I bought tofu for the first time in my life to make this – SO GOOD! This will be a regular dinner for us. Thanks!
Oh, nothing to see here, just a basic, non-fancy, back-pocket noodle stir fry that will make your Monday (Tuesday Wednesday Thursday) night dinners a little more happy.
Can you even believe we are coming to the end of summer?
I can’t. If I were still teaching (common refrain of my life) I would be in my last week of “free summer time,” which means probably starting to shop for some classroom materials and stress-dream about the start of the new school year. Which means I would also be panicking about meal prep again.
How To Make Our Stir Fry:
Blame it on any combination of summer vacations, a three-month-long-eating-out-binge (honestly I have a food blog but I LOVE EATING OUT. There. I said it.), and all-around laziness, but Bjork and I have sort of drifted away from our normal meal prep routine as we’ve settled into summer.
I am not super sad to see the transition into fall because 1) fall is my absolute favorite food season, and 2) I am sort of anxious to get back into a routine.
Maybe it’s the colder, darker Minnesota fall days that start to drive us back into a more consistent work mode, or maybe it’s just that, as a former teacher, the school calendar is forever ingrained into my view of the world and I can’t not view September as a time to trade spontaneous brats and burgers and ice cream for some semblance or organized, responsible eating again. But regardless: as we near the end of August, meal prep would be a welcome thing in our lives again.
‘Specially if it includes tons of fresh veggies which I don’t have to chop myself, THANK U WHOLE FOODS. Did you know you can buy a fresh stir fry mix already chopped? And my mom told me that at some grocery stores you can pay to have them chop your produce before you pick it up? What what whaaaat?
For me, the pre-chopped veggies were an important element in making this approachable for the here and now. I mean, I AM excited for the fall organization and everything, but girlfriend, it is still August. Don’t rob me of my pre-chopped veggies just yet.
There are several things I love about this stir fry.
- You shake up the sauce in a jar. Couldn’t be easier.
- You can keep almost all ingredients in your pantry all the time.
- You can adjust based on what you have on hand. No tofu? Switch for chicken. And so on and so forth.
- NOODLES. I love a good veg-and-rice stir fry, but I ***LOVE**** a good noodle stir fry. Notice the difference there? Give me the noodles.
As lovers of Pad Thai, naturally, we are topping this with peanuts, cilantro, and lime. May or may not make sense, but it tastes fresh and happy and yum.
Save it, memorize it, tuck it in your back pocket. And then go noodle crazy on a Monday night, I dare you.
Back Pocket Stir Fry with Noodles
- Total Time: 40 minutes
- Yield: 4 servings 1x
Back Pocket Stir Fry with Noodles – simplicity wins. Brown rice noodles with tofu and all kinds of colorful veggies for a quick and easy dinner! vegan, vegetarian.
Stir Fry Basics:
- 7 ounces brown rice noodles
- 1 14 oz package tofu
- 1 tablespoon olive oil for sautéing
- 3–4 cup chopped vegetables (I used a pre-chopped fresh stir fry mix)
- 2 cloves minced garlic
- peanuts, cilantro, and lime for serving
Shake-in-a-Jar Stir Fry Sauce:
- 1/4 cup soy sauce (or tamari for a gluten-free option)
- 2–3 tablespoons brown sugar or honey
- 1/4 cup water
- 2–3 tablespoons white vinegar, to taste
- 1 teaspoon chili paste, to taste
- SAUCE: Shake all sauce ingredients together until smooth.
- NOODLES: Soak rice noodles in a bowl of warm water.
- TOFU: Press tofu with paper towels to remove water. Cut tofu into cubes. In a nonstick skillet over medium high heat, fry tofu with a little olive oil until golden brown. Add a little sauce to get a nice browned crust. Transfer to a bowl and set aside.
- VEGGIES: In the same pan, add veggies and garlic and another swish of oil. Stir fry over medium high heat until tender-crisp.
- ASSEMBLE: Drain the noodles. Add them to the pan with the veggies. Add about half the sauce and stir-fry until thoroughly mixed. Add tofu. Top with peanuts, cilantro, and lime.
The tofu takes a while to crisp up, so be patient! I think I sautéed mine for about 15 minutes to get a nice crispy exterior. Check out this post for more tofu deets.
My vegetable mix included red peppers, mushrooms, zucchini, bok choy, and pea pods. Broccoli would also be yummy.
You might have a little more sauce than you need… which makes it easy to fry up more noodles and veggies next time! 🙂 It should keep fine in the fridge for a week or two. I used about half my sauce for the recipe as written, and nutrition information includes only half of the sauce.
- Prep Time: 15 minutes
- Cook Time: 25 minutes
- Category: Dinner
- Cuisine: Asian-Inspired
Keywords: stir fry with noodles, noodle stir fry, tofu stir fry
One More Thing!
Looking for more easy recipes to keep in your back pocket? Check out our go-to list here!
