These miso beef noodles are like an Asian take on spaghetti bolognese, but with a spicy kick and without the long cooking time for the sauce! You can whip this meal up in about 30 minutes and serve it straight from the pan at the table. Far from boring, this recipe is a must-have in your weeknight meal rotation!
There's something about eating noodles in a thick meaty sauce that is incredibly comforting.
I mean, who doesn't enjoy a bowl of spaghetti bolognese?
Even vegetarians or people with food allergies appreciate some saucy noodle dish that accommodates their diets...we love our saucy noodles!
So take that love of saucy meaty noodles and give it some spice and an Asian twist and you're going to get this delicious spicy miso beef noodles dish!
It has all the taste and comfort you're going to love, but unlike a long-simmered bolognese sauce, the meat sauce and this entire dish comes together in about 30 minutes!
What Makes This Dish Asian?
Not everything can be labelled as an Asian ingredient in this recipe...ground beef, onions, and garlic are universal. However, there are a few items that definitely deserve the distinction, and putting an Asian spin on traditional spaghetti bolognese starts with the noodles.
I use pad thai noodles, which are similar to linguine noodles in terms of shape, but they are made from rice and not wheat, making them gluten-free. Bonus for those on a gluten-free diet!
Just like spaghetti, they are often sold dry, making them a good pantry staple to keep on hand.
The sauce doesn't seem particularly Asian when it contains chopped tomatoes and some honey....but add in some soy sauce (tamari for gluten-free) and chili garlic sauce and it's a different story.
Finally, there is the miso paste which is undeniably Asian. While you may associate it only with soup, miso paste may seem like a really odd addition to this dish. However, miso paste adds some depth and umami to this dish, as well as a touch of creaminess.
Ready, Set, Cook
This dish comes together in about 30 minutes, and who doesn't appreciate a fast comfort meal? The key is cooking the noodles while you work on the sauce.
Cook the rice noodles according to the package directions, being careful not to overcook them. If the noodles happen to be done before the sauce is ready, simply drain and rinse the noodles in cold water to stop the cooking process and set them aside until you're ready.
While they're cooking, you start the sauce by browning the beef and cooking it with the onions and garlic. Then it's time to add the chopped tomatoes, soy sauce, chili garlic sauce, and honey to the beef and little that simmer for a few minutes.
Once the sauce is ready, it's time to remove it off the heat and stir in the miso paste.
Adding the Miso Paste Off the Heat
You might be wondering why you stir the miso paste into the sauce at the end and off the heat. Why not just add it at the same time as the other ingredients? Wouldn't it be simpler?
Yes, it would definitely be simpler, but miso is a bit of a special ingredient.
Miso paste, which is made from fermented soy beans, is rich in probiotics which is great for digestive health.
Like any fermented food, cooking the miso paste over active heat destroys the probiotic cultures it contains. Since we don't want to lose its health benefits, it is best to stir it in at the end of cooking after the sauce has been taken off the heat. Often referred to as carry-over cooking, the residual heat from the pan and the noodles will be enough to melt the paste, allowing the sweet and savory umami flavor to gently permeate the sauce, all while retaining its healthy qualities.
Once the miso paste is well mixed into the sauce, it's finally time to add the noodles! Give everything a good toss so that the noodles are well-coated and it is time to eat!
How To Serve The Noodles
Since this is an Asian take on spaghetti bolognese, skip the Parmesan cheese and top your noodles with chopped scallions or coriander.
If you'd like a bit more spice, sprinkle on some dried chili flakes.
Prepare some lime wedges for anyone who wants a squeeze of fresh lime juice on their noodles.
If you want to serve a side-dish, consider Cold Spicy Cucumber Bites...they bring more spice to the table, but their cold, crisp texture gives a refreshing balance to the meal.
Transfer the noodles to your favorite dish to serve at the table, or serve the noodles directly from the pan! While it can't technically be called a one-pan recipe because you have to cook the noodles separately, it still comes pretty close!
