What do you do when you see a delicious-looking vegan Spicy Chili Garlic Noodles recipe but you live in a house of carnivores?

You trick them into trying it.

That’s how things unfolded when I found this Spicy Chili Garlic Noodles recipe. I knew my family would love the toasted sesame oil, tamari, maple syrup, garlic, ginger, and sriracha flavors.

And I even took a chance that my daughter would try the mushrooms and bok choy.

However…there was the lack of meat in the recipe.

That was not going to fly in our house.

So, was that going to stop me from trying the recipe?

Nope! I just needed to trick my family into trying it.

But how?

Very simply…add some meat.

We had some boneless pork loin in the freezer that needed to be used, so that became the perfect addition that brought my family to the table. Scroll down to see the 9 things you need to know about this recipe.

Looking for Additional Asian Recipe Inspiration?

Check out our insights on these five delicious dishes (and a few photos below):

Air Fryer Bang Bang Chicken: The bite-sized chicken cooks quickly and perfectly in the air fryer making this an ideal in-a-rush meal. And the Bang Bang sauce takes less than 5 minutes to mix.

Chicken Lettuce Wraps: Make a favorite take-out meal at home with these chicken lettuce wraps. You can have them on the table in less time than it takes to have them delivered.

Gluten-Free Chinese Five Spice Shrimp Stir Fry Sheet Pan Dinner: Not familiar with Chinese five spice? This five-ingredient spice mix is popular in Chinese, Vietnamese, and Taiwanese cooking and it’s the perfect spice for this dump-and-cook sheet pan meal.

30 Minute Spicy Sesame Noodles with Ginger Chicken: Perfect for weeknight meals, this one-pan wonder really does come together in less than 30 minutes! And the Simple to Make chili oil is a flavor bomb!

Copycat Piper Inn Asian Wings: The Piper Inn is a local Denver biker bar that just happens to offer some of the most delicious food and friendly service in our neck of the woods. Their Asian wings are my favorite chicken wing on the planet and this copycat recipe is as close as you can get to the real deal.

Simple to Make−Spicy Chili Garlic Noodles

Source: FeedFeed

I happened upon this recipe because I was doing a bit of a deep dive into vegetarian/vegan options.

It’s summer. It’s hot. I didn’t want to be in the kitchen slaving over a slow-cooking meal.

And I wanted to incorporate more vegetables into our diet.

We are such a meat and potatoes family that sometimes the veggies are AWOL from our dinners. That’s not a good thing.

It’s not that we don’t like vegetables. We do.

But we get stuck in a rut of what veggies we have on hand. We always have broccoli. Most of the time there are carrots, celery, Romaine, and asparagus in the fridge. That’s not a huge variety.

So, I wanted to make a serious effort to incorporate more (and different) veggies into our meals.

Enter the Spicy Chili Garlic Noodles.

Spicy Chili Garlic Noodles Ingredients

Nine things to know about the Spicy Chili Garlic Noodles Recipe:

  • Other than the mushrooms and bok choy, this was a pantry pull for me. That puts this in the make-more-often section of my recipes. If it’s Simple to Make and requires mostly ingredients I have on hand, I’m more likely to make a quick grocery store stop to pick up one or two items to finish the dish.
  • If you don’t have Tamari, you can substitute soy sauce. Tamari is a gluten-free alternative to soy sauce, so if you’re not on a gluten-free diet and don’t have Tamari on hand, feel free to substitute soy in a 1:1 ratio. Note that soy can be saltier than Tamari and if you don’t want that extra saltiness, start with a bit less soy, taste the sauce, and adjust the soy amount according to your taste preference. You can also always add more soy once the dish is fully cooked.
Spicy Chili Garlic Noodle sauce
  • I used a skillet instead of a wok. We don’t own a wok and that’s ok. This dish can absolutely be made in a skillet.
  • Can you substitute vegetable oil or plain sesame oil for the toasted sesame oil? NO, you NEED the toasted sesame oil. Vegetable oil is a neutral oil that doesn’t add any flavor to your dish. And this dish needs the nutty goodness the toasted sesame oil brings to the skillet (or wok). The sesame flavor is crucial to the overall flavor of the Spicy Chili Garlic Noodles and using toasted sesame oil provides an added depth of flavor.
  • To save on prep time, buy pre-sliced mushrooms. Yes, you will pay a little more for them, but if you want a quick meal, it may be worth the extra cost.
I chose pre-sliced mushrooms to cut down on prep time.
  • Not familiar with bok choy? Bok choy is a variety of Chinese cabbage with a mild flavor. Found in a lot of Asian recipes, bok choy is full of antioxidants like many other leafy green vegetables. The best way to wash bok choy is to chop it and then place it in a bowl of water and swish it around to remove any clinging dirt. Then dry it off with a paper towel.
Bok choy brings the antioxidants to this meal!
  • I used Ramen noodles in place of the soba noodles. We always keep a stack of Ramen noodles in the pantry because they’re so versatile. And this dish highlights why we love to have them on hand. My family actually prefers the bite of the (incredibly inexpensive) Ramen noodles to the softer soba noodles.
When the meal starts to come together!
  • To feed my carnivorous family, I added simply-prepared boneless pork loin. I seasoned the pork with salt and pepper and cooked it in my air fryer at 350° for about 8-10 minutes, turning once to ensure an even crust. Note that air fryer times vary, so cook according to what works for your air fryer. If you don’t have an air fryer, you can grill the pork loin.
Salt and pepper pork loin addition to the Spicy Chili Garlic Noodles.
  • Don’t like pork? Add grilled chicken or steak instead. Either would be a great addition to this meal if you’re looking to make it work for the carnivores in your house. A simple salt and pepper preparation is a perfect compliment to the Asian flavors of the Spicy Chili Garlic Noodles.
Spicy Chili Garlic Noodles (with air fryer pork loin)