Vegan Dan Dan Noodles

vegan dan dan noodles with scallions and bok choy.

Vegan dan dan noodles is a plant based version of our favorite weeknight meal ~ this easy Chinese noodle bowl has got all the flavor without the meat!

Vegan dan dan noodles in a grey bowl with chopsticks.

vegan dan dan noodles

My regular dan dan noodles recipe which is made with ground pork, is one of my favorites on the site, we make it at least once a month and everybody in the family loves it. Since I’m always looking for delicious plant based meals to help us cut back on meat, vegan dan dan noodles just makes sense. Grant, who loves his meat, raved about this one and has already requested it again. For me, the tofu was every bit as good as the pork, so this meal goes on our regular meal rotation.

what are dan dan noodles?

Dan dan noodles (dandanmian, translation: noodles carried on a pole) are Sichuan Chinese in origin ~ they were actually a street food that vendors would sell hanging from poles balanced across their shoulders. That street food origin speaks to the ease of prep for this meal!

Vegan dan dan noodles with chopsticks and chili oil.

how to veganize dan dan noodles

Dan dan noodles is an ideal candidate for veganizing because there is so much flavor going on in the sauce ~ this goes a long way toward making our dish taste taste just right, even without the meat. We’re keeping everything exactly the same in this recipe, except we’ll substitute extra firm tofu for the ground pork.

The challenge? How to turn a block of tofu into something that comes close to that crispy delicious twice cooked pork in regular dan dan noodles. Here’s how I do it:

Mincing tofu for vegan dan dan noodles.

1. start with extra firm tofu

We’re not going to press, drain, or deep fry our tofu. This is a weeknight meal, after all, and there’s no time for extra steps. We’ll treat the tofu just like we would ground pork, so to approximate the crumbled texture of ground meat we’re going to very finely mince the tofu.

2. pan fry the tofu

Stir fry the tofu in a little vegetable oil just as you do when browning ground meat. This will remove extra moisture. Break up the bits even smaller with the back of your spatula as you cook.

3. twice cook the tofu, this time with seasonings

This is where the magic happens ~ the crumbled tofu takes on flavor and texture during this second stir fry.

a bowl of tofu dan dan noodles.

putting it all together

  1. Whisk together the sauce.
  2. Cook the noodles ~ they take just minutes.
  3. Throw the greens in with the noodles for the last few seconds of cooking.
  4. Serve up the sauce topped with the noodles and veggies.
  5. Garnish with the tofu and chopped nuts.

are dan dan noodles spicy?

As written, this dish is not particularly hot. That is, there are plenty of warm complex flavors built in, but the level of heat is mild to moderate. This will depend on your choice of chili oil, though, they do vary. You want to use Chinese chili oil, which is made with lots of Sichuan pepper bits in the oil. I love Fly by Jing chili crisp ~ this one is so good you’ll want to put it on everything. I also have a recipe for homemade chili oil which is amazing.

vegan dan dan noodles with chopsticks.

more Chinese inspired recipes to try

Vegan dan dan noodles with scallions and bok choy.
5 from 3 votes

Vegan Dan Dan Noodles

Vegan dan dan noodles is a plant based version of our favorite weeknight meal ~ this easy Chinese noodle bowl has got all the flavor without the meat!
Course 30 minute dinner
Cuisine Chinese
Total Time 30 minutes
Yield 4 servings
Calories 516kcal
Author Sue Moran



  • 1/4 cup Chinese chili oil Note: you want chili oil with the chili flakes in it. I love Fly by Jing, or you can make your own with my recipe, here!
  • 3 Tbsp Tamari soy sauce
  • 2 Tbsp tahini (sesame paste) or you can use peanut butter.
  • 2 tsp sugar
  • 1/2 tsp Chinese 5 spice powder
  • 1/2 tsp ground sichuan peppercorns, optional.
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tsp freshly grated ginger


  • 1/2 lb extra firm tofu
  • vegetable oil
  • 1 Tbsp tamari soy sauce
  • 2 tsp hoisin sauce
  • 2 tsp mirin
  • 1/2 tsp Chinese 5 spice powder


  • 1 bunch scallions, trimmed and sliced in 3 inch pieces
  • 2-3 baby bok choy, trimmed and sliced lengthwise into quarters


  • chopped cashews or peanuts
  • sliced scallions
  • toasted sesame seeds


  • Get a pot of water on the stove and bring to a boil.
  • Whisk the sauce ingredients together. Taste to adjust any of the ingredients to your liking and set aside.

tofu crumbles

  • Meanwhile slice your block of tofu into thin slices. Then stack the slices and slice again. The cut crosswise to create a very fine mince.
  • Heat the oil in a skillet or wok and stir fry the tofu for several minutes. It's not going to brown, but it will release moisture. If your pieces of tofu are larger, break them down with the back of a spatula as you fry. You want a small crumbly texture.
  • Add the Tamari, hoisin, mirin, and 5 spice powder to the pan and continue stir frying for another few minutes. The liquid will evaporate and you'll be left with a crumbly mixture. Remove it to a plate.
  • Cook the noodles according to the package instructions, this is usually just a few minutes. At the last minute, add the scallions and bok choy to the boiling water. Reserve about a cup of the cooking water, then drain.
  • Add 1/3 cup of the cooking water to the tofu skillet, and scrape up the browned bits from the bottom. Add the sauce and just bring to a simmer.
  • Divide the sauce equally between 4 bowls.
  • Top the sauce with the noodles and wilted veggies. Then spoon the tofu over top.
  • Garnish with chopped cashews, sliced scallions, and sesame seeds. Toss the noodles with the sauce before eating.

Cook’s notes

This is the traditional way to serve dan dan noodles, with the sauce on the bottom of the bowl, topped with the noodles. I prefer to toss the noodles with the hot sauce first and then add to the serving bowls.
Leftovers can be reheated in the microwave.


Calories: 516kcal | Carbohydrates: 49g | Protein: 14g | Fat: 30g | Saturated Fat: 8g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 5g | Monounsaturated Fat: 16g | Trans Fat: 0.01g | Cholesterol: 0.1mg | Sodium: 2395mg | Potassium: 299mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 5g | Vitamin A: 16IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 60mg | Iron: 4mg
The nutritional information for recipes on this site is provided as a courtesy and although tries to provide accurate nutritional information, these figures are only estimates.
vegan dan dan noodles pin 2.

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    Leave a Reply

    Please rate this recipe!

  • Reply
    September 25, 2022 at 2:59 pm

    Hi Sue. Sorry, am I missing something? You say to reserve about a cup of the water the noodles were cooked in, but then you use only 1/3 cup of that water with the tofu. Why reserve so much when you only use so little? Looking forward to trying this recipe! Thanks

    • Reply
      Sue Moran
      September 25, 2022 at 3:11 pm

      I always reserve more than I need. You may want to add more if you want a looser sauce, it’s really variable.

      • Reply
        September 25, 2022 at 5:32 pm

        Thanks so much for the speedy reply Sue! I’ll rate the recipe after I try it.

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