Last Updated on February 8, 2023
This warm, hearty, and easy-to-make Vegan Somen Noodles in Creamy Sesame Miso Soup is one of the popular recipes on our blog! The super creamy broth is made with pantry and fridge staples like miso, tahini and peanut butter. To complement the richness of the broth, red chili peppers, garlic, ginger and rice vinegar add some edge to it.
This comforting vegan somen noodle recipe is a super easy recipe to follow but tastes like you’ve put some effort into it!
What’s Somen Noodles?
You may be familiar with udon noodles which is a type of Japanese noodles made with wheat, water, and salt. Udon noodles are one of the staples in Japanese cuisine and come in a few different thickness and shapes. The most popular type of udon noodles are the thick ones.
Somen noodles are very similar to udon noodles because they’re made with exactly the same ingredients.
The only difference is the thickness of the noodles. Somen noodles are very thin compared to thick or sometimes flat udon noodles. Think of spaghetti (relatively thick) vs angel hair pasta (thin.).
In short, somen is technically a thin version of udon noodles. Because of the thinness, it cooks in no time—about 2 minutes!
Typically, somen noodles are prepared cold with a side of soy sauce based dipping sauce made with mentsuyu. It’s a home-style dish that’s very popular in hot and brutally humid climate of summer in Japan.
However, somen can be served as both cold and hot. In this recipe, it’s prepared as a warm and comforting noodle soup!
Somen & The Japanese Culture
Japan has a custom (it’s rather a duty in a formal business situation) called “Ochugen [お中元]” to send gifts during summer to show gratitude to people who are taking care of you.
For the ochugen, somen noodles are one of the popular items to gift. As a result, people would end up with boxes of somen noodles that you couldn’t possibly consume during the summer time. LOL.
My mom would cook those extra somen noodles in fall/winter prepared in the style called “nyu-men[にゅう麵].” Nyu-men is basically somen noodles in warm broth like vegan udon noodle soup. It’s simple, clean but heaty and comforting to eat when it’s cold outside or on sick days.
Although, my mom’s hot somen noodles are great, I wanted to create something that’s completely different from the traditional way of eating somen. So, I created this rich and creamy sesame miso soup!
Creamy Sesame Miso Soup
Easy & Accessible Ingredients
Actually, I’d like to note that I created this delicious creamy vegan somen noodles with accessible ingredients for everyone to enjoy! So, some ingredients are not common in the typical Japanese cooking. But I, as a Japanese native, truly enjoy this noodle soup so it’s a crowd pleaser for all!
The star of this creamy somen noodles is definitely the soup.
This miso based creamy sesame soup (broth) for the somen nooodles is super rich. The creaminess comes from tahini and peanut butter which aren’t traditional for Japanese cuisine. But I find that they work well with almost all noodle dishes. It also happens to be one of the popular flavor combinations in vegan food in the U.S.
By the way, there’s a Japanese version of tahini (sesame paste) called nerigoma [練り胡麻.] Nerigoma is a paste of roasted sesame seeds which gives a very nutty and rich taste and I use in my cold sesame ramen. But for this recipe, I use tahini instead to keep the purpose of “accessible & easy recipe.”
Taste of Creamy Sesame Miso Soup
The broth is not only creamy & rich from tahini and peanut butter, it’s also aromatic, spicy and punchy from garlic, ginger, and red chili pepper.
In some sense, the flavor of the soup for this creamy somen noodles is pretty similar to the Japanese ramen noodle dish called “tan-tan men [担々麵].” Tan-tan men is a Japanese interpretation of the Chinese dan-dan noodles. In Japan, tan-tan men is often referred as “sesame miso tan-tan noodle soup (胡麻味噌担々麵).”
If you’re familiar with those noodle dishes, the broth of this dish definitely reminds you of the tan-tan men or the sesame miso tan-tan noodle soup!
Choice of Somen Noodles & Alternatives
I use organic somen noodles from Gold Mine Natural Foods.
