some of my favorite vegetables. However, the true beauty of this garlic noodle recipe is with or without the veggies; it tastes fabulous.
One of my other favorite recipes is my Vegan Spicy Thai Drunken Noodles with Seared Tofu recipe, but this time I wanted thinner noodles and a less spicy sauce. Also, I chose to add a little tofu, but the dish tastes fabulous with or without it.
What type of noodles are used to make a great garlic noodles recipe?
Traditionally, garlic noodles are linguini, spaghetti, or angel hair pasta. Instead, I chose my favorite Asian gluten-free thin rice noodles. For an additional gluten-free option, gluten-free fettuccine noodles also work well for this dish. But, in a pinch, any thin pasta you prefer works just as well.
Whether you are allergic to gluten or want a healthier pasta option, gluten-free fettuccine noodles are a good choice. Chewy in texture and subtle in flavor, noodles absorb the flavors of a fantastic garlic sauce.
In the past, gluten-free pasta disintegrated and tasted gummy when cooked. However, today's gluten-free pasta cooks precisely like regular pasta, with healthier benefits. So, I choose gluten-free pasta when I cook more often than not.
What veggies are in this vegan garlic noodle recipe?
Although most garlic noodle recipes are just noodles, veggies make me happy, and since this is my recipe, I am adding veggies. Like all my recipes, you can add your favorite veggies or follow my veggie lead. Without the vegetables, the garlic noodles taste as fabulous as vegetables.
Because the focus of this garlic noodle recipe is garlic, I chose vegetables I think to enhance and work well with garlic:
- Red cabbage
- Snow peas
- Mame (shelled edamame)
- Red bell pepper
But, if you want to add additional veggies, I suggest:
- Bok choy
- Bean sprouts
- Green peppers
However, the trick to cooking vegetables perfectly when making stir-frying is simple. I like to call it cooking in layers. First, I saute the garlic and the onions together. Then, I added mushrooms, red cabbage, snow peas, and red bell peppers.
As a result, the red peppers stay al dente instead of overcooking. One of my favorite kitchen hack tricks is to cook the broccoli with the noodles in the same pot while you cook the noodles.
Another helpful tip is to NEVER pour the sauce into the wok with the vegetables. Instead, I always add the sauce at the end, so the vegetables don't get soggy. Although this step may seem silly, it's a game-changer.
What is in the garlic noodle sauce?
- Rice Vinegar
- Tamari, Liquid Aminos, or Soy Sauce
- Maple syrup or date syrup
- Chili paste
- Vegan oyster sauce
- Cornstarch or arrowroot powder
Add chili glazed tofu as an addition to the garlic noodles recipe
Extra-firm tofu is my go-to for most recipes because it's easy to handle and contains less water. Again, for me, it's all about convenience. Not only does extra firm tofu take less time to press, but it also stays together when grilling, baking, or sauteeing in a pan.
And then, there is sprouted tofu, the Cadillac of all tofu, in my opinion. Sprouted tofu, for example, doesn't need to be pressed. As a result, I chose extra-firm tofu to use for my chili marinated tofu recipe.
For years I avoided eating tofu. Every time I made tofu, I ended up moving it to the side of the plate because it was either fried or mushy. Most restaurants fry it, which doesn't interest me, and those who bake and grill it seemed to have the same issues I did; soft tasteless tofu.
Then, I figured it out with the help of my EZ Tofu Press. I bought it on Amazon, and I made the same mistakes in the beginning. I didn't follow the directions ( a problem I have, haha); I was in a hurry as I usually am, and I got the same results….tasteless tofu I didn't like.
Not only is the E-Z Tofu Press easy to use, but it is also the cheapest one on the market! I have owned it for years and never had to replace it with a new one. So, if you are looking for a quality tofu press that won't break the bank, this one is a great deal.
Steps for perfectly pressed tofu EVERY TIME!
- First, carefully remove the tofu from the package, discarding the fluid from the container. It's delicate, though, so be gentle.
- Then, place the tofu in the middle of the press and turn both knobs equally about four turns.
- I usually place the tofu press in the sink on its side to drain correctly.
- Turn the knobs every two minutes equally until the tofu is about an inch or inch and a half thickness.
- Most people stop here….NOT YET. Keep turning until the knobs are screwed as far as they can, almost to touch the opposite end.
Chili glazed tofu marinade
- Soy sauce or Tamari for a gluten-free option
- Chili paste
- Maple syrup or date syrup
- White wine or distilled white vinegar
- Red chili pepper
- Corn starch or arrowroot powder
- Sesame seeds for garnish
Once the tofu is marinated overnight, fire up the grill, and grill the chili marinated tofu to add to the garlic noodles.
CHOOSE YOUR COOKING METHOD: (PICK ONE BELOW)
- Pre-heat grill to 400 degrees or medium-low
- You can place the marinated tofu directly on the grill or use a grill basket.