If you don't happen to have any Asian rice noodles on-hand, you could use regular wheat spaghetti with this recipe. Using regular spaghetti does take away some of the Asian feel for this dish, but they will still work. That being said, rice noodles can easily be found in any Asian market or in the Asian food aisle of your supermarket.
In keeping with the Asian flavors, the chili garlic sauce can be substituted with sriracha or even a slightly thinned out Thai curry paste. Tabasco would also work in a pinch if you can't locate any Asian type chili sauces. Korean gochujang can be used as a condiment and mixed into your own serving of noodles.
If you do use any of these other chili sauces to substitute the chili garlic sauce, err on the conservative side and add less to start with and then taste. You can always make it more spicy, but the spice is a lot harder to remove if you find it too hot!
You can also opt to skip the chili sauce altogether and simply make this dish non-spicy.
As for substituting the ground beef, ground pork would make an easy stand-in. Shrimp are also a nice to use, but I would add them during the last couple minutes of cooking the sauce so as not to overcook them. For a vegetarian option, try chopped mushrooms for a similar "meaty" texture to ground beef.
Spicy Miso Beef Noodles...full of flavor and comfort and ready in 30 minutes! If you are interested in more Asian noodle dishes, take a look at my recipes for Shrimp Pad Thai or Korean Sweet Potato Noodles (Japchae). Even though spicy miso beef noodles are nowhere near as known as these other noodles dishes or spaghetti bolognese, it's definitely one worth noting and making! If you love noodles like I do, you're going to love this recipe!
Spicy Miso Beef Noodles
- ¾ lb. pad thai rice noodles (approximately 340g)
- 1 tablespoon oil
- 1 lb. ground beef (approximately 454g)
- ½ onion, finely diced
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 can chopped tomatoes (400-500g)
- Chopped green onions
- Dried chili flakes
- Combine soy sauce, chili sauce, and honey in a small bowl. Set aside.
- Heat skillet over medium-high heat and add oil.
- Add ground beef to pan and brown.
- While beef is cooking, cook rice noodles according to package directions, to al dente doneness. Be careful not to overcook.
- Add onions and garlic to ground beef and mix well.
- Add chopped tomatoes and sauce ingredients and stir to combine. Bring to a gentle boil and reduce heat to simmer.
- Drain rice noodles and rinse with cool water to stop them from cooking.
- Turn the heat off on the beef sauce and stir in miso paste.
- Add drained noodles to the pan and stir to combine.
- Transfer to serving dish or serve directly from the pan.
- Garnish with chopped green onions and dried chili flakes, if desired.
- I use pad thai noodles, but you can use any rice stick noodles for this dish.
- If you have time, soak the rice noodles in room temperature water for at least 10 minutes before cooking. It gives the noodles a head start in softening and then you only have to boil them for about a minute.
- If you do not have rice noodles handy, you can substitute them with regular wheat spaghetti or linguine.
- If the noodles are done before the sauce is ready, drain them and rinse with cool water to stop them from cooking, then set aside in a colander.
- If the cooked noodles stick together from waiting to be added to the sauce, simple give them a quick water rinse in the colander, then shake the colander to loosen them before adding them to the pan.
- You can also serve the meat sauce over steamed rice.
- If you do not have chili garlic sauce, substitute with sriracha, thinned out Thai red curry paste, or tabasco. Alternatively, use Korean gochujang as a condiment to stir into your own bowl of noodles.
- Adjust the chili sauce depending on whether you prefer it less or more spicy. Chili sauce can also be completely omitted for a non-spicy dish.
- Stir in miso paste after removing the pan from the heat so as to not kill off the healthy probiotics that naturally exist in the miso.
- Substitute the ground beef with ground pork.
- If using shrimp, add them to the sauce in the last couple of minutes of cooking so as not to overcook them.
- For vegetarians, substitute the ground beef with chopped mushrooms for a similar texture.