Chinese Vegetarian Noodle Soup (中式素汤面)

Vegetarian Noodle Soup is a hearty one-bowl dinner you can put together in 20 minutes! {vegan adaptable, gluten-free adaptable}

Chinese Vegetarian Noodle Soup (中式素汤面) | Vegan Adaptable | Gluten Free Adaptable | Asian Food

As you might have noticed from my blog name, I do not follow a typical diet and I eat almost everything. However lately I’ve started to cook more vegetarian meals because I really want to lose some weight and eat healthier.

Back in Beijing I lived with my parents. My mom, although far from being a tiger mom, is very strict about many things, including my weight. For example, sometimes when I wanted more rice, my mom would refuse to let me eat more. Our family meals are extremely healthy; sometimes too healthy that I felt like I rarely got enough food to eat.

After moving to the US in late 2015, I started a frantic overeating episode that lasted more than a year. Dunkin’ Donuts and Shake Shack became my new best friends and I ate fast food every week. I also started to cook a lot more meals with meat and carbs, finished up with a tub of Ben & Jerry’s. In 2016 I enrolled in a professional culinary program for half a year. During that time I cooked way more food than anyone should eat… a pumpkin pie, a chocolate tart, and a pot roast in a week!

I gained 20 pounds in a year. All of my Chinese friends greeted me with “You got fat!” when I traveled back to China a few months ago.

Now I finally admit that my mom’s strict food regulation does make sense, so more vegetable dishes on my dinner table from now on.

Chinese Vegetarian Noodle Soup (中式素汤面) | Vegan Adaptable | Gluten Free Adaptable | Asian Food

My schedule for this month got a bit out of control and I finally came down with a cold. I know that if I told my mom about my cold, she’d say that I’ve been eating too much meat. It happens every time I’ve caught a cold in the past.

This might sound funny, but in traditional Chinese medicine it actually makes sense.

Like I mentioned in my Detox Herbal Broth post, traditional Chinese medicine suggests that when a person accumulates too much heat in their system, it causes symptoms such as sore throat and lower immunity. It might eventually lead to a cold when combined with external elements, such as pressure or cold weather. Eating too much meat is one of the main reasons for accumulating heat, and the best cure is to eat vegetables that have a cooling effect to balance your system.

Chinese Vegetarian Noodle Soup (中式素汤面) | Vegan Adaptable | Gluten Free Adaptable | Asian Food

In my world, the most comforting form of a detox dish is vegetarian noodle soup.

It is one of the easiest of meals that you can put together in 20 minutes. All you need is some broth, a few types of veggies, and noodles. Unlike Western soup that usually starts with sautéeing the mirepoix, Chinese soup uses the simple boiling approach to cook everything in one pot. As long as you add fresh aromatics (in most cases ginger and green onions) with a few drops of soy sauce and sesame oil, you’ll get a pot of hearty soup in no time.

I enjoy my noodle soup with the Detoxing Herbal Broth to achieve better healing results; however a packaged vegetable broth will work just well for this recipe.

I hope you enjoy the dish as much as I do! Happy cooking ?

Chinese Vegetarian Noodle Soup (中式素汤面) | Vegan Adaptable | Gluten Free Adaptable | Asian Food

More delicious noodle soups:

  • Easy Soy Sauce Noodles (阳春面)
  • Chinese Beef Noodle Soup (红烧牛肉面)
  • Tomato Noodle Soup – The Ultimate Comfort Food
  • Cantonese Wonton Noodle Soup (港式云吞面)

If you give this recipe a try, let us know! Leave a comment, rate it (once you’ve tried it), take a picture and tag it @omnivorescookbook on Instagram! I’d love to see what you come up with.
Chinese Vegetarian Noodle Soup (中式素汤面)   Print Prep time 10 mins Cook time 15 mins Total time 25 mins   Author: Maggie Zhu Recipe type: Main Cuisine: Chinese Serves: 2 to 3 Ingredients Tofu

  • 1/2 block (16 ounces / 450 g) extra firm tofu
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce (or tamari for a gluten-free alternative)
  • 1 tablespoon maple syrup (or agave nectar)


  • (3.5 ounces) 100 grams noodles (*Footnote 1)
  • 1 tablespoon peanut oil (or vegetable oil)
  • 6 cups vegetable broth (or homemade Detox Vegetable Broth)
  • 2 cups (1/2 pound) mushrooms, sliced
  • 1 cup mixed frozen vegetables (e.g. green peas, carrots and corn)
  • 2 green onion, chopped
  • 1 large piece ginger
  • 4 cup chopped kale
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce (or tamari for a gluten-free alternative)
  • Salt to taste
  • 2 teaspoons sesame oil

Serving options

  • Poached or boiled eggs
  • Chopped cilantro and chopped green onion for garnish
  • Pickled vegetables (zha cai) and fermented tofu
  • Homemade Chili Oil or Sriracha


  1. Cut tofu into 1-inch pieces and transfer into a large Ziploc bag. Add soy sauce and maple syrup. Gently flip the bag a few times to coat tofu with the liquid. Marinate for 15 to 20 minutes. When the tofu is marinated, open the bag just a little bit without letting the tofu fall out. Drain all the liquid and discard. Dry tofu with paper towels (Footnote 2).
  2. Boil noodles according to instructions. Drain and set aside.
  3. Heat a 3-quart pot with 1 tablespoon oil until hot. Spread tofu. Let cook undisturbed for 1 minute, or until the bottom turns dark brown. Flip and cook until the other side turns crispy too. Transfer to a plate.
  4. Add vegetable broth into the same pot. Scrape off any brown bits stuck on the bottom with a spatula. Add mushrooms, frozen vegetables, green onion, ginger and soy sauce. Cook until brought to a boil. Add kale and cook until tender. Transfer the noodles into the pot and stir to mix well. Taste the soup and adjust seasoning by adding more salt, if needed. Turn off heat and drizzle with sesame oil.
  5. Transfer soup and noodles to servings bowls, top with pan fried tofu and eggs. Garnish with green onion and / or cilantro, if using.
  6. Serve hot as main with pickled vegetables or chili oil on the side.

Notes 1. For wheat noodles, you can use chuka soba, udon noodles, somen noodles, and any other wheat noodles that only contain wheat flour and water (and maybe some salt). For gluten-free noodle soup, use rice noodles, Vermicelli or Shirataki noodles.

2. Alternatively, you can dust the tofu with 2 tablespoons cornstarch — it will create an even crispier crust. 3.5.3226