Sesame Noodles with Napa Cabbage
Chock full of vegetables and packed with flavor, sesame noodles are your new favorite meatless dinner. Adjust the heat by increasing or decreasing the red pepper flakes. Make this gluten-free or soy-free by using gluten-free noodles and coconut aminos. Sesame noodles with Napa cabbage are a five star recipe in my house, meaning all five family members love them.
When you cut the Napa cabbage, shred the carrots and julienne the red pepper, you’ll realize just how many veggies are hiding in these sesame noodles. I add the veggies to a large colander and drain the noddles directly over the top. They’ll soften just enough to still add crunch and texture to the finished dish.
I’ve made this recipe with udon noodles, soba noodles, gluten-free rice noodles, linguine and buckwheat noodles. Choose your own adventure! I most often use dried udon noodles and love how their texture stands up to the vegetables.
What are udon noodles?
Udon are Japanese wheat-based noodles, usually found in broth-based soups. Similar to soba noodles, but a little thinner. They have a slightly chewy texture. You can also find fresh udon noodles at most Asian markets. Cook them just like you cook regular pasta noodles, in well-salted boiling water.
Can you substitute gluten-free noodles
Absolutely, make this with gluten-free rice noodles or buckwheat noodles. Or try it with your favorite gluten-free linguine.
Can you omit the sugar?
Yes. I’ve been skipping the sugar on the regular. It does balance the heat of the red pepper flakes, but leave it out entirely if you’re trying to cut down on sugar.
How can I make this soy-free?
Use coconut aminos instead of soy sauce or tamari!
Can you eat this cold?
You must! It’s the best leftover lunch. One of the best things about making this recipe is having the leftovers tucked away in your fridge.
Here’s a quick video I made with Memorial Hermann Health Systems that shows how easy it is to make sesame noodles with Napa cabbage. We featured it as one of the recipes in their award-winning Resolution Challenge.
This week, I’m teaching this recipe to the Founding Members in my membership group. If you’d like to be notified when the doors open for more members this September, sign up for the waitlist! Smart in the Kitchen School is my new teaching website where I’ll share monthly lessons, knife skills and kitchen tips! Hope you’ll join me there!
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Sesame Noodles with Napa Cabbage
- Kosher salt
- 5 tablespoons soy sauce, tamari or coconut aminos
- 3 tablespoons unseasoned rice vinegar
- 2 tablespoons packed brown sugar (dark or light) or coconut sugar
- 1 tablespoon toasted sesame oil
- 1/4 cup avocado oil, grapeseed or other neutral oil
- 5 teaspoons sesame seeds, black or white
- 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
- 10 scallions, sliced thin
- 1 head Napa cabbage, halved lengthwise and sliced very thin
- 3 carrots, grated
- 1 red pepper, julienned
- 10 ounces udon noodles
- Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil.
- In a small bowl, whisk together soy sauce, rice vinegar, sugar, and sesame oil.
- In a large skillet over medium heat, warm the oil. Add the sesame seeds and red pepper flakes. Cook until the pepper flakes become fragrant and the seeds start to brown, about 3 to 5 minutes. Take the skillet off the heat and stir in the scallions and the soy sauce mixture.
- Place the sliced vegetables in a colander in the sink.
- Cook the noodles until al dente by following the package instructions. Once the noodles are done cooking, drain them over the vegetables in the colander.
- Heat the sauce in the skillet up to a simmer. Add the drained noodles and vegetables back to the skillet with the sauce and stir well to combine. Keep the skillet over the lowest heat while combining the ingredients to keep everything warm.