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Go-To Vegan Ramen Recipe: Tips for the Best Flavor and Toppings


Vegan ramen bowl

If you’ve ever sat in a ramen restaurant or seen pictures of these savory recipes, you’ve probably seen versions packed with pork belly and fatty broth. It’s not exactly something that would make a vegan feel like digging in. While the meaty versions get all the glory, vegan ramen is increasingly popular amongst people with different food lifestyles.

Best of all, you can easily take ramen recipes from your favorite cookbook or local Japanese restaurant and swap out a few ingredients to make it vegan-friendly. You can whip up delicious vegan ramen right in your own home with options as alluring as nori and tahini or as simple as garlic cloves and onions.

We’ve put together this guide to yummy vegan ramen to help you pick out oodles of noodles and other toppings to make a hearty bowl of soup. You’ll find tips on what type of broth to use, what ingredients work well, and some of our favorite vegan ramen recipes.

How to Make Vegan Ramen at Home

Vegan ramen noodle substitutes

The beauty of ramen is that it can be customized to suit all different tastes. Whether you want something hearty and salty or prefer lighter flavors, you can put your own spin on ramen.

There are three main components of ramen: the broth, noodles, and toppings. While ramen may be the glory food of college students, it can be elevated with the addition of a few ingredients.

Here, we’ll show you which types of broth are vegan-approved, what noodles to try, and which toppings make the best ramen bowls.

Broth 

Delicious ramen bowls start with an incredible slurp-worthy broth. Gone are the days when your mom used to yell at you for making noise when chewing. With ramen, the more noise the better, so feel free to get loud.

If you’ve ever been to a ramen restaurant, you’ve seen just how many broth options are out there. For vegan broths, you’ll want to skip the chicken, beef, or pork and use veggie-based broths instead. 

There are four main types of ramen broth: shio, tonkotsu, miso, and shoyu. If you don’t want to eat animals, you’re in luck, because three of those options are vegan friendly. While shio and shoyu typically have meat added to the broth, you can leave out the meat for a vegan-friendly option. The only one you’ll definitely need to avoid is tonkotsu, which is a pork bone-based broth and can’t be made without using pork.

Feeling salty after a long day? Grab some shio ramen. Shio translates to “salt” and is a salty broth that is traditionally made with a chicken or pork base. Instead of the meat, you can add ingredients such as scallions, ginger, garlic cloves, and dried shiitake mushrooms. You can find these ingredients at Asian grocery stores, on online retailers such as Amazon, and in health food stores like Whole Foods. The salty flavor of the broth also pairs well with seaweed. 

Miso is a Japanese seasoning made from fermented soybeans, salt, and koji — a fungus used to make bean paste and sake. Miso can also be made with other ingredients including rice and seaweed. There are several different types of miso including yellow miso paste and white miso paste. Most types of miso broth offer a full-bodied feel and a savory flavor. It pairs well with firm tofu, dried kelp like kombu, and root veggies like radishes.

Still not sold on vegan ramen broth? Allow us to show you … shoyu. Shoyu is a Japanese soy sauce made from fermented soybeans. It offers a salty and umami flavor and the soup is often flavored with seafood and chicken. Swap out the meat and use pickled bamboo, green beans, and bok choy instead to make a vegetable broth.

Noodles

Feel like finding vegan noodles is mission impossible? Don’t! There are plenty of noodle alternatives to classic egg noodles that you can use instead. 

Ramen noodles are traditionally made using a combination of flours that are high in protein and gluten. The gluten gives the noodle a firm and chewy texture that holds up well in ramen soup broth. The ramen noodles also contain kansui, an alkaline ingredient that works similarly to baking soda. 

Some noodles — particularly fresh ramen noodles — are fortified with eggs. Look for noodles that are labeled vegan friendly or double-check the packaging to make sure there aren’t any dairy products. 

For noodles that pack fewer carbs, use keto-friendly noodles such as immi ramen noodles, zucchini noodles, kelp noodles, or shirataki noodles.