Again, somen noodles cook in 2 minutes and it has a very silky and smooth texture which is very easy to slurp! To stick to the default, try using any somen noodles of your choice.
That said, the soup also works with any udon noodles or ramen noodles of your choice. Rice noodles may be a good choice as well. While those noodles would work, soba noodles won’t be a good match.
Be sure to check out the “Step-by-Step Instructions (w/ Photos)” after the Printable Recipe!
Vegan Somen Noodles in Creamy Sesame Miso Soup
Creamy Sesame Miso Mixture
- 1/4 cup miso
- 3 tbsp unsweetened tahini
- 2 tbsp unsweetened creamy peanut butter
- 1/2 tbsp cane sugar
- 2 tbsp rice vinegar
- 1/4 cup water
- 1 tbsp neutral oil
- 3 cloves garlic minced
- 1 1/2 tbsp minced ginger
- 2 scallions separate the green and the white part, thinly sliced
- 1/2 tsp red chili pepper flakes adjust to taste
- 3 cups water
- 2 servings dried somen noodles about 3.5 oz / 100 g per serving
- 1/4 tsp sea salt optional, adjust to taste
- 2 tsp toasted sesame seeds
- 2 tsp toasted sesame oil
Additional Topping Suggestions
- Japanese chili oil ra-yu
- Extra rice vinegar
- Make the creamy sesame miso mixture. In a small prep bowl or a measuring cup, combine miso, tahini, peanut butter, sugar, rice vinegar, and water. Use a small whisk to stir until well blended. Set aside.
- In a medium to large sauce pan, start boiling water for cooking somen noodles.
- Meanwhile, start making the rest. Heat up another medium saucepan over medium heat. Pour neutral oil and add garlic, ginger, the white part of scallions, and red chili pepper flakes. Cook for 1-2 minutes until fragrant and slightly browned but not burnt.
- Add water. Turn up the heat on medium high to bring to a gentle boil then reduce the heat medium low.
- Add the creamy sesame miso mixture. Use a whisk to stir and mix until well blended. Keep the heat at medium low to simmer gently. Adjust the seasonings with sea salt if necessary. Continue to simmer gently until noodles are cooked. Right before serving, turn up the heat to reheat it.
- Start cooking somen noodles in the boiling water for about 2 minutes. Drain and rinse under running water to remove some starch. Shake off the excess water then set aside.
- To serve, pour the hot soup in a serving bowl and add the drained somen noodles. Top it with the green part of scallions, toasted sesame seeds, and a drizzle of toasted sesame oil for the finishing touch. Use optional toppings such as Japanese chili oil and extra rice vinegar as you like.
Choice of Miso
- Taste profile of miso (sweetness and complexity) is completely different from one product to another. Find your favorite and adjust the amount to your preference.
- My go-to multipurpose miso is koji miso (soybean-base miso with a substantial amount of rice koji) of any kind. It’s still savory but koji makes it slightly sweet!
Choice of Tahini
- Use your favorite tahini for this recipe!
- I use Unsweetened Organic Tahini from Once Again
Choice of Peanut Butter
- Use your favorite creamy peanut butter for this recipe!
- I use Unsweetened Organic Peanut Butter
- Somen noodles are Japanese thin noodles made with wheat flour, salt and water.
- I use Organic Somen Noodles from Gold Mine Natural Foods.
Step-by-Step Instructions (w/ Photos)
1. Make the creamy sesame miso mixture. In a small prep bowl or a measuring cup, combine miso, tahini, peanut butter, sugar, rice vinegar, and water.
Use a small whisk to stir until well blended. Set aside.
2. In a large sauce pan, start boiling water for cooking somen noodles.
3. Meanwhile, start making the rest. Heat up another medium saucepan over medium heat. Pour neutral oil and add garlic, ginger, the white part of scallions, and red chili pepper flakes. Cook for 1-2 minutes until fragrant and slightly browned but not burnt.
