Vegetable Japchae is a healthy and easy kelp noodle dish made with a medley of mushrooms, spinach, squash in a savory-sweet sauce.
A big slurp-worthy bowl of noodles is decidedly comforting any time of the year, but even more so when the temperatures drop. It’s what I make when I’m longing for something warm and soothing that’s not soup.
One of my favorites is a spin on a Korean stir-fry called Japchae. Easy enough for a weeknight dinner, it’s both simple and satisfying.
While traditional Japchae is made with starchy glass noodles I’ve substituted in my beloved and quite frankly easier to find kelp noodles instead. The neutral taste, along with their satisfyingly chewy texture makes them a perfect low-cal and low-carb addition to stir-fries or any number of noodle dishes.
The slick and skinny kelp noodles are first soaked to soften them, then tossed in a hot pan with mushrooms, spinach, scallions and kabocha squash, and doused in a simple savory-sweet sauce with a hint of garlic. Each bite of vegetable Japchae is salty and sweet, the vegetables tender and yielding while the noodles springy and stretchy with a bit of chewiness.
It’s an easy dish that doesn’t require much time at the stove which makes it a quick and reliable choice for weeknights. A bit of chopping while the noodles soak and the squash and mushrooms roast and everything is ready to hit the pan.
You can take these noodles in a number of different directions depending on how you are feeling and what vegetables are in season. I like to use kabocha squash but butternut would work as well. Shiitakes add a wonderful flavor and texture but if you’re lucky enough to find enoki mushrooms, throw them in at the end as well. Whatever combination you choose, it’s sure to be a welcome addition to the rotation.
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