This Vegetable Noodle Stir Fry is so easy to prepare, made in one pan and ready in 25 minutes or less! Featuring silky zucchini noodles and a tantalizing, sweet and spicy stir-fry sauce, it’s a delicious, low-carb alternative to take out! This recipe is totally customizable, so you can use chicken, pork, beef or tofu and throw in your favorite veggies!
Continue to read on for tips and tricks on creating the best vegetable stir-fry recipe! And, don’t miss the step by step photos and recipe video included in the post! Looking for more quick and easy stir-fry recipes? Check out these family favorites: Chinese Chilli Chicken Stir Fry, Honey Lemon Chicken Stir-Fry, Stir-Fry Honey Hoisin Beef and Stir Fried Cabbage!
Update: This post was originally published in August 2018. I’ve made the post below to include more information about stir fry veggie noodles. Plus, I’ve included a step-by-step video to show you how easy these Thai noodles are to make!
Hey there, friends! I hope you are ready for a big ‘ole bowl of totally slurp-tastic, healthy noodles! Because that is exactly what I’m dishing up today!
Vegetable Noodle Stir Fry: overview
Plump, succulent, sesame flavored shrimp atop a bed of tender, crisp zucchini mixed with pungent shallots and slivers of aromatic garlic, tossed in a spicy, sweet, umami packed silky sauce.
Garnished with fresh herbs, nutty sesame seeds (or crushed peanuts), and a generous squeeze of acidic lime, this zucchini noodle recipe is seriously addictive!
Healthy, fresh and light yet full of savory, spicy and sweet flavors, these Thai noodles are a delicious, healthier alternative to take out!
Aside from being fantastically full of delicious flavor, these Thai Noodles are super quick and easy to prepare, so you can have dinner on the table in a matter of minutes.
And, in case shrimp just aren’t your jam, this recipe is very versatile, so feel free to substitute chicken, crab, or tofu if desired!
Why you will love this recipe
- Easy to find, fresh ingredients! You only need eight simple ingredients as well as a few pantry staples to create this healthy stir fry!
- Simple and fast to make! This veggie noodle stir fry is ridiculously quick and easy to make! You can have this dish ready and on the table in approximately 25 minutes or less!
- Amazing flavor! This noodles are bursting with delicious flavor!
- Healthy! Substituting regular stir-fry noodles for veggie noodles creates a delicious, low-carb, healthy dish! (However, you can use your favorite variety of noodle – see below for ideas!)
- Customizable! You can easily get create and throw in your favorite vegetables! Stir-fry is a great way to use up any leftover vegetables you have hanging out in your refrigerator crisper drawer!
What’s in noodle stir fry?
This healthy stir-fry is recipe is made with easy-to find ingredients and bursting with sweet, spicy and savory flavors! The ingredient list is totally flexible and customizable, so feel free to add in your favorite seasonal vegetables or whatever mix-ins your family loves!
Ingredients you need to make this vegetable stir fry at home
- Oil: I recommend using a neutral oil, such as vegetable or canola for stir-frying!
- Shrimp: To keep the prep to the absolute minimum, I like to use shrimp that have already been peeled and deveined. If you aren’t a fan of shellfish, you can use chicken breasts, beef, pork, tofu or even eggs instead!
- Shallot: One large shallot adds a touch of delicate, mild onion flavor!
- Garlic: Two cloves of fresh garlic provide a distinctive, punchy taste. Make sure you use fresh garlic, not the minced variety sold in a jar!
- Red Pepper Flakes: A pinch of crushed red pepper flakes adds a touch of heat; however, use can use more or less depending upon your preference!
- Veggie Noodles: Zucchini noodles, also known as “zoodles” keep this stir-fry light and healthy. However, you can use any vegetable noodle you love, such as spaghetti squash, or feel free to substitute your favorite Asian noodle instead! (See below a list of noodles to use for stir fry.)
- Stir-fry Sauce: See below for a complete description.
Stir fry noodles sauce
This stir-fry sauce is the perfect mix of sweet, spicy and savory with delicious punch of umami flavor! The sauce as written isn’t aggressively spicy; however, you can adjust the heat level to your personal preference!
- Soy Sauce: Soy sauce adds a depth of umami flavor! I recommend using reduced-sodium soy sauce so you can control the level of saltiness in your sauce!
- Honey: Honey adds the perfect amount of sweetness as well as a touch of floral flavor!
- Sesame Oil: Sesame oil is a must for stir-fry sauces! It adds a deeply earthy, nutty and deliciously rich flavor. I recommend using toasted oil for the most flavor.
- Oyster Sauce: Thick oyster sauce is the secret ingredient! It adds a complex salty and sweet flavor with the faintest hint of caramel!
