Vegan Dan Dan Noodles
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This is a vegan recipe for dan dan noodles you won’t be able to stop eating! Chopped mushrooms replace the ground meat and bring earthiness to this spicy, nutty and tangy noodle dish. It’s yummy!
Sometimes vegan recipes are just better than ones that contain meat.
The more I cook vegan dishes and the more I can see that certain dishes are just better without meat. Even ones that traditionally use meat, such as the classic Chinese dan dan noodles. I used to order it all the time and didn’t mind the ground pork, except for the chewy rubbery bits that come with ground meat dishes. I never really liked that.
Then one day I decided to make my own dan dan noodles and replace the ground pork for finely chopped mushrooms. And I never looked back.
Using mushrooms impart so much earthiness and umami to the dish, and they lighten it too! Mix them with a sauce packed with spicy, pungent, nutty, and sour flavors, and you’ve got yourself one outstanding bowl of noodles.
I think you will absolutely love these vegan dan dan noodles once you try them!
What are dan dan noodles?
Traditional Chinese dan dan noodles (担担面) are a mixture of chili oil, ground meat, sauce, leafy greens and noodles. And, while many versions of this dish abound, the one overarching similarity between them is that they’re usually quite spicy!
Well, it’s gotta be said that I’m not a big fan of the mouth numbing qualities of those peppercorns. For me they tend to hijack all other flavors.
So I left them out of this mushroom dan dan recipe.
That said, if you love it numbingly spicy (I’m looking at you, Ben), then feel free to add them!
Also, traditional Sichuan dan dan mien can be served dry or in more soupy preparations.
However, for this vegan version, I’m keeping it simple-to-make with a recipe that is more on the dry side of things. You’re absolutely gonna LOVE how easy it is to whip up at home!
Ingredients for Vegan Dan Dan Noodles
- Noodles: You can use any type of thin wheat noodles or egg noodles for this dish such as thin spaghetti or lo mein noodles.
- Oil: Peanut oil adds a nutty flavor to the dish, but since we are already using peanut butter to impart that flavor, you can use any neutral oil such as vegetable or grapeseed oil as well.
- Celery: I love the crunch of the celery in this dish! They also add a refreshing element.
- Mushrooms: Button white mushrooms is what I recommend using since they mimic the texture of ground pork. But feel free to use any type of mushrooms.
- Baby spinach: Baby spinach makes the dish bright and colorful and add another element of freshness.
- Scallions: Have you ever eaten an Asian dish that doesn’t include scallions? Me neither. Scallions add sweetness, a mild bitterness, and a lovely crunch.
- Dan dan Sauce A mixture of minced garlic, minced ginger, rice vinegar, chili oil, soy sauce, peanut butter, sugar, and salt.
How to make dan dan noodles
- Gather all of your ingredients and cooking tools.
- Start by filling a pot with water and bringing it to boil. Cook the noodles according to the directions on the package. Drain the noodles, rinse them under cold water, and drain well.
- Transfer the noodles to a large mixing bowl and set aside.
- Add the oil, chopped mushrooms, and celery, to a pan over medium heat, and stir fry the mixture until the mushrooms are tender, almost caramelized (8-10 minutes).
- Meanwhile, make the dan dan sauce by add all the ingredients in a blender and blending until smooth.
- Pour the sauce over the noodles and toss until the noodles are evenly coated. Season with salt if needed.
- Add the mushroom mixture to the noodles and toss well.
- Add the spinach and scallions and toss well. Enjoy!
Adding the baby spinach last makes the leaves wilt just enough that they don’t get soggy or watery. Noodles, celery, mushrooms, and spinach are tossed in this nutty, spicy, sour, sweet, and salty sauce to create one amazing vegan dan dan noodle dish.
What does dan dan mean in Chinese?
Dan dan noodles got their name from the pole that traditional Chinese noodle sellers used to carry when hawking their yummy wares to a hungry populace.
A dan dan was a carrying pole that had a container at each end. One was a basket of noodles – and the other was a container of sauce. The noodle sellers would hike the pole onto a shoulder, balancing the containers on each end. When someone ordered noodles, they’d serve them up and then move on down the road.
Well, it’s not uncommon in food history that the name of a dish is set by the populace that savors it. Sure, pole carried noodles doesn’t have much of a ring to it… But dan dan noodles sounds just right!
Vegan Sichuan Food
Now, you may have tried dandanmien on an epic trip to China – or at your favorite neighborhood Chinese spot.
But I bet you’ve never tried them with mushrooms instead of meat.
Let me tell you, mushrooms create such a savory, umami flavor and texture in this Chinese noodle recipe – that you won’t miss the meat at all!
Serve these vegan dan dan noodles as a main or a side. They taste their best when made fresh but are still delicious cold (after being refrigerated) – or give them zap for a few seconds in the microwave.
Other delicious and easy Asian vegan recipes:
- Chinese Eggplant With Garlic Sauce
- Nasu Dengaku (Japanese Miso Eggplant)
- Vegan jajangmyeon
- Maki sushi
- Vegan kimchi
Did you like this Vegan Dan Dan Noodles Recipe? Are there changes you made that you would like to share? Share your tips and recommendations in the comments section below!
Vegan Dan Dan Noodles
This is a vegan recipe for dan dan noodles you won’t be able to stop eating! Chopped mushrooms replace the ground meat and bring earthiness to this spicy, nutty and tangy noodle dish.
- Prep Time: 10 minutes
- Cook Time: 9 minutes
- Total Time: 19 minutes
- Yield: 4 people 1x
- Category: Main
- Cuisine: Chinese
- 8 ounces thin spaghetti
- 1 tablespoon peanut or vegetable oil
- 2 stalks celery (finely chopped)
- 9 ounces white button mushrooms (finely chopped)
- handful baby spinach
- 2 stalks scallions (finely chopped)
Dan dan sauce
- Bring a pot of water to boil. Add spaghetti and cook for 8-9 minutes, until al dente. Drain, rinse under cold water, drain again and transfer to a large mixing bowl.
- In a pan over medium heat, add peanut oil, celery and mushrooms and cook for 8-10 minutes, until mushrooms are beginning to turn a golden brown color. Transfer to a bowl and set aside.
- Put all the ingredients for the dan dan sauce in a blender and blend until smooth. Add sauce to the spaghetti and toss until the noodles are evenly coated. Season with salt until you are satisfied with the taste.
- Add mushroom mix, spinach and scallions to the noodles and toss well. Serve.
This vegan dan dan noodles recipe will keep refrigerated for up to 3 days.
Keywords: recipe, noodles, Asian, vegetarian, plant based
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