Really Great Vegan Ramen
Today we're going to tackle great vegan ramen. Vegetarian or vegan ramen can absolutely be as good as its meat-based counterparts. You introduce your favorite noodles to a rich, miso-scallion nut-milk broth. Add a blitz of seasonal toppings, and spicy turmeric oil to finish.
Today we're going to tackle vegan ramen. Slurping noodles from a big bowl of feisty, aromatic broth is hard to beat, and I wanted to share how great ramen bowls can come together relatively easily, year round. Ramen is incredibly versatile, and I play fast and loose with the concept overall. You have the ability to adapt the noodles, the tare (seasoning), the broth base, and the toppings. I'll talk through a bunch of the ways you can play around below. The goal here is to give you a great jumping off point. This approach allows you to wing it on a weeknight based on what you have on hand.
What Makes a Great Vegetarian or Vegan Ramen?
If I'm eating out, and a vegetarian or vegan ramen is on the menu, I'll order it. I've had some incredible versions, but broadly speaking they can be very salty, and quite oily. This version is not that. In fact, part of what I love about making ramen at home is that you can season your broth to be just how you like it. You can really personalize it. This version delivers a rich miso-scallion nut milk broth. You introduce your favorite noodles, a blitz of seasonal toppings, and spicy turmeric oil to finish.
How to Choose Your Noodles
There are many different noodles you can use here. Seek out fresh udon or ramen noodles, or keep a variety of dried noodles on hand for last-minute ramen. Soba noodles work great. I've also been using some of the whole-grain noodles, and they're pretty good. The one in the photograph is a millet & brown rice ramen.
What is Miso Tare?
Think of this as the seasoning paste for your ramen broth. I've included a base recipe here, but please(!) use it as a jumping off point. It's fine to adapt with other chopped herbs and spices as well. My main advice here - make a big batch of the miso tare and keep it on hand. I keep some in the refrigerator, and the bulk portioned out in the freezer. This is the secret to quick weeknight ramen. If you're avoiding soy, use a chickpea miso.
The Importance of Great Broth
You want to get the broth right. My favorite broth base for this is a blend of homemade cashew milk & almond milk. It has beautiful body and flavor, and grips the noodles nicely. That said, there are plenty of nights when I'm feeling lazy, and I just grab for whatever almond milk is in the refrigerator. Still delicious.
The Secret Turmeric Weapon
This is another component you can keep on hand. Both in the refrigerator and/or freezer. If you have everything else needed to make a ramen bowl, but don't have the spice oil - cheat with a dollop of something spicy from the condiments in your refrigerator, or stir some crushed chile flakes into a bit of oil over gentle heat, and use that as a finishing drizzle, or to toss the raw veggies.
Keep your Vegan Ramen Seasonal
The ramen you see pictured is a late-summer version, but part of the fun here is adapting through the year. Toss quick-cooking vegetables like broccoli, asparagus, and cauliflower into the noodle water for the last minute, and drain everything together. No need to get an extra pot going.
If you like this recipe, be sure to browse all these other favorite soup recipes as well! Other favorite noodle recipes include: my favorite pad thai, sriracha rainbow noodle salad, and black sesame otsu. Pasta with Smashed Zucchini Cream is also really good, or browse this list of tasty noodle soups!
Really Great Vegan Ramen
You'll have lots of leftover miso tare and spice oil here. Keep it on hand for quick ramen nights later in the week. The spice oil is also good on breakfast congee, savory oatmeals, eggs, etc. I've even use it on salad greens, or vegetable salads as a quick dressing
- 2 tablespoons Spicy Turmeric Oil, or to taste (recipe below)
- 12 ounces dried ramen noodles, or favorite noodles of your choice
- 4 cups cashew milk or almond milk
- 3 tablespoons Miso Tare (recipe below), or to taste
- 2 small cucumbers, cut into 1/4 inch cubes
- basket of halved cherry tomatoes (fresh or roasted)
- 1/2 of a bunch of broccoli florets (toss into noodle water at the last minute)
- 1 1/2 cups of fresh corn
- 1 1/2 cups cubed tofu
- torn fresh basil
- sliced scallions
- chopped peanuts
- sliced green beans (toss into noodle water at the last minute)
- shredded kale massaged with a bit of lemon juice and olive oil
- roasted brussels sprouts*
- roasted sweet potatoes*
- roasted onion*
- toasted hazelnuts
- toasted nori
- shaved radish
- shredded cabbage
- shredded kale massaged with a bit of lemon juice and toasted sesame oil
- roasted cauliflower
- fava beans
- toasted pine nuts or sliced almonds
Toss whatever raw vegetables you're using with the Spicy Turmeric Oil, and divide them between bowls. Cook the noodles according to package, and divide into four bowls. Gently heat the cashew milk (if serving hot), just until very hot (not simmering). Stir some of the milk into the 3 tablespoons of Miso Tare to thin it out, and then add it back to the cashew milk. Taste, and add more Miso Tare if needed. The broth should taste great at this point!
Pour one cup of broth over each plate of noodles. Top with any extra toppings, nuts, or vegetables you might be using.