- Chili Garlic Sauce: A must have ingredient that adds the perfect bright, hot and tangy flavor with a kick of garlic!
What protein can I use?
While the recipe is written for shrimp, you can use your favorite protein to prepare this stir-fry recipe!
- Egg: I love to add scrambled eggs to this shrimp noodle stir-fry; however, you can swap out all the shrimp and use just eggs instead!
- Beef: Either ground beef or sirloin steak work great if you want to make beef noodle stir fry! If you are using steak, make sure you slice the steak against the grain into 1-inch thick strips.
- Pork: Both ground pork and pork tenderloin are delicious in stir-fry! If you are opting to use pork tenderloin, I recommend slicing it into 1-inch thick strips.
- Tofu: There are a lot of varieties of tofu out there, but for the best texture I recommend using extra-firm tofu to make stir-fry!
What vegetables can I add to stir-fry?
This stir-fry recipe is incredible customizable and there are limitless options for vegetables you can add! I recommend you use this recipe as a guide. Try throwing in whatever vegetable you have lying around or mixing and matching your family’s favorites from the list below! If you are going to add vegetables, I recommend reducing the amount of noodles or increasing the amount of sauce!
- Bell Peppers: Bell peppers are my go-to if I’m looking to add a little more bulk to this recipe! Both red and mini bell peppers add a beautiful touch of savory sweetness!
- Carrots: Shredded carrots are a great way to add a bit of sweet crunch to your stir fry!
- Broccoli: Crunchy broccoli is another go-to as it’s always easy to find fresh at the store!
- Mushrooms: Fresh mushrooms are a great way to bring an extra earthy, umami flavor to your noodles!
- Asparagus: Tender, crisp asparagus is a wonderful addition if you can find it fresh and in season!
- Cabbage: Thinly sliced cabbage is a delicious addition, just make sure to add it towards the end as it’s incredibly quick cooking!
- Edamame: Edamame beans are an fun way to add a slightly sweet and salty flavor to your dish!
- Water Chestnuts: A can of water chestnuts is a quick and easy addition that requires no prep!
- Other – Sesame Seeds and Nuts: Toasted sesame seeds and salty, crunchy nuts (cashews and peanuts) are a pretty finishing touch and a great way to add a mild nutty flavor!
Expert-tip: Make sure you cut your vegetables into uniform, bite-size pieces so everything cooks evenly and is easier to eat!
What are the best noodles to use for stir fry?
You can use any type of noodle you love to make a stir-fry; however, for the best outcome, I recommend using thicker, longer noodles as they will hold up during the stir-frying process.
- Vegetable Noodles: I love using vegetables noodles to keep my stir-fry on the healthier side. You can use any type of vegetable noodle you love, such as zucchini or squash! When it comes to preparing veggie noodles, you can either purchase them prepared at the store, or use a mandoline, spiralizer, chef’s knife or vegetable peeler to make your own noodles at home. If you are making your own vegetables noodles, make sure you spiralize (or cut) them on the thicker side so they hold their shape during cooking.
- Soba Noodles: Buckwheat noodles, known as Soba noodles, are savory with a distinct nutty, slightly earthy flavor. They’re firm and retain some bite even after stir-frying.
- Udon: Japanese Udon noodles are one of the thickest noodle options. They’re dense and chewy with a neutral taste that works well in stir fries!
- Lo Mein: Lo Mein noodles are soft, round and long, resembling thick Italian spaghetti with a yellow hue. They’re fat, dense and taste fresh with an almost doughy texture after stir-frying.
- Chow Mein: Unlike Low Meins soft texture, Chow Mein retains its crunch and firmness after cooking. They’re perfect if you are looking for a crispy noodle texture.
- Rice Sticks: Rice sticks, also known as rice noodles, are straight, flat noodle sticks. After cooking they’re soft and slippery with moderate firmness and chewiness. However, rice noodles cook up extremely fast, so make sure you add them at the very end to prevent them from breaking down or sticking together!
- Shirataki: These Japanese yam starch noodle are prized for their fiber content and lack of calories. They are largely flavorless; however, you need to rinse them to remove the starchy taste before cooking.
- Italian Pasta: Long pasta noodles, such as spaghetti, linguine or even fettuccine are great options if you are in a pinch and want to use up any pasta you already have at home!
How to make Vegetable Noodle Stir Fry?
This Thai noodle stir fry is incredibly easy and can be made in one pan! In just a few quick steps you can have these veggie noodles ready and on the table in 25 minutes or less!
- Prepare the stir-fry sauce: In a small bowl, whisk together all the ingredients for the stir-fry sauce.
- Cook the shrimp: Cook the shrimp (or protein of choice) in a large skillet until almost cooked through. Add a drizzle of sesame oil and stir-fry until slightly charred and completely cooked. Remove the shrimp from the pan and set aside.
