I love pasta prepared in pretty much every way. There is no wrong way to eat it either. And up there on my list of faves is this quick and easy saucy udon recipe. It's packed full of bright veggies and a little bit of meat. And it comes together in pretty much no time and uses basically any kind of veggie you have on hand. It is the perfect quick weeknight dinner. And everyone will eat it because, and I cannot stress this enough...IT IS SO DAMN DELICIOUS. Umami is a real thing folks and this saucy udon noodle dish is draped in it.
What is udon?
Udon is a wheat-based noodle that is mostly associated with Japanese cuisine. Udon can be used in all kinds of dishes, from straight up pasta dishes like we are doing here or in Asian-style soups. My two favorite ever udon soups are this and this, and you should definitely give them a try.
Also, udon noodles I use are simple to prepare and require a quick soak in hot water. These are the ones I get.
What do I need for this?
Really all you need is a sh-t ton of veggies, and I am touting this saucy udon dish as a hugely adaptable to what you have on hand. This is a way to use up remnants and straggling lil vegetables you have in the fridge...plus HEALTHY! Isn't that what we are all about in January?
You can use as much or as little vegetables as you have on hand too. I usually have a fair amount sitting around in the fridge, and this is one way my kids will eat pretty much any vegetable, so I bulk this dish up. Also note - ABSOLUTELY throw in any cooked veggies in the fridge, as long as they are not covered in some kind of heavy sauce, they are perfect to add.
Other than that, this quick and easy saucy udon dish has some ground turkey or chicken. And yes, you can totally use pork or beef. I typically make this with ground chicken, because I a lot of times have some from another dish I make, but totally use what you've got or what you like.
And the saucy??
Oh you mean the best part?? The glorious, sweet and salty UMAMI filled sauce that comes together with literally a few ingredients? The sauce couldn't be easier. Garlic, grated ginger (or ginger paste), soy sauce, rice vinegar, mirin and sambal or some kind of chili paste you love. And if you don't know what mirin is, let me tell you...it is a Japanese sweet wine. I am fortunate and live near an Asian market to buy mirin. But, if you are not so lucky I highly recommend ordering real mirin like this, but if you don't or can't, you can probably find this mirin-flavored seasoning. But really try to get real mirin because the 'seasoning' bottle is cut with extra sugar - too much I think.
Quick and easy saucy udon
- ½ pound ground chicken turkey beef or pork
- 6 cups of chopped vegetables I used shredded cabbage red peppers, carrots, mushrooms, spinach, broccoli and onion
- 3 garlic cloves minced you choose the size of the cloves depending on how much garlic you like
- 1 tablespoon of grated ginger or use ginger paste which is what I use most of the time
- 1 teaspoon rice wine vinegar
- ½ cup soy sauce
- ½ cup mirin
- ½ tablespoon sambal or other chili paste and you can use more or less of this depending on how spicy you like it
- two packages of pre cooked vacuum sealed udon easy to find at the grocery store in the Asian food aisle
- Vegetable oil for cooking
- Little drizzle of sesame oil or olive oil if you don't have sesame
- In a very large sauté pan cook you ground chicken until crisp. Mash while cooking well with a wooden spoon so the pieces are small. Remove from the pan. Add some vegetable oil, maybe a tablespoon or so depending on how much vegetable you are using. Add veggies to the pan and sauté over medium heat until the vegetables are tender. Add the garlic and the ginger and continue to cook another minute or so.
- Meanwhile boil a pot of water, when water boils, remove from heat and add the udon. Let the noodles sit for one minute - that's it, if you leave them longer they will get gummy. Stir gently to break up noodles, then drain in a colander and drizzle with a little bit of sesame oil (use olive oil if you don't have sesame).
- Add the ground chicken back to the vegetables and mix together. Add the noodles, soy, mirin, rice vinegar and sambal, and toss together until everything is mixed together and the noodles meat and veggies are draped in glorious sauce.