4. Add water. Turn up the heat on medium high to bring to a gentle boil then reduce the heat medium low.
5. Add the creamy sesame miso mixture. Use a whisk to stir and mix until well blended. Keep the heat at medium low to simmer gently. Adjust the seasonings with sea salt if necessary. Continue to simmer gently until noodles are cooked. Right before serving, turn up the heat to reheat it.
6. Start cooking somen noodles in the boiling water for about 2 minutes.
Drain and rinse under running water to remove some starch. Shake off the excess water then set aside.
7. Pour the hot soup in a serving bowl and add the drained somen noodles.
Top it with the green part of scallions, toasted sesame seeds, and a drizzle of toasted sesame oil for the finishing touch. Use optional toppings such as Japanese chili oil and extra rice vinegar as you like.
If you enjoy the recipe, please share, leave a comment below and tag us @plantbased_matters on Instagram! We appreciate your kind support 🙂
11 thoughts on “Vegan Somen Noodles in Creamy Sesame Miso Soup”
This is literally the best thing I’ve ever tasted in my life. I went to the store and found these somen noodles and didn’t really know anything about them. I found this recipe online and had to make it! I swapped water for low sodium vegetable broth. I had yellow miso paste on hand and used that instead. I used coconut sugar. I also added 3 tbsp minced white onion. I also prepared some soy curls and friend them in a pan with miso paste, 1 1/2 tbsp minced garlic, and 1 tbsp ginger. In the end, I added toasted sesame oil, black sesame seeds, coco aminos, and Noodles World Kitchen Smolder from Boulder Spice Mix seasoning for extra heat and flavor!!!! (If you don’t know what this is and you like spicy, go find it asap.)
This recipe’s flavor seriously blew my mind. My taste buds went wild! Creamy, spicy, tangy, nutty, and very filling with healthy fats and protein! My semi-vegan husband said this recipe has an original flavor. He kept saying it was incredibly delicious. My 21 month old even said “This is so tasty!” Thank you! We will make this very often.
Thank you so so much!!
That is such a huge compliment and we are so glad your family enjoyed it! Yes, we like a little heat in our food and the spice mix looks very interesting although it doesn’t seem to be available in our area…thanks for the tip, anyways. If you ever cook one of our dishes again please snap a picture and send it to us. We would love to story post it on Instagram!
Akiko and Peter
This is fantastic. I have made it a few times already and it is very forgiving if you don’t have exactly the right ingredients (like almond instead of peanut butter, no scallions, red miso, less/more ginger, etc). My favorite addition so far is broccoli, highly recommend. I am really looking forward to it after a long day skiing. Thank you!
Thank you for the kind words. We’re happy to hear that you enjoyed it and how it’s a forgiving recipe. Broccoli sounds like a great addition. Thank you for taking the time to comment! We truly appreciate it 🙂
The tahini in the recipe is raw tahini or pre made one?
At the time of creating the recipe, I used premade organic raw tahini that I used to buy often. Now, I use a different product (also premade and organic) and it seems to be roasted (it doesn’t have a clear indication on the jar but it tastes roasted to me.) I tried both versions and they came out equally delicious! I hope you enjoy it!
This was so delicious!! I added an egg and bok choy and it was one of the most satisfying noodle recipes I’ve tried out. The soup had a really nice creamy texture and flavour, while some other recipes I’ve followed in the past were pretty bland. I’ll definitely make this one again, thank you for sharing!
Thank you so much for not only taking the time to comment but cooking one our recipe as well. We truly are happy to hear that you enjoyed it! It really means a lot 🙂
I have to tell you… this recipe was to DIE FOR. I said multiple times throughout the meal, “If I was served this at a restaurant, I would go back again and again!
I added shrimp for extra protein:) I can’t wait to try your other recipes!
Wow! That’s so wonderful to hear 🙂 I’m glad that you enjoyed it!
I can’t wait to see what you try next. I hope you enjoy it as much as you’ve enjoy the somen noodles!