Stir-fried glass noodles is a quick and easy recipe inspired by different Asian and South East Asian dishes. Filled with vegetables, protein, and flavorful sauce, this meal is perfect for weeknights when hunger strikes!
Why you’ll love this recipe
- Quick: Ready in 20 minutes or less, there are no excuses not to try stir-fried glass noodles!
- Easy: Simple ingredients and easy cooking techniques are utilized for this recipe. You don’t need to be a high-level chef to create delicious food!
- Affordable: This recipe is made with affordable ingredients that are easily customizable. It’s the perfect way to use up leftovers in the fridge that would otherwise go to waste.
- Nutritious: With a perfect balance of protein, carbs, and fat, the whole family can feel good about eating this healthy dish.
What are stir-fried glass noodles?
There are many ways to prepare stir-fried glass noodles, from Thai pad woon sen and Korean japchae to Chinese lo han jai (Buddha’s delight). With endless customizations, there is no right or wrong way to make this easy dish.
The recipe I’m sharing today is a loose take on Thai-style pad woon sen, which is made with glass noodles and vegetables. It is common to include chicken or seafood and oyster sauce, but I’ve decided to make a plant-based version of course!
You can add tofu or tempeh for extra protein, or leave it out for a simple, vegetable-forward bowl. Sometimes, eggs are added to the dish, but these can be replaced with Just Egg.
What are glass noodles?
Glass noodles, also known as Korean vermicelli, cellophane noodles, sweet potato glass noodles, or mung bean noodles, are made from water and starch. The starch component primarily comes from mung beans, but other options like sweet potatoes and tapioca are sometimes used. For reference, I’m using sweet potato glass noodles in my recipe.
Like rice noodles, glass noodles are sold dry, so they need to soak before adding them to your cooking. Once cooked, the appearance of the noodles is crystal clear — hence their name!
Is it vegan?
Typical pad Thai and pad woon sen recipes feature meat like beef, chicken, or pork. Shrimp paste and fish or oyster sauce are often incorporated into many Asian and South East Asian recipes. For this one, I’ve kept it plant-based with just vegetables, but you can easily add your favorite plant-based protein!
Ingredients & Substitutions
- Sweet potato glass noodles: Look for these in the international aisle of large grocery stores. If you can’t find them there, check your local Asian food market. If you still can’t find glass noodles, replace them with rice vermicelli.
- Veggies: The vegetables are entirely customizable, but I personally love shiitake mushrooms, red chilis, carrots, red onions, and Chinese chives for garnishing! If you go with other vegetables, just keep a similar overall weight.
- Sauce: The sauce is my favorite part! I add fresh minced garlic for savoriness, sesame oil for a toasty flavor, soy sauce for more umami-rich notes, rice vinegar for tanginess, salt for flavor enhancement, and brown sugar to balance out the salt and spice! Feel free to use a neutral vegetable oil in place of the sesame oil, but I love the taste.
- Step 1: Slice all the vegetables, Chinese chives, and red chilis (de-seed the chilis if you are sensitive to spice).
- Step 2: In a large pan, cook the noodles in boiling water as per package instructions. The noodles should be completely translucent when cooked. Taste-test the noodles before draining them. Rinse the noodles under cold water, then drain them completely. Roughly cut the noodles with a pair of kitchen shears. Transfer them into a large mixing bowl, and coat them with about a tablespoon of oil.
- Step 3: Add more oil into a large skillet or wok over medium to high heat. Sauté the mushrooms until soft and golden brown. Season them with a pinch of salt and a few teaspoons of soy sauce. Once soft, remove the mushrooms from the heat and add them to the mixing bowl with glass noodles.
- Step 4: Back to the same skillet. Add more oil, and turn the heat down to medium. Sauté the onions for 30 seconds, then add the carrots and cook for another 30 seconds. Add the garlic and cook for about a minute while frequently stirring to avoid the garlic from burning.
- Step 5: Toss in the red chilis, chives, a pinch of salt, and a teaspoon of soy sauce. Mix it well, remove the skillet from the heat, and transfer the vegetables to the mixing bowl with the glass noodles.
- Step 6: Taste test and adjust the seasonings to suit your preferences. Garnish with sesame seeds on an individual basis, and serve with a side of your favorite crunchy chili oil for some heat and extra flavor!
What to serve with stir-fried glass noodles
Stir-fried glass noodles make an easy and delicious main on their own, but you can also turn this recipe into a side dish by pairing it with meals like these:
For garnishes, I recommend chili garlic sauce, Sriracha, red pepper flakes, sliced green onions or Chinese chives, chopped peanuts, or lime wedges. You can also add a drizzle of sesame oil for a toasty, slightly nutty finish.
