This balanced and nutritious rice noodle soup comes together in just 15 minutes and is perfect for meal prepping ahead of time. Thin rice noodles, protein-packed tofu, and colorful vegetables are warmed in a vibrant sesame ginger broth that’s full of flavor and comfort with very minimal effort.
I think we could all use some more ideas for balanced, plant-based lunches that you can either prep ahead of time or that take less than 15 minutes to cook. (Who doesn't wish they had extra hours in the day?)
That's why I love this particular recipe, which takes inspiration from rice noodle soups that originated in China and Southeast Asia. Meal prep-friendly and less than 15 minutes of active time. It happily checks both of those boxes.
Originally, I discovered this prep method from Reena (@the.vegandietitian) on Instagram, and it's so genius.
To start, you just add dry noodles, tofu, veggies, and sauce to a meal prep container. Then, once you're ready to eat, you pour in boiling water and the soup magically cooks itself in five minutes flat.
This technique is so simple, and homemade noodle soup is way more satisfying than microwave entrees if you ask me!
If you're just getting into meal prepping, I have plenty of recipe ideas for you. Check out my full roundup of Vegetarian Meal Prep Ideas here. You'll find helpful meal prepping tips and recipes like Pumpkin Overnight Oats, Vegetarian Taco Soup, and Chimichurri Tofu Skewers.
You can also download my Easy Vegetarian Meal Prep ebook for even more guides and recipes!
The ingredients for this recipe are ideal for a quick-cooking soup that you prep ahead of time. The tofu, mushrooms, bok choy, and carrot are all cut into small or thin pieces so they soften quickly in the boiling water.
I also chose this particular mix of ingredients for their balance and nutrient density.
First, the rice noodles are a source of carbohydrates, which our bodies prefer for energy. Next, the tofu acts as the primary source of protein, while vegetables add filling fiber. Lastly, the sauce provides tons of flavor, along with a source of fat from the sesame oil.
This balanced mix of nutrients means you'll feel full and satisfied longer!
Here are all of the ingredients (including a few optional garnishes) you'll need to make this noodle soup.
- soy sauce
- sesame oil
- rice vinegar
- maple syrup
- crushed red pepper flakes (optional)
- rice noodles
- firm tofu
- baby bok choy
- frozen corn
- cilantro (optional)
- green onion (optional)
- lime (optional)
See the recipe card at the bottom of this post for exact quantities and preparation.
This is a basic run-down of the steps for making this noodle soup recipe. You can find more detailed instructions in the recipe card at the bottom of this post.
First, prepare the sauce. Mix soy sauce, sesame oil, rice vinegar, ginger, maple syrup, and crushed red pepper flakes (if using).
Next, add dry rice noodles to your meal prep container.
Then add the tofu.
Next, add the vegetables: carrot, mushrooms, corn, and bok choy.
Then pour in the sauce.
Add the garnishes (cilantro, green onion, lime) if using. Cover and store until ready to eat.
Once you're ready to serve, pour in the boiling water and wait 5 minutes, or until the noodles and vegetables are tender.
Hint: Look for a heat-safe meal prep container with around 20 ounces (or 2 ½ cups) capacity. I use this 20 ounce glass container with bamboo lid from IKEA and it fits one portion of the soup perfectly.
Here are a few simple swaps you can make to this recipe if needed.
- Gluten-free - use gluten-free tamari instead of soy sauce. Double check that your rice noodles don't contain any gluten.
- Bok choy - substitute spinach if needed.
- Ginger - ¼ teaspoon ground ginger is the equivalent of 1 teaspoon fresh.
As always, feel free to play around with the ingredients and flavorings to make this recipe your own. It's half of the fun of cooking! Here are a few ideas to get your juices flowing.
- Kid friendly or mild - omit the crushed red pepper flakes.
- Edamame - use frozen shelled edamame instead of tofu.
- Miso - mix 1 tablespoon miso paste with 1 tablespoon of water. Use instead of the sesame ginger sauce.
For another quick and easy noodle recipe, try my 15-Minute Peanut Noodles with Thai-inspired peanut sauce.
This is the equipment you'll need for the recipe.
- Knife and cutting board - for dicing (chopping into small pieces) the veggies and tofu.
- Vegetable peeler - to shave the carrot. If you don't have a peeler, use your knife to dice the carrot into small pieces.
- Microplane grater - needed to grate the ginger. Substitute ground ginger if you don't have a microplane. (See substitutions section above.)
- Water kettle or pot - for boiling water. You can also heat water in the microwave if needed.
This recipe is intended to be partially made ahead and stored in the fridge until you're ready to eat.
Add all of the ingredients except the boiling water to your meal prep container. Then cover the container and refrigerate for up to three days, or until you're ready to serve.
To serve, just pour in the boiling water and wait a few minutes for the noddles and vegetables to cook.
Make sure the water is truly boiling (not just hot!) before you add it to the soup. If the water isn't hot enough, it won't cook the rest of the soup ingredients, and the soup won't be hot enough once it's time to eat.
If you already have a broth prepared, you can add the noodles to the prepared soup and cook for 3-5 minutes, or until the noodles are tender.
Rice noodles provide a source of carbohydrates, which are our bodies' preferred source of energy. They're a healthy addition to a balanced meal, especially when served with high fiber vegetables, protein, and fats.
Looking for more meal prep recipes? Try these:
I recommend pairing one of these recipes with your noodle soup:
Quick and Easy Meal Prep Rice Noodle Soup with Tofu
- Knife and cutting board
- Vegetable peeler
- Water kettle or pot or boil water in the microwave if needed
- 2 teaspoons soy sauce or gluten-free tamari
- 1 teaspoon sesame oil
- 1 teaspoon rice vinegar
- 1 teaspoon grated ginger
- ½ teaspoon maple syrup
- ⅛ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes or to taste (optional)
- 1 ounce rice noodles (see note 1)
- ½ cup diced firm tofu
- ¼ cup diced baby bok choy
- ¼ cup diced mushrooms
- 1 carrot peeled and shaved into thin ribbons (see note 2)
- 2 tablespoons frozen corn
- 2 cups boiling water or as needed
- Chopped cilantro
- Chopped green onion
- Lime slices
- Prepare the sauce. Whisk soy sauce, sesame oil, rice vinegar, ginger, maple syrup, and crushed red pepper (if using). Set aside.
- Prepare noodle soup. Add rice noodles, tofu, baby bok choy, mushrooms, carrot, and corn to a container with a lid.
- Pour the sauce over the noodle soup mixture.
- Add cilantro, green onion, and lime if desired.
- Cover the container with a lid and refrigerate until ready to serve (see note 3).
- To serve, pour boiling water into the container and wait 5 minutes, or until the noodles are fully cooked. Stir and enjoy.
- Rice noodles: Look for rice noodles that cook in under 5 minutes. I use thin, angel hair vermicelli rice noodles.
- Carrot: Use a vegetable peeler to remove and discard the outer layer of the carrot. Then continue peeling the carrot into thin ribbons with the peeler.
- Making ahead/storage: Follow steps 1-5 and store the container for up to 3 days in the refrigerator. I use a 20-ounce glass container. Add the boiling water immediately before serving.
- Gluten-free: Use gluten-free tamari instead of soy sauce. Make sure your rice noodles are gluten-free.
- Scaling: The recipe as written serves one, but you can easily double or triple the recipe if you want to prep more servings.
- Nutrition facts are estimates only.