Easy Dandan Noodles Cups (Made with Zoodles!)

Dandan noodles made with zoodles (zucchini noodles) for an easy, nutritious meal on the go or quick one-pan dinner at home. This Chinese recipe is similar to instant noodles cups, but this version of Dan Dan noodles is low carb and gluten free!

I know, you’ve got holidays on the brain. But can we talk about something? Meal prep. It tends to go out the window come November. At least in our house. I’m like, just eat all the leftovers and call it a day. But meal prepping leftovers, well… oops. This holiday season, I am determined to keep meal prep alive, starting RIGHT NOW!

Today we’re making Asian veggie noodle jars! Kinda like the instant soup jars I posted last year. Same concept, but different recipe. That’s right, we’re spicing up that work desk lunch. No take out needed. This lunch is more budget friendly and saucy. Plus, it’s mention healthy. But you knew that, right?

Let’s discuss what’s in the jars. That fun word. Dan dan noodles. Or is it dandan? Hmmmm…

P.S you can easily make this as a quick meal instead of meal prep. Instructions are in the recipe notes!

What is dandan noodles anyway?

This tasty noodle dish (which, by the way, can also be spelled Dan Dan noodles) originates from Chinese Sichuan (pronounced sih-chwahn) cuisine. If you order the meal in China, the sauce is made from preserved vegetables, chili oil, sichuan pepper, pork, and scallions. The spicy sauce is served with noodles, which can be dry or in a broth-based soup.

Here in the U.S., dandan noodles are not usually very spicy, and sometimes not spicy at all. Typically, the sauce is made with sesame paste or peanut butter, so it is actually on the sweeter side. It’s not a super spicy dish like some Asian foods can be.

Asian Dan Dan noodle sauce #glutenfree

What are dan dan noodles made of?

There are at least 11 different varieties of noodle dishes that can be found in Chinese cuisine, and the noodles themselves fit into one of these categories:

  1. Cellophane (Glass) Noodles
  2. Egg Noodles
  3. Rice Noodles
  4. Wheat Noodles

Traditionally, dandan noodles is served with wheat-based egg noodles. Of course, this means the traditional way of preparing the dish is not gluten-free.  So naturally, I fixed that problem…

MY version of dandan noodles IS gluten free, and it’s low carb too – because I skip the wheat noodles and use oodles of zoodles instead!!

pot of zoodle stir fry with chopsticks

 

In a nutshell, we’re redefining “instant noodles” in a cup for lunch! Does this sound like a tasty idea? I hope you think so, because I LOVE this easy meal prep recipe!

This is my shortcut recipe option to enjoying tasty gluten free, Asian style dandan noodles… I mean zoodles. And guess what? They are meal prep friendly, so you can make and take them for work, school, or wherever you go!

The sauce can be made ahead and packaged on the side for dan dan zoodles to go. Oh, and you can freeze the meal too. It reheats in just a few minutes, so no matter how crazy of a day you have, you can still have dinner on the table in 10-15 minutes!

How to Meal Prep Dandan Noodles

jars with zucchini noodles

Here’s what you need to make 4 large zoodle cups:  

 FOR THE SAUCE – You can make this ahead of time and serve it later with hot zucchini noodles or traditional noodles in a to-go cup or bowl!

  • Tahini or any nut butter butter (no sugar added)
  • Garlic, minced
  • Gluten-free soy sauce (or tamari)
  • Freshly grated ginger
  • Prepared chili oil – or Asian chili paste
  • Honey or sugar
  • Toasted sesame oil
  • Chinese black vinegar – SHORTCUT! – Mix 1/2 tbsp rice wine vinegar with 1/2 tbsp balsamic vinegar and 1 tsp water. Or, if you don’t have balsamic, simply use red wine vinegar.

The sauce prep is key! Then all you need are your veggie noodles of choice, toppings, and 4 large jars to fill. Super easy!

ingredients for asian sauce asian peanut sauce in pan

Don’t feel like meal prep? No prob! You can easily make these dandan noodles in one pan, then serve it right away!

Mix the sauce in a large pan with the veggies noodles, stir fry for 2-5 minutes until combined, then serve with cilantro, nuts, etc. Dan Dan noodles dinner all in one pan! Say that 5 times fast. Haha.

