My most favorite comfort food is a bowl of Japanese Udon.  The combination of hot, flavorful soup broth with thick, chewy, wheat-flour noodles does more than just satisfy my hunger pains.  It nourishes me from the inside out.  If I’m having a hard day I eat Udon.  If I’m having a great day I eat Udon.  It comforts me like my favorite fleece jacket I never want to take off.  Udon is food for the soul.

One of the most appealing aspects of this fast-food Japanese dish is how easy it is to prepare at home.  I usually have all the ingredients in my kitchen so I can prepare it in a moments notice using fresh vegetables, eggs, and meat to top my bowl off with.

Traditional Udon broth is made from dashi, a soup base made of shaved bonito flakes, kombu, soy sauce, and Mirin.  Although these ingredients, including the noodles, may not be readily available at your local supermarket you will find them in Asian grocery stores or online.  And if the idea of preparing homemade broth seems intimidating then you can go to most grocery stores for fresh single serving Udon noodles with a flavor packet in the produce section.

I prefer to buy my noodles frozen so I can eat them anytime at a moments notice.  It’s a great staple dish to add to your family menu because you can make your soup as basic as noodles and broth or much more elaborate.  I’ve found my kids love the basic version in the same way they prefer plain spaghetti and cheese pizza.  But occasionally I’ll prepare a fancier version by adding fresh vegetables and tofu.

Although today’s recipe isn’t a traditional soup base, it still incorporates the basic principles of broth with all the ingredients easily found at your local store.  If you cannot find Udon noodles then substitute with spaghetti noodles and you will have a great family meal.  Enjoy!

Vegetarian Udon

Recipe: Vegetarian Udon

  • Servings: 4
  • Consider this savory udon soup as a form of Japanese comfort food.

    Ingredients

      • 1 lb. frozen or fresh Udon noodles prepared according to package directions
      • 4 cups vegetable broth
      • 2 cloves garlic, minced
      • 1/2 inch piece fresh ginger, minced
      • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
      • 1 tablespoon sesame oil
      • 2 teaspoons sugar
      • 1 cup medium tofu, cubed
      • 1 cup broccoli florets
      • 1/2 cup matchstick carrots
      • 2 cups spinach
      • 1/2 cup sliced mushrooms
      • 1 tablespoon sesame seeds
      • Optional protein: Feel free to add a protein like thinly sliced fish or a runny fried egg on top.

    Instructions

      • Bring broth, garlic, ginger, soy sauce, sesame oil and sugar to a boil for one minute and reduce heat to a simmer.
      • Add tofu, broccoli, carrots, spinach, mushrooms and cook for three minutes or until broccoli is tender.
      • Divide Udon between four bowls with a pinch of sesame seeds on top.
      • Optional protein: Feel free to add a protein like thinly sliced fish or a runny fried egg on top.

    You Might Also Like

    • Aviva Goldfarb

      This looks like the ultimate healthy comfort food for a chilly day, Alice. Lovely!

    • Jody

      I really don’t like leaving negative comments but I feel I need to let others know that this is not a good recipe. If McDonald’s make udon soup, this is what it would taste like.

      • Matt G.

        Did you make the recipe, Jody? It sounds great to me, so I’d love hear how you’d suggest improving it.

      • Anne

        Hardly and I don’t think so Jody… This is a healthy, tasty soup recipe which you can super size and not feel guilty about :)

    • Rebecca

      If McDonald’s served this, I might eat there more often. :) I stumbled over this post via a Tastespotting search – we thought this was quite good without being at all fussy. I do think udon noodles have such a different texture than spaghetti, I wouldn’t bother with a substitution.

      • bentman

        The only problem I see with most Udon is the sodium levels. Miso and many of the processed ingredients are very high in sodium. The only reason I don’t eat more. This one does not seem too bad depending on the broth you use.

    • bentman

      I wish they hadn’t added they had left if fully vegetarian and not added the optional animal protein (not the eggs, but the fish)

    • Lionors

      Is there some substitute for the tofu? I cannot eat soy due to medical reasons. Would chicken work? The rest of it looks pretty good.

      • Alice Currah

        Hi, you can omit anything or add anything you want. Hope that helps.