Those look like small cubes of sliced Tofu. How many meals do you think this’ll be split into if someone is trying to spread their meals apart throughout the day?
As much as I love summer, I’m ready for fall!
These noodles look amazing! I love stir fry recipes – I’ll have to try this one out!
Do you know which grocery stores will chop up veggies for you? That would be amazing!
You can buy your veggies from the salad bar!
That’s an awesome idea!
I love stir fry because it’s fast, forgiving and lets me decorate my food with lots of garnishes, I loves me some garnishes:) My stir frys come out so colorful too. Definitely saving this for later.
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Yum! Stir fries is what 90% of my meals were on any given week whilst working in the events industry!
The sugar content in your sauce is a bit too high for my liking (even if just using half!) as I’m a bit of a craaazy spicy food lover. 😉
Out of curiosity, what brand/what type of chili paste did you use in this recipe?
I live in Switzerland and was just wondering what to make for supper this evening when I saw your blog… I have just made it and was totally delicious! I used soba noodles as I didn’t want to buy a zillionth type of noodle to stock in my kitchen and it worked really well. I was a bit put off by the amount of sugar in the sauce but stuck to the recipe and it with the sharpness of the vinegar and lime juice and the saltiness of the soy sauce it turned out to be exactly right and not very sweet at all. All in all it took about 5 minutes prep time chopping my own veg and the whole dish was ready in about 20 mins. I’m really looking forward to having what is left tomorrow as a cold noodle salad. Yummy! Thanks POY team!
Um.ok so I read “spontaneous brats”and got an instant mental picture of an unruly classroom of kidlet’s..until I read the sentantace again and realized it probably meant the meat variety….. 😛
Fall is my favorite food season, too. Comfort food and pumpkin back in style!
I make stir-fry at least twice every week at my house! We love to vary up the vegetables, but zucchini, broccoli, bok choy, yellow squash, mushrooms, and red pepper are some of our absolute favorites! I love to top mine off with sesame seeds and green onions. We almost always use chicken as our protein, and if we’re particularly ravenous we add udon noodles to the mix. YUM!!
I always love to see other peoples ideas for stir fry, and can’t believe I’ve never tried peanuts and lime!! My husband is one of *those* cilantro people, where it tastes like soap to him, so even though I like it we don’t buy it that often!
Back in my college days, I lived off stir fry! The cafeteria freshman year = scary but rice, chicken + veggies were a safe bet. That carried over all the way through graduation. Even now, several years later, stir fry is my go-to when I’m hungry but lazy.
A friend informed me a bit ago that she buys her pre-chopped veggies for stir fry (or anything else) from the grocery store salad bar! You ladies are geniuses!
Lindsay, I’m so happy to see yet another vegan recipe on POY. Glad you’re a self identified part time vegan! The more the merrier. Your tofu looks great. I’d also like to know what chili paste you’re using. I’m definitely making this.
I would also like more information on the chili paste. Thank you in advance.
This sounds absolutely yummy. And simple. Simple is very important to me these days, as long as it tastes good. I would use more or different protein because I need higher levels of protein in my meals.
Really nice article here. I’m also a lover of lovers of Pad Thai. I hope to try these recipes out.
Nothing I’d rather have in my back pocket than a delicious stir fry recipe. 🙂 This looks fantastic!!
Yum this looks delish Lindsay. We’ve been going wild for noodle dishes lately too (altho it’s winter here but, why not?). Seriously thought – what is it about rice noodles that are so darn tasty? I reckon a few dollops of PB would go a treat with your sauce combo above too.
Happy end of summer eating!
(and so glad to hear i’m not the only food blogger who also loves, no is addicted to, going out to eat).
Love that this is so easy!
Love that u out s jake the sauce in a jar – my type of food!
Love that this recipe is vegan and so easy to make. Like you said, I normally have all ingredients in my fridge or cupboard so will definitely give it a try once it gets colder over here in istanbul. x Kati
I am super eager to try this recipe, it looks amazing. I am curious if i could swap out the white vinegar for a rice vinegar. Do you think it would change the flavor much? Also, would you recommned pressing the tofu to get as much of the water out as possible before cooking it?
Can’t wait to try this recipe, but could you tell me the brand of chilli paste please? I’m worried it may be something different in the UK so I’d like to google it to make sure x
Hey Lindsay! I’m a teacher and enjoying my last weeks of relaxation before the business of the school year begins. And yes, I experience those school stress dreams too! This looks like such an easy and yummy stir fry 🙂
I LOVE stir fry! I use a sauce like this often but I love your addition of the chili paste. We usually go for rice so I really enjoyed using noodles. We used pork we had in the house and I’m going back for seconds
Loved this! I had been craving a noodle stir fry and this hit the spot.
Family said it was yummy too. Thank you, Lindsay!
Glad to hear that, Shelly!
I am defiantly going to try to make my own sauce using this recipe! It looks amazing!
Nothing beats a simple and tasty stir fry! Thanks for the recipe.