Storage & Reheating
There’s nothing better than having leftover stir fry for lunch or dinner the following day (some might even argue leftovers are better). Check out these easy storage instructions:
- Fridge: Transfer stir-fried glass noodles to an airtight container and store them in the fridge for up to 3 days.
- Freezer: You can freeze leftover stir-fried glass noodles, but the vegetables and noodles will be much softer once thawed. I recommend storing leftovers in the fridge, but they will last in the freezer for a few months in a freezer-safe bag or container.
- Reheat: You can heat your glass noodles again in a pan over medium-low. This will take about 3-4 minutes, but just make sure the noodles and vegetables are warmed all the way through. Alternatively, you can heat leftovers up in the microwave in 30-second intervals.
- Protein: Add protein by using seitan chicken, tofu, tempeh, or Just Egg. Or, keep it simple like this recipe, and leave the protein out entirely.
- Noodles: Swap out the glass noodles for rice noodles, soba noodles, rice, or any other vegan option you can find.
- Vegetables: Add or replace the listed vegetables with options like broccoli, baby corn, bell peppers, cabbage, baby bok choy, Chinese cabbage, spring onions, enoki mushrooms, or snow peas.
- If possible, use a wok: Not everyone has access to a wok, but if you do, it’s the preferred choice for cooking stir-fries. It handles high heat well, and it cooks the vegetables much faster on its sloped edges.
- Prep in advance: Before you start heating your work (or pan), make sure you’ve diced and sliced all of the protein and vegetables. Once you start cooking a stir-fry, things move pretty quickly, so it’s always best to be prepared!
- Time your cooking: Don’t dump everything in all at once! Cook the vegetables that take longer first (like carrots and broccoli), then add softer vegetables (like peppers and snow peas) as you go.
This particular stir-fried noodles recipe is gluten-free, but it will depend on the specific recipe. The glass noodles themselves are gluten-free, but you will need to double-check any additional ingredients you incorporate (specifically those in the sauce).
Although helpful, a wok is not absolutely necessary to make stir-fried glass noodles. You can use any large non-stick skillet or pan that is available to you!
After rehydrating the noodles, it’s best to rinse them in cold water to remove excess starch. From there, you’ll easily be able to add them to the wok (or pan) without them sticking together.
If you enjoyed making stir-fried glass noodles, be sure to check out some more of my favorite noodle and pasta dishes like these:
- Chow fun noodles: Cantonese-inspired noodle dish with crispy tofu and vegetables.
- TikTok ramen: A vegan version of the infamous TikTok ramen hack.
- Vegan ramen bowl: A simple ramen bowl with zesty lemongrass broth.
- Vegan baked pasta: Another vegan version of this viral feta and pasta bake.
Stir Fried Glass Noodles
- ¾ lb glass noodles vermicelli
- 5 cups shiitake mushrooms sliced
- 4 tablespoon toasted sesame seed oil or any preferred cooking oil
- 1 tablespoon garlic minced or paste
- 1 tablespoon brown sugar
- 3 teaspoon salt
- 3 whole red chilis thinly sliced
- 3 ounces rice vinegar
- 3 ounces soy sauce
- ½ cup carrots julienne cut
- ½ cup red onions thinly sliced
- 1 ½ cup Chinese chives chopped 2" long
- Slice all vegetables: thinly slice mushrooms and onions. Julienne cut carrots and roughly chop the chives 2 inches long. Thinly slice the red chilis lengthwise (de-seed, if sensitive to spice).
- In a large pan, cook noodles in boiling water per package instructions. Noodles should be completely translucent when cooked. Taste test the noodles before draining. Rinse noodles under cold water and drain properly. Roughly cut noodles with a pair of kitchen shears, if needed. Transfer noodles into a large mixing bowl and coat with 1 tbs of oil.
- Add 2 tablespoon of oil into a hot skillet over medium to high heat. Add mushrooms into the skillet and toss till properly coated with oil. Stir fry mushrooms till soft and golden brown. Stir in ¼ teaspoon of salt and 2 teaspoon soy sauce. Remove from heat and add sautéed mushrooms to the mixing bowl with glass noodles.
- Back to the same skillet. Add 1 tbs oil over medium heat. Add onions and cook for 30 seconds, then add carrots and cook for another 30 seconds. Add garlic and cook for another 30 seconds while frequently stirring to avoid garlic from burning.
- Toss in the red chili, chives, ¼ teaspoon of salt and 1 teaspoon of soy sauce. Mix it well, remove from heat and add the stir-fry to the mixing bowl with glass noodles.
- Toss brown sugar, rice vinegar and the reminder of the salt and soy sauce into the mixing bowl with the noodles. Optional: You can add your favorite garlic chili oil for some heat and extra flavor before tossing.
- Test test and adjust seasoning, if desired. Garnish with sesame seeds before serving.