- Grill for 4 minutes on each side, flipping 4 times (total 16 minutes)
- Let cool slightly
BAKED VERSION (If you don't have a grill)
- Follow the exact directions for marinating.
- Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees
- Place tofu pieces on a baking sheet with parchment paper or silicone baking mats; I used my copper crisper pan.
- Dip the marinated tofu on each side with cornstarch
- Place large pieces into the basket, not touching each other.
- Cook on 370 for 10 minutes
- Open the basket and turn large tofu pieces over.
- Bake for 10 more minutes
Regardless of how you choose to cook the tofu, cut it into cubes and add to the vegan garlic noodles and vegetables.
Don't forget to add a generous amount of Thai basil and some sesame seeds for an added touch of color.
If you meal prep and plan, garlic noodles can be made ahead of time and reheated for a quick and easy lunch. So, if it's a quick weeknight meal you are looking for or making lunches for the week, garlic noodles are it!
Are you looking for quick and easy vegan Asian recipes?
- Vietnamese Noodles
- Vegan Spicy Thai Drunken Noodles with Seared Tofu
- Vegan Thai Tahini Veggie Noodle Bowls
- Veggie Miso Ramen Stir Fry
- Asian Coleslaw
- Grilled Asian Sesame Tofu with Vegetable Slaw
- Kale Asian Pasta Salad
- Spicy Tofu Asian Salad with Skinny Peanut Dressing
- Skinny Thai Green Curry
- Curried Cauliflower
- Thai Red Curry Vegetables
- 1 package noodles of choice
- 3 cloves garlic minced
- 16 ounces mushrooms, sliced (I used baby portobello)
- 1 large yellow onion sliced into thin strips
- 1 cup cooked mame shelled edamame
- 1 red bell pepper sliced into thin strips
- 8 ounces snow peas cut in half
- 1 cup chopped red cabbage
Chili Glazed Tofu (Optional)
- 1 14 ounce package extra firm tofu drained and pressed
- 1 inch fresh ginger minced
- 3 Tablespoons chili paste
- 2 Tablespoons soy sauce or Tamari
- 1 Tablespoon maple syrup or date syrup
- ½ Tablespoon white wine vinegar
- 1 red chili pepper seeded and sliced finely (optional; this will add more spice)
- 3 cloves minced garlic
Garlic Noodle Sauce
- ½ cup Thai basil leaves
- Sesame seeds
- 3 scallions chopped
- CHILI GLAZED TOFU (OPTIONAL)
- Cut the tofu into 4 equal slices (makes it easier to grill)
- Prepare marinade by whisking all ingredients together.
- Pour a small amount of marinade into a refrigerator-safe dish.
- Add two pieces of tofu, more marinade, more tofu, and end with marinade.
- Marinate the tofu overnight or for at least a few hours.
- PREPARE GARLIC NOODLE SAUCE
- In a high-speed blender, combine all ingredients, except the corn starch, and blend until smooth.
- Pour the contents into a small saucepan.
- Now, add the cornstarch or arrowroot powder to a small dish and add 1 Tablespoon of water. Combine to make a paste.
- Add the corn starch mixture to the saucepan and stir over medium-low heat. The sauce will thicken upon heating.
- Remove from heat.
- The sauce may be made ahead of time and used to make the rest of the dish.
- GRILLING THE TOFU
- Choose the best cooking method for the tofu provided in the post.
- If grilling the tofu, as I did, pre-heat your grill to 400 degrees.
- Wait until the grill is hot, and place the tofu pieces directly on the grill or use a grilling mat.
- Then, flip tofu every 4 minutes for 16 minutes to get beautiful grill marks.
- Return the grilled tofu to the marinade, and when cooled, cut into cubes.
- Set aside.
- PREPARING THE NOODLES AND VEGETABLES
- Prepare the noodles according to package directions.
- Noodle preparation depends on the type of noodles chosen.
- In the meantime, saute the onion and garlic together in a wok until the onion is translucent. I use a little vegetable broth or water to prevent sticking.
- Then, add the mushrooms and cook until brown.
- Now, add the red cabbage, snow peas, red bell pepper, and mame.
- Toss the vegetables with a wooden spoon until heated through (about 8 minutes total)
- Using tongs, toss the noodles and in ½ the sauce.
- Place the noodles on the center of a tray and add the vegetables.
- Then, add cubed chili-glazed tofu (if used) and sprinkle with sesame seeds and scallions.
- Drizzle the vegetables with the remaining sauce.
- Add a generous portion of Thai basil (or regular basil) to each dish (optional)
Hi! My name is Kathy, I am a retired high school English teacher & vegan enthusiast and blogger. My entire blog is fully plant-based vegan. I truly believe what we eat & how we live determines our health & the preservation of our planet! 🙂