Okay let’s make it.

jar of zoodles with sauce on side and soy sauce bottle

 

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Easy Dandan Noodles Cups (Made with Zoodles!)


  • Author: Lindsay Cotter
  • Prep Time: 10
  • Cook Time: 10
  • Total Time: 20
  • Yield: 4 servings

Description

Dandan noodles is served with zoodles (zucchini noodles) for an easy, nutritious meal on the go or quick one-pan dinner at home.


Ingredients

FOR THE SAUCE – You can make this ahead of time and serve it later with hot zucchini noodles or traditional noodles in a to-go cup or bowl!

  • 1/3 cup Tahini or creamy almond butter (no sugar added)
  • 3 cloves Garlic, minced
  • 2 tablespoons Gluten-free soy sauce (or tamari)
  • 2 tablespoons Freshly grated ginger
  • 2 tablespoons prepared chili oil or Asian chili paste
  • 1 tablespoon honey or sugar
  • 1 tablespoon toasted sesame oil
  • 1 tablespoon Chinese black vinegar (see notes for alternative)
  • 3 tbsp. water or low sodium broth to thin out the sauce

FOR SERVING (to prep in 3-4 large cups) 

  • 1 lb. veggie noodles (zoodles) – check out my recipe post on how to easily make homemade veggie noodles
  • 1/4 cup loosely packed cilantro leaves
  • 1 lightly steamed baby Bok Choy, – sliced into 4 pieces
  • 1/4 c. chopped nuts, optional
  • 1 green onions, thinly sliced

Instructions

Directions: See notes if you want to make this in one pan and skip meal prep jars

  1. To make the sauce – place the sauce ingredients in a small saucepan. Whisk on medium low until creamy and combined. If you want extra smooth sauce, use an immersion blender to blend sauce in pot until smooth. Transfer to jar or small condiment cups for meal prep.
  2. To make the veggie noodles, see this post. You don’t need a spiralizer. Just be sure to salt the raw zucchini noodles then let them sit in a bowl to drain excess water. After draining water, press zoodles with a kitchen towel to absorb water. Do this before prepping into jars. 
  3. Steam the bok choy, in a vegetable steamer or in a microwave. Before steaming, wash the bok choy and then slice each in half lengthwise. Place side by side in shallow microwave safe plate or bowl. Add 2 to 3 tablespoons water or broth. Cover loosely with plastic wrap or paper towel. Microwave on high for 4 to 5 minutes or until tender.
  4. To prep – Combine sauce ingredients in an airtight jar, attach the lid, and shake to blend well. If not using immediately, store in the jar. To serve, mix zoodles with sauce in mixing bowl. Divide into four cups, bowls or jars. Divide the cilantro, bok choy, nuts, and green onions evenly among the bowls. For warm zoodles, toss zoodles and bok choy in microwaveable bowl, mix in sauce, heat for 45 seconds. Top with cilantro, nuts and green onions.

Notes

  • If you want to swap out the bok choy, scallions, or any of the other ingredients for things you have on hand, by all means, go for it!
  • BLACK VINEGAR SHORTCUT – Mix 1/2 tbsp rice wine vinegar with 1/2 tbsp balsamic vinegar and 1 tsp water. Or, if you don’t have them, simply use red wine vinegar.

One Pan Method

  1. Heat the sauce first in a large wok or stir fry pan.
  2. Prep the vegetables then add to the pan, and toss with the sauce. Gently stir fry for 2-5 minutes on medium heat until combined.
  3. Serve into bowls and garnish with cilantro, nuts, extra sauce, peppers, etc.
  • Category: dinner
  • Method: stove
  • Cuisine: Asian

Keywords: dandan noodles, zoodles, vegan, low carb, gluten free, meal prep, stir fry

Serving Suggestions

jar of noodles and sauce with zucchini noodles

With a protein (pork), lots of veggies, and zucchini noodles, these Dandan noodles cups are a perfect meal all on their own. Although, if you want to serve it in bowls or cups to go, you can serve the dish along with:

Alright my friends, let’s keep each other accountable! Comment below or hit reply in your email…. How will you meal prep this holiday season?

P.S

I have a make ahead holidayish meal plan coming up soon! That should help. Also, if you’re wondering about the kikkoman’s gluten free soy sauce, check out the instagram post and stories from yesterday!

Cheers,

LC

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