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Here's a saucy noodle stir-fry that's filled with crunchy veggies, chewy rice noodles, and tender chunks of chicken in a tangy-sweet lemon sesame sauce. Try our delicious mix of spring vegetables, or use what you have on hand, for a delicious lighter-tasting weeknight meal that's ready in under 30 minutes!
This noodle stir-fry puts a tasty spin on traditional stir-fry with its tangy-sweet lemon sesame sauce. It makes a light-tasting but satisfying meal that's perfect for those nights when you don't have a lot of time but want something healthy and delicious.
We love stir-frying because it's a wonderful way to incorporate crisp, seasonal vegetables and experiment with some new ingredients, too. This spring recipe is loaded with our favorite springtime vegetables like asparagus, broccolini, carrot, and radishes, but you can easily make this noodle stir-fry year-round. Use what's in your fridge or try a new vegetable you may not have tried before. You can easily make this vegetarian – omit the chicken and sub for an equal amount of cubed tofu. Pack the leftovers for a nutritious make-ahead lunch.
Ingredients you'll need for the lemon sesame sauce
We love the sweet-tart combination of lemon and honey in this sauce. It's really easy to make with just a few pantry ingredients:
- Cornstarch – thickens up the sauce.
- Chicken stock – adds flavor.
- Lemon juice – this is the star ingredient, adding a fresh, bright, tart flavor.
- Honey – adds a warm sweetness.
- Sesame oil – adds a nutty, savory sesame flavor.
- Soy sauce – adds depth and saltiness.
What you'll need to make this noodle stir-fry recipe
Choose your vegetables and protein and the rest comes together using just a few simple ingredients:
- Rice noodles – any variety can work but we love the rice vermicelli (shown in the pictures).
- Cooking oil – a neutral-tasting cooking oil like olive or avocado will work well.
- Vegetables – we love a mixture of fresh, colorful, seasonal vegetables.
- Ginger + garlic – add lots of flavor and a bit of kick.
- Chicken – tender white chicken breasts cut into chunks.
- Cornstarch – to coat the chicken and make it crispy.
- Sesame seeds – add a little nutty crunch and visual pop!
How to make spring noodle stir-fry with lemon sesame sauce
Our best go-to recipes are quick and easy to make, healthy, and flavorful; just like this one! Most of the work is in the chopping and it comes together in just a few easy steps:
- Cook the noodles. Boil a large pot of water, take it off the heat, let the rice noodles sit in the hot water for 1 minute, then rinse them under cold water.
- While the water is heating, chop the vegetables and make the sauce.
- Heat a little oil in a wok then quickly cook the vegetables for a couple of minutes. Put the garlic and ginger into the pan for a minute then take the vegetables out of the wok.
- Toss chicken in some cornstarch then sear it in the wok until golden. Once it's deliciously crispy, add the noodles, vegetables, and sauce to the pan and gently toss the noodles until the sauce thickens.
Is this a good recipe for leftovers?
Yes, however, rice noodles don't taste great when they're cold. Warm up leftovers or allow them to sit on the counter to bring them to room temperatures for the best taste and texture.
What can I use instead of honey?
Pure maple syrup would work well in place of honey.
Where do I find rice noodles?
Rice noodles are typically found in the international or Asian aisle of most grocery stores.
Can I use lemon juice concentrate instead of fresh lemon juice?
While fresh lemon juice has the best flavor, in a pinch you could substitute an equal amount of lemon juice concentrate.
Variations to try
This noodle stir-fry recipe is so versatile and easy to make vegetarian or gluten-free. Here are some interesting ways to customize it or mix things up:
Switch up the protein – try using thinly sliced pork instead of chicken. Pork makes great stir-fry meat because it cooks quickly. You can see it in our pork chop stir-fry!
Make it vegetarian – substitute vegetable broth for the chicken broth and use cubes of firm tofu instead of chicken. You can cook the tofu in the same way by coating them in cornstarch before browning them in the pan.
Make it gluten-free – use a gluten-free soy sauce or tamari in place of regular soy sauce to make it completely gluten-free!
Try different noodles – the noodles in the pictures are rice vermicelli which are very thin, snow-white noodles with a delicate appearance and texture. They are excellent in this recipe but you could also use other varieties of rice noodles like rice sticks or even buckwheat soba noodles, but you will need to adjust the cooking time. Make sure they are slightly underdone because they'll finish cooking in the sauce at the end.
Mix up the vegetables – you can use a mix of any quick-cooking vegetables like bell peppers. edamame, bean sprouts, zucchini, mushrooms, red onion, pineapple, green beans, snow peas, bok choy, or eggplant. While we love the flavor of fresh vegetables in this dish, canned ones add a nice texture too, like bamboo shoots, water chestnuts, or baby corn.
How to serve this spring stir fry with lemon sesame sauce
Spring Stir Fry
- 8 ounces rice noodles
- 2 tablespoons cooking oil (divided)
- 12 spears asparagus (chopped)
- 6 broccolini (chopped)
- 2 medium carrots (sliced)
- 1 bunch radishes (quartered)
- 1 cup snap peas (cut in half if large)
- 2 cups purple cabbage (thinly sliced)
- ¼ cup minced ginger
- 3 cloves garlic (finely minced)
- 2 medium chicken breasts (cubed)
- 1 tablespoon cornstarch
- Sesame seeds (to serve)
Lemon Sesame Sauce
- 1 tablespoon cornstarch
- ¾ cup chicken stock
- ⅓ cup fresh lemon juice
- 3 tablespoons honey
- 3 tablespoons sesame oil
- 3 tablespoons soy sauce (gluten-free if needed)
- Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Remove the pot from the heat, add the rice noodles, and let them soak for 1 minute – they will not be fully cooked at this point. Drain the noodles then rinse them under cold running water.8 ounces rice noodles
- While the water is heating, chop the veggies and make the sauce. Add the cornstarch and a splash of the chicken stock to a 2-cup measuring cup or bowl and mix well. Add the remaining sauce ingredients and stir.1 tablespoon cornstarch, ¾ cup chicken stock, ⅓ cup fresh lemon juice, 3 tablespoons honey, 3 tablespoons sesame oil, 3 tablespoons soy sauce
- Heat 1 tablespoon of the oil in a large pan or wok over medium-high heat then add the asparagus, broccolini, carrots, radishes, snap peas, and cabbage and stir fry for 2-3 minutes or until the veggies begin to soften. Add the ginger and garlic and cook for 1 minute more and then remove the vegetables from the pan.12 spears asparagus, 6 broccolini, 2 medium carrots, 1 bunch radishes, 1 cup snap peas, 2 cups purple cabbage, ¼ cup minced ginger, 3 cloves garlic
- Toss the chicken with the cornstarch. Heat the remaining tablespoon of the oil in the pan then add the chicken and cook until it is lightly golden and cooked through, about 5 minutes.2 medium chicken breasts, 1 tablespoon cornstarch
- Add the semi-cooked noodles and vegetables to the pan then pour the sauce over the top. Gently toss the noodles using tongs until the sauce thickens, about 2 minutes. Serve the stir fry topped with sesame seeds.
We have thoroughly tested this recipe for accuracy. However, individual results may vary. See our full recipe disclosure here.