Recipe: Dan Dan Noodles

What better way to ring in the Lunar New Year than mastering these 30-minute dan dan noodles packed with protein and flavor?

For a flavorful one-dish meal with historical roots, try whipping up dan dan noodles — a spicy and nutty noodle bowl lovers of Chinese Szechuan cuisine will adore. This dish started out as a street food in Sichuan, carried by hawkers with ingredients in one basket and cookware in another, attached to a bamboo pole called a dan.

This easy 30-minute homemade dish is perfect for busy weeknights. Protein-packed red lentil noodles make this dish a healthy alternative to rice or wheat-based noodles. This recipe calls for tofu, which is a complete protein but can be substituted for lean meats like chicken or fish. 




2 Tbsp. sunflower butter

2 Tbsp. low-sodium soy sauce

2 Tbsp. rice vinegar

2 cloves garlic, minced, divided

3 green onions, minced

½ Tbsp. agave syrup

2 Tbsp. homemade chili oil with flakes or storebought, more to taste

Water as needed

Tofu Topping

½ lb. mushrooms

¼ cup peanuts

3 green onions, chopped

3 cloves garlic, peeled and roughly chopped

8 oz. extra firm tofu, pressed

1 Tbsp. sesame or olive oil

¼ cup Sui Mi Ya Cai (Yibin Yacai)

1 Tbsp. low-sodium soy sauce

Bowl Base

8 oz. chickpea or lentil spaghetti pasta cooked according to package directions and drained

2 cups cooked vegetables of choice (green beans, broccoli, cauliflower, boy choy)

½ cup roasted peanuts, optional for garnish



1. Whisk sunflower butter and soy sauce until fully incorporated. Add rice vinegar. Continue stirring until mixed. Then add garlic, green onions, and agave syrup.

2. Add homemade chili oil, a tablespoon at a time. Mix and taste the sauce; add more if desired. If the sauce is too thick (it should be pourable) add 1 tablespoon of water at a time and mix well. Set sauce aside.

3. To prepare the tofu topping, combine the mushrooms, walnuts, green onion, and garlic in a food processor. Blend until the ingredients are chopped into small bits. Add the tofu. Pulse a few times until the tofu is coarsely chopped.

4. Heat sesame or olive oil in a skillet or a wok over medium heat until hot and add Sui Mi Ya Cai. Stir a few times to release the fragrance.

5. Add the tofu mixture; cook and stir until the bottom of the pan looks dry, 1 to 2 minutes. Add the soy sauce and continue cooking. Turn to medium-low heat. Cook, stirring occasionally, for 6 to 8 minutes. Transfer everything to a bowl and set aside.

6. Divide the noodles among 4 bowls, and top with sauce, tofu topping, vegetables and garnish with roasted peanuts if using. Mix well before eating. 


Nutrition Facts

Serving size: one bowl

Calories: 480

Total Fat22g28%
Saturated Fat2.8g14%
Trans Fat0g 
Total Carbohydrate46g


Dietary Fiber

Total Sugars9g 
Includes 2g Added Sugars 4%

This recipe was created in partnership with CU Anschutz Health and Wellness Center and adapted from

Do you want to learn to cook healthier for yourself and your family? CU Medicine readers can receive $2 off CU Anschutz Health and Wellness Center Fresh Take Cooking Classes held virtually on Zoom. Use the code CU_MED to receive $2 off these classes. Learn more about community nutrition services. 

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TAGS: lunar new year, noodles, protein


This post was originally posted on 1/5/2024