- Stir-fry the vegetables: Add the shallows and aromatics to the pan and stir-fry until soft.
- Pour in the sauce: Add the sauce to the pan and whisk to thoroughly combine everything. Bring the sauce to a simmer and cook until thickened.
- Add the noodles: Add the vegetable noodles (or cooked stir-fry noodle of choice) to the pan and stir-fry, tossing constantly, to coat the noodles in the sauce.
- Serve: Add the shrimp back to the pan and toss everything together. Transfer to a serving bowl and enjoy!
Tips & Tricks for the best noodle stir-fry
- I like to leave the tails on my shrimp for aesthetic purposes only. Feel free to remove the tails when peeling and deveining if desired!
- I used large (16/20 count) shrimp in this recipe. You can substitute whatever size shrimp you would like. Just be sure to scale the cook time up or down accordingly in step 1 of the recipe.
- If you don’t like shrimp or if you have a shellfish allergy, you can substitute tofu of chicken for the shrimp! Just make sure you adjust the cook time accordingly.
- Do NOT use dark, toasted sesame oil when stir-frying the shrimp (or whatever protein you chose). Make sure you use regular, light sesame oil, as dark sesame oil can easily burn and taste bitter.
- The longer you cook the zucchini noodles, the more they will release water. Make sure you only cook them until just softened. As well, make sure you do not salt the zucchini prior to or during cooking, as that will cause them to release moisture as well. There are a ton of notes and tricks on how to properly cook zucchini noodles in this post – pesto zucchini noodles.
How to stir fry veggie noodles step-by-step
How to tell when shrimp are done?
One of the great things about shrimp also happens to be their downfall – they are extremely quick cooking! And, there is a very thin line between perfectly cooked shrimp and over or undercooked shrimp.
Cooking shrimp in a skillet or wok will only take a matter or 3-4 minutes, depending on size. For the best result, always make sure your shrimp are of the same size and you are cooking them over high heat! This will ensure the shrimp have a juicy and tender texture without any rubbery chewiness.
Properly cooked shrimp should have a flesh that turns from translucent to slightly opaque in color. You always want to make sure you stop cooking the shrimp as soon as they show a sign of being properly cooked.
How to serve noodle stir-fry?
You can serve this stir-fry warm, at room temperature, or even cold!
When serving these healthy Thai noodles, I highly encourage you to not skimp on the garnishes! While the garnishes are optional, they enhance the overall texture and flavor of the dish. A few optional garnishes for this dish include sliced scallions, fresh cilantro, Thai basil, chopped peanuts, sesame seeds and lime wedges.
What to serve with vegetable stir-fry?
Below are a few quick and easy side dishes to help add a bit of Asian flair and round out your meal!
12 quick and easy Asian side dishes
- Soup: Your favorite takeout-style soup, such as Miso, Wonton, Egg Drop or Sweet and Sour, is a wonderful light side option!
- Salad: A light Asian salad with ginger dressing is perfect if you are looking to add some more greens to your meal!
- Cucumber Salad: Tangy, fresh cucumber salad is the perfect side if you are looking to keep things healthy!
- Edamame: A big bowl of steamy, salty edamame might be my favorite pairing!
- Egg Rolls: Fat, crispy egg rolls are a great way to add a bit of salty crunch!
- Spring Rolls: If fried egg rolls aren’t for you, spring rolls are a healthier option!
- Dumplings: Plump, soft dumplings are a dreamy addition to any meal!
- Kimchi: Add a refreshing crunch to your stir-fry by serving a bowl of fresh Kimchi on the side!
- Vegetables: If you don’t want to add vegetables to your noodle stir-fry you can always serve them on the side! Anything from (more) zucchini, carrots, green beans, mushrooms and summer squash work beautifully!
- Cabbage Stir-fry: Aromatic crisp cabbage pairs beautifully with the sweet and sour flavors in this noodle dish!
- Sautéed greens: If you are looking to add more greens to your diet, spinach, kale and Swiss chard make wonderful sides!
- Coconut Rice: Take your white rice to the next level by preparing tropical coconut rice!
Tips for storing stir-fry noodles
When it comes to storing leftovers, food safety is of the utmost importance! Make sure you follow the simple tips below to ensure you are properly storing your vegetable noodles!
How long will leftover noodles keep?
Leftover veggie noodle stir-fry is perfect to have on hand for grab-and-go lunches!
To store leftovers, first allow the noodles to cool completely to room temperature. Once cool, transfer the noodles to an airtight container and store in the refrigerator for up to four days.
Can you freeze vegetable noodle stir fry?
I do not recommend freezing leftover stir-fry as the noodles become quite soft and the veggies become soft upon thawing.
