Dec 15
Three Mushroom Vegetarian Nabeyaki Udon

I’m going to go out on a limb here and say that my vegetarian version of nabeyaki udon is even better than my recipe for regular nabeyaki udon that I shared with you earlier this week.  Seriously.  This version came about because the Fujilings and I were making a trip to Kim’s house (Rustic Garden Bistro) for a “Chicken Play Date.”  Our friends Andrew (Eating Rules) and Nancy (A Communal Table) met us at Kim’s house to meet and schmooze with her 16 chickens and then cook and eat lunch together.  Kim requested udon, but Andrew is a vegetarian.  I was determined that our udon was going to be just as delicious as what I usually make.  We easily met that mark, and then some.

Kim, Rustic Garden Bistro

We loved seeing all of the chickens and their fun personalities.

Chicken Play

Then it was into the kitchen to blanch spinach, saute mushrooms and tofu, and assemble a big pot of vegetarian nabeyaki udon.

Andrew sauteeing tofu

I’ve said it before, but food is so much more than food.  Food brought us together for more than filling our bellies.  Being together in the kitchen, chopping and stirring, laughing and talking, with giggles of the Fujilings in the background as they played in Kim’s dog crate (no joke), was like filling up a reservoir in the soul.

Happy Udon Eaters

So find some loved ones and get yourself into the kitchen to make some nabeyaki udon.  This udon has  the thick chewy udon noodles and vegetables of the regular nabeyaki udon, but is made with a mushroom stock base.  Plus it sports three varieties of mushrooms—shiitake, king trumpet, and enoki mushrooms and cubes of sauteed tofu.  If you can’t find some of the mushrooms, substitute your favorites!  Have other favorites toppings? Add them!

Making the nabeyaki udon

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Three Mushroom Vegetarian Nabeyaki Udon

Makes 6 to 8 servings

For the mushroom stock:
7 cups water
1 piece kombu (approximately 12-square inches in size)
1 ounce dried shiitake mushrooms

For the soup:
1/3 cup soy sauce
3 tablespoons mirin
1 teaspoon salt
4 cloves garlic, finely minced
1 rounded tablespoon grated fresh ginger
6 ounces spinach
1 tablespoon toasted sesame oil
10 ounces king trumpet mushrooms, sliced lengthwise
pinch of sea salt
14 ounces extra-firm tofu, cut into 1-inch cubes
2 large carrots, peeled and thinly sliced on the diagonal
2 leeks, cleaned and cut into 1-inch slices on the diagonal
21 ounces fresh udon noodles
1 package enoki mushrooms (approximately 7 ounces), ends trimmed
6 — 8 large eggs (depending on how large you want your servings to be)
shichimi togarashi, to garnish

1. Make the mushroom stock: Place the dried shiitake mushrooms and kombu in a pot with the water. Bring the water almost to a boil and then turn down the heat to maintain a simmer. Simmer for 5 minutes. Remove the pot from the heat and let the stock stand for 3 minutes. Squeeze the mushrooms to release the stock they have soaked up, then strain the stock through a fine-mesh strainer and set aside. Cut off and discard the shiitake stems, then cut an “X” into the top of each mushroom cap and set aside.

2. Prepare the spinach: Bring a large pot of water to a rolling boil and cook the spinach for one minute. Quickly drain the spinach and plunge it into a bowl of cold water. Drain and rinse with cold water until the spinach is completely cold. Squeeze out the water, then cut into 1-inch lengths. Set aside.

3. Prepare the king trumpet mushrooms and tofu: Heat the sesame oil in a saute pan, then add the sliced king trumpet mushrooms and pinch of sea salt. Saute until the mushrooms are cooked through, browned, and starting to become crispy in places. Remove the finished mushrooms to a bowl and set aside. Add the cubed tofu to the pan, adding additional oil as necessary to prevent the tofu from sticking to the pan, and saute until the tofu is browned. Set aside.

4. Make the soup: Mix the mushroom stock, soy sauce, mirin, and salt together in a 4-quart saucepan, then stir in the garlic and ginger.

5. Add the sliced carrots, leeks, and shiitake mushrooms, then bring to a boil over medium heat. Simmer until the carrots are tender.

6. Add the udon noodles, king trumpet mushrooms and tofu, then place the spinach in 5 small bundles on the top. Simmer for 3 minutes.

7. Separate the enoki mushrooms into 5 bundles and place them on top of the soup. Gently crack the eggs, one at a time, into the soup. Cover the pot with a lid, and let simmer for 3 minutes, then turn off the heat and let sit to allow the eggs to finish cooking. Serve hot. Garnish with shichimi togarashi, if desired.

{ 7 comments… read them below or add one }

LiztheChef December 16, 2011 at 7:43 am

My favorite post of yours – well, just about…Lovely.


Andrew @ Eating Rules December 16, 2011 at 2:40 pm

I attest! That soup was supremely splendid. Thanks again for accommodating my veggie-ness. :)

Thanks again to Kim, too, for showing us her delightful chickens! Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m off to go print this recipe… xoxox!


Delishhh December 19, 2011 at 10:59 am

YUM – so good. I made sukiyaki this weekend and put lots of kimchi in it – (i am pregnant :)) oh and this just reminds me of it. So good!


Urban Wife December 19, 2011 at 1:31 pm

Seeing those lovely chickens totally took me back to my childhood! We would have them running around in our backyard. This dish looks splendid even sans chicken!


Kim December 27, 2011 at 11:59 am

THANK YOU SO MUCH for coming over and making udon for all of us! The vegetarian version was stellar. And you’re right – so simple to make. I’m glad your kiddos enjoyed the chickens. Come back, because the little black silkie is crowing now and it’s the cutest thing!!!!



Ima May 2, 2012 at 7:49 am

I have all of the ingredients so i’m making this for lunch later, i’m not really in the mood for meat/seafood. Can’t wait, first time making vegetable nabeyaki udon. Thanks for sharing the recipe. :D (Mom+family are kinda weirded out by some of the ingredients that go in regular nabeyaki, like kamaboko.)


Donald March 24, 2015 at 5:24 am

I have had nabeyaki udon all across Japan. Everyone makes it a little different. I have made it in several styles back home in California. This recipe is by far one of the best I’ve ever tried. I especially like the way your treated the spinach! Great combo with the mushrooms. I added a few brown beech mushrooms to mine and with your ingredients and process, it came out wonderfully. My fiance was impressed!! Thank you!!!


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