Toppings

Add fibrous veggies like menma — seasoned bamboo shoots — that can help make the vegan ramen more filling. Plant-based proteins including tofu, edamame, toasted sesame seeds, and beans can also make a bowl of vegan ramen feel heartier. We love adding greens like baby spinach, zucchini, and broccoli florets. Green onions, mushrooms, and bean sprouts are a great go-to option while sweet potatoes, ginger, and cauliflower can take things up a notch.

Add sauce and spices to add dimension to the broth. For a touch of spiciness, add sriracha sauce, wasabi, or another hot sauce. Poppy seeds, white sesame seeds, orange zest, and red pepper flakes can also add depth and flavor to your broth. Sesame oil, lime juice, and nori all add a lively touch to the classic flavor profile of ramen. Mirin, a Japanese rice wine, can also add a hint of sweetness that contrasts beautifully with the salty tones of ramen broth.

If you need more inspiration, check out our ramen recipes. While many of them are meat-based, you’ll find vegan-friendly ingredient ideas you can toss into your soup.

Delicious Vegan Ramen Recipe

Bowl of ramen with veggies

Making homemade ramen is quick and easy. Start by bringing water to a boil in a large pot on the stove. Add in any seasonings and your broth base, whether it’s miso paste, soy sauce, or a touch of salt. Toss in your vegetables and noodles and simmer on medium-high heat until cooked. Pour the ingredients into a large bowl and add sauces, pastes, and fresh veggies as desired. 

Don’t feel like playing chef and inventing your own vegan recipe? No problem. We’ve made a quick and easy vegan ramen recipe you can follow instead. 

Avocado Miso Ramen Topped With Avocado Tempura

While our original avocado miso ramen recipe calls for eggs, we’ve modified this one to be totally vegan-friendly. In this recipe, we’ll substitute aquafaba for the eggs in our vegetarian ramen recipe. Aquafaba is bean water typically made from chickpeas. You can buy it at health food stores or you can make your own at home. Just open a can of chickpeas and reserve the liquid.

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 ripe avocado, thinly sliced
  • 1 tablespoon of seltzer water 
  • 3 tablespoons aquafaba
  • 4 tablespoons of almond flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon of baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon of baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon of salt
  • 1/4 medium-sized yellow onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 3 cups of olive oil or unflavored coconut oil, plus more for drizzling
  • Salt to taste
  • 2 tablespoons of miso paste
  • 1 cup hot water
  • 1 serving of immi noodles, without the seasoning packet
  • 1 can of corn
  • 1 green onion stalk, thinly sliced
  • 1 can of bamboo shoots
  • (optional) Red pepper flakes 

Instructions:

  1. Chill the aquafaba for a few minutes so it is cold. Whip the bean water until it becomes frothy. 
  2. Add 1 tablespoon of seltzer water to the aquafaba and combine with 4 tablespoons of almond flour. Add 1/4 teaspoon each of salt, baking powder, and baking soda. 
  3. Dip avocado slices in the batter. 
  4. Heat the olive oil or coconut oil in a medium saucepan. Once hot, place the avocado slices in the pan. Fry until the breading becomes crispy — about 2 minutes. Remove the avocado slices and allow them to cool.
  5. While cooling, heat a generous drizzle of olive oil in a small pan over medium-high heat. Add onions and garlic and saute until caramelized.
  6. Put the caramelized veggies, salt, miso paste, hot water, and the other half of the avocado in a blender. Mix the ingredients together until it creates a smooth broth.
  7. Pour the hot broth into a large dinner bowl and serve with Immi ramen noodles or another noodle option. 
  8. Add toppings like a bit of corn, green onions, some bamboo shoots, and red pepper flakes as desired. Place the tempura avocado on top and enjoy!

Slurp Soup Without the Meat

Two bowls of ramen next to each other

Whether you want to indulge in hearty comfort food on the weekend or treat yourself to a weeknight delight, vegan ramen is a delicious choice. This noodle soup is easy to make at home and you can switch things up to suit your taste preferences. From yummy umami seaweed to a drizzle of hot sauce, there are homemade ramen toppings everyone will love. 

With these easy vegan ramen ideas, you’ll be slurping up savory noodles in no time. Just turn the stove to medium heat or high heat, saute a few veggies, grab your favorite ramen noodles, and steep it all in the vegan broth of your choice. In minutes, you’ll be sitting down to a healthy and satisfying meal.


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