Are these noodles gluten free?
With just a few quick and easy swaps you can make this a gluten-free noodle stir fry!
- Noodles: Stick to using vegetable noodles (zoodles), mung bean noodles, rice noodles or other gluten-free noodle of choice.
- Soy Sauce: Make sure you use a brand of gluten-free soy sauce or you can substitute Tamari.
- Oyster Sauce: Check your brand of oyster sauce to ensure it is gluten-free! Many brands contain soy sauce, which is made from wheat. Make sure you are using a gluten-free brand of oyster sauce! (Kikkoman makes a gluten-free oyster sauce that is quite good!)
Vegetarian and vegan option
You can easily make this stir fry recipe vegetarian by omitting the shrimp or swapping it out for tofu instead!
Deliciously full of flavor, plus a breeze to make, these spicy Thai Noodles are an ideal, healthy alternative to take-out!
Until next time, friends, cheers – to fiery zoodles!
The best Healthy Vegetable Noodle Stir Fry plus step-by-step video 👇
Vegetable Noodle Stir Fry Recipe
- Large Skillet or Wok
Stir Fry Sauce
- 1 TBS + 2 tsp Light Sesame Oil - DIVIDED (SEE NOTE)
- 5 TBS Low Sodium Soy Sauce
- 5 TBS Honey
- 1 TBS Oyster Sauce
- 1 ½ tsp Chili Garlic Sauce (SEE NOTE)
- 1 TBS Neutral Oil (such as vegetable or canola)
- 1 pound Large Shrimp – peeled and deveined
- 1 large Shallot – finely diced (about scant ½ cup)
- 2 cloves Garlic – peeled & thinly sliced
- ½ tsp Crushed Red Pepper Flakes - to taste (SEE NOTE)
- 3 medium Zucchini – spiralized or julienned
- Salt & Pepper to taste
- Optional Garnishes: Sliced Scallions, Chopped Peanuts, Fresh Cilantro, Thai Basil, Sesame Seeds, Lime Wedges
- Make the sauce: In a small measuring cup, whisk together 2 teaspoons of the sesame oil, soy sauce, honey, oyster sauce and chili garlic sauce. Set aside.
- Cook the shrimp: Heat the neutral oil in a large skillet over high-heat. Add the shrimp, being careful not to crowd the pan (SEE NOTE), and cook for 1 minute undisturbed. Add the remaining 1 tablespoon of sesame oil and stir-fry, for 2-3 minutes or until slightly charred and cooked through. Season generously with salt and pepper and remove from the pan. Set aside.
- Cook the vegetables: Reduce the heat to medium-high and return pan to heat. (SEE NOTE) Add the add the shallots, garlic and crushed red pepper flakes. Season with salt and pepper. Cook until softened, about 2 minutes.
- Add the sauce to the pan and whisk to combine. Bring to simmer and cook for 5-6 minutes, stirring occasionally, or until sauce is reduced slightly.
- Add in the zucchini noodles and cook, stirring/tossing constantly to coat, for 2 minutes or until slightly softened (SEE NOTE). Add the shrimp back to the pan and toss again to coat.
- To Serve: Taste and adjust for seasoning with salt and pepper. Squeeze with optional fresh lime, top with garnishes as desired and serve. Enjoy!
- Shrimp tails: I like to leave the tails on my shrimp for aesthetic purposes only. Feel free to remove the tails when peeling and deveining if desired!
- Shrimp size: I used large (16/20 count) shrimp in this recipe. You can substitute whatever size shrimp you would like, just be sure to scale the cook time up or down accordingly in step 1 of the recipe.
- Shrimp substitution: If you don't like shrimp, or if you have a shellfish allergy, you can substitute tofu of chicken for the shrimp! Just make sure you adjust the cook time accordingly.
- Sesame oil: Do NOT use dark, toasted sesame oil when stir-frying the shrimp (or whatever protein you chose), as dark sesame oil can easily burn and taste bitter.
- Chili Garlic Sauce is NOT the same thing as Sweet Chili Sauce!! Chili Garlic Sauce can be found in the ethnic aisle of your grocery store.
- Heat level: If you don't like overly spicy food, reduce the amount or omit the crushed red pepper flakes.
- Cooking shrimp: Do not crowd the pan when cooking the shrimp! Cook the shrimp in 2 batches if necessary - complete step 1 with half the shrimp and then repeat with the oil and remaining shrimp.
- Step 3: If the pan seems dry in step 3 (when adding the shallots, garlic and red pepper flakes), add a bit of neutral oil to the pan.
- Cooking vegetable noodles: The longer you cook the zucchini, the more they will release water, so make sure you only cook them until just softened. As well, make sure you do not salt the zucchini prior to or during cooking, as that will cause them to release moisture as well.
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