Vegetarian Yakisoba

20130306-DSC_7788-3Today we are headed on a culinary adventure to Japan to learn how to make one of my favourite Japanese dishes – Yakisoba. Yakisoba is a Japanese noodle dish often sold as street food in Japan. Yakisoba literally translates to “fried noodles in sauce” and is derived from the Chinese dish chow-mein. Soba noodles are cooked with sautéed cabbage, shredded carrots and fresh ginger then mixed with a sauce of soy, rice wine vinegar, chile-garlic paste and sesame oil. Yakisoba is often sold with pork or beef, but veggies are the focal point of this dish. Feel free to add sprouts or even some broccoli slaw to the mix. Vegetarian Yakisoba is a great, quick dinner option for busy week nights or for a lazy weekend.

Visiting Japan is currently the number one item on my bucket list with visiting Iceland as a close second. For over 12 years, I’ve been studying the Japanese language and culture. I would not say I’m completely fluent, but I can get by in Japanese. I adore the language. I find it to be incredibly beautiful. I studied Japanese literature, culture and history in university. And well, I cannot wait to finally see and experience Japan (and visit my friends Miho, Nana and Yukiko) and explore the incredible country. In the mean time, I’ve been learning how to cook a variety of Japanese specialties and adapt them into vegetarian dishes. I truly feel like cooking different ethnic dishes can temporarily transport you around the world. Another Japanese speciality that I’ve recently made is Vegetarian Gyoza – and they were fantastic!

Cultural Note: In Japan, one says “itadakimasu” before a meal to give thanks for the meal. It is to express gratitude for the person who has prepared the food. It’s similar to saying grace in Western culture. “Kanpai” is the Japanese equivalent of “Cheers!”

Vegetarian Yakisoba

Yield: 4 to 6 servings


  • 12 ounces of uncooked soba noodles (or vermicelli noodles broken in half)
  • 1/4 cup of low-sodium soy sauce
  • 1/4 cup of rice wine vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon of sugar
  • 1 tablespoon of chile-garlic paste
  • 2 teaspoons of sesame oil
  • 1 and 1/2 tablespoons of canola oil
  • 1 tablespoon of freshly grated ginger
  • 1 small white onion, thinly sliced
  • 4 cups of shredded cabbage (such as napa or savoy); or mixed bagged cabbage
  • 2 carrots, peeled and shredded
  • sliced scallions for garnish (optional)
  • 1 tablespoon of black or white sesame seeds


  1. Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Cook the soba noodles for 2 minutes or vermicelli for 4 minutes. Drain and rinse quickly in cold water, so that the noodles do not stick together.
  2. In a small bowl, combine the soy sauce, rice wine vinegar, sugar, chile-garlic paste and sesame oil. Set aside.
  3. Meanwhile, heat oil in a large frying pan over medium-high heat. Add sliced onions to the pan. Cook until onions are translucent (about 5 minutes). Add ginger and sauté for 2 minutes.
  4. Add cabbage and shredded carrots to the frying pan. Cook on low-medium heat for about 5 minutes.
  5. Add soba or vermicelli noodles to the frying pan. Add prepared sauce. Toss noodles, sauce, cabbage and carrots to mix well. Cook another 2 minutes.

Serve with sliced scallions and sesame seeds.

Source: loosley adapted from Sue Lau on


    • thefigtree says

      *hehe* Me too! I had not had it in a number of years, because I could not find a veggie version at restaurants. So glad I have a go-to to make at home now :)

    • thefigtree says

      I really enjoyed this dish. I had originally put in a little too much vinegar the first time around, but tweaked it on the second try and it was perfect. Had it for lunch three days in a row and was not sick of it :)

  1. says

    You need to visit Japan!!!! My husband and I went a few years ago when we found an insane deal on airfare (about $700 a ticket to Osaka). I keep checking to see if maybe, just maybe, a deal like that will pop up again, but no luck so far. Anyway, the trip was amazing, everything I expected and more. :) The only thing that was a disappointment was the amount of food we couldn’t eat, so I’m happy to find a vegetarian yakisoba recipe!

    • thefigtree says

      I want to visit Japan sooooo badly. I’m hoping to book 3 weeks off of work in 2014 to go. I’ll have to save my pennies like crazy in case I cannot get a decent seat sale. Luckily I have places to stay there, so it should bring costs down. I cannot wait to see if my language training has paid off! I’m a little concerned about what I’ll be able to eat while there. My friend Miho said she is scouting out veggie dishes in Osaka for when I visit her. And she is going to teach me how to make vegetarian sushi when I visit. Cannot wait! :) What was your fav place in Japan to visit?

  2. says

    You are so impressive Court! Iceland is on my must visit list in the future too – Aslae’s pics were amazing – this looks so simple, comforting and tasty!

  3. says

    I don’t know if I’ve ever tried yakisoba, but this is the type of dish I always find myself craving! I never get sick of bookmarking and trying out different Asian noodle recipes! I hope you get to visit Japan soon :)

  4. says

    That is soooo cool that you can speak some Japanese! I know a bit of Italian, but it’s probably pretty rusty since I haven’t been there in several years. :-)

    This dish looks pretty wonderful. I’m not one for a big bowl of noodles, but this looks pretty appetizing!

    • thefigtree says

      The noodles and sauce are light, so the dish is not too heavy :) Really good for light lunches.

      Awe, I’d love to learn Italian! Very pretty language :)

  5. says

    Mmmm, your Yakisoba looks great! I’ve tried to make it before, but never seem to get the sauce just right. I’ll try this tonight, vegetarian for me, and topped with a Citrus Ginger grilled flank steak for my husband.


  6. Ragan says

    I made this for dinner tonight and my husband & I loved it! It makes me miss Japan. Thank you so much! Cheap, easy and delicious.

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