- 1 cup white miso, or chickpea miso
- 1 teaspoon crushed chile flakes
- 4 scallions (or shallots), thinly sliced, including greens
- 3- inch piece of ginger, peeled and grated
- 4 medium garlic cloves, peeled and grated
- 2 tablespoons mirin
- 1 tablespoon spicy paste (for ex: fermented gochujang paste or a favorite curry paste)
Combine the miso, chile flakes, scallions, ginger, garlic, mirin, and spice paste in a small saucepan over gentle heat. You just want to warm this for a few minutes, to get the ginger, garlic, and scallions to sweat a bit.
Spicy Turmeric Oil
- 2- inch segment of ginger, peeled and grated
- 1 teaspoon turmeric powder
- 3 tablespoons seeds (blend of sesame and hemp)
- 2 tablespoons crushed red pepper flakes
- 2 tablespoons hot paprika
- 2 tablespoons toasted sesame oil
- 6 tablespoons organic sunflower oil
- 2 tablespoons sake
- 1 tablespoon brown sugar
- 2 tablespoons white or chickpea miso
Combine the ginger, turmeric, seeds, red pepper flakes, and paprika with the sesame and sunflower oil in a small saucepan over very gentle heat. Bring barely to a simmer. Stir constantly for a minute, remove from heat and add the sake, brown sugar, and miso. Return to heat, and allow the flavors to combine, stirring constantly for another thirty seconds or so.
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I was planning a meal for my 19-year old daughter, but she just went vegan and I had no idea what to make. This recipe was such a crowd pleaser! For vegetables, I roasted sweet potatoes, yams, and bell peppers, and I made ramen eggs by following a recipe in another blog. It was amazing! Thank you for my first successful vegan meal!
So happy to hear it Sophie! Thanks for the note. :)
Made this for dinner and it was great. My partner is allergic to nuts so we made sesame milk and did a 50/50 sesame milk/veg stock blend, which tasted awesome. We also put fresh turmeric in the tare because we were in a bit of a hurry, and added some of the oil's other ingredients as toppings. Another great one, thanks Heidi!
So happy to hear it Jenn - love your adaptations!
HI! I'm thinking about makeing veg ramen for christmas... but my mum is allergic to nuts, aka cashew milk, is there anything to replace it with? Like soy or wheat based milk? Thanx!
HS: Hi Matilda - I think I might try a thick homemade oat milk? Let me know if you give it a go!
I made this tonight & it was delicious - spicy, slightly salty & just the right level of cashew creaminess to balance. Even my 3 & 5 year olds enjoyed. Thank you for the steady stream of non-run-of-the-mill vegetarian recipes that are not pasta &/or cheese.
Hi Heidi, Where do you find the best selection of noodles in SF? Also, what type of tofu do you prefer? I was thinking of using firm and crisping it in some spicy oil. Thanks so much for posting......and if ypu want to do a sister a huge favor I'd love to know the best places for vegetarian ramen in sf/bay area.❤ Thx.
HS: I like Shizen! Also, I buy Hodo tofu most of the time....but I love the black pepper tofu I sometimes come across (usually at Faletti's)...I've been making my own noodles a lot, but also really love Odang Udon
Made this last night - the broth is FANTASTIC! I never thought to use almond milk as a base, genius. And the aromatics in the miso tare elevate it to a whole new level.
I dont have sake on hand. Will any other alcohol work?
HS: Hi Karina, you can skip it if you like.
Heidi this Ramen is amazing! We had it twice last week and we're making it again. Even my seven year old loves it :) How long does the Miso Tare keep in the fridge? Thank you!
thanks for this -- is this the kind of thing you think can rehandle heating (only a microwave at work, alas) or not so much?
HS: Yeah! Give it a go.
Just made the summer version for dinner! It was delicious, as your recipes always are. Thank you for this! Oh and it was also even more delicious two days later.
This looks amazing, but I share the above commenter's question about substitutes for the nut milk. Almond milk is off the table (as is soy milk). We do eat dairy...would regular milk be a mistake? Skip the milk altogether?
HS: Hmm. No nuts, no soy - I suspect the next thing I would try would be a 50/50 coconut milk & water blend? Something along those lines!
It's not quite cool enough here to crave ramen yet, but I bet I will be making a version of this all winter long.
Hi Morgan, give a version with this broth chilled a try! It's delicious, and make the base concept truly flexible year-round! Enjoy.
Stumbled upon your site a few weeks ago and I'm obsessed! So glad to have found you! ❤️
Heidi, could you clarify the amount of sunflower oil needed, please? I want to make this tomorrow. Looks delicious! Thank you.
HS: Hi Karina - 6 tablespoons :) - that said, if you like a strong toastd sesame taste, you could do something like 4 tablespoons of the sunflower oil and 4 tablespoons of the toasted sesame oil. Make sense? I like a bit of sesame flavor, but not so much that it's overpowering. Enjoy!
Heidi: Thanks so much for sharing this! I too would love the names of some of the brands of noodles you would choose if we can't get fresh. I am determined and inspired by your blog and will check my local Asian grocery stores.
I'm interested in your spicy tumeric oil. What other recipes do you use this for? I am growing fresh tumeric an would like to try it in this recipe. Ever tried that? Can you suggest other recipes to use fresh tumeric? How long does this oil keep in the fridge? Thanks
Do you think non-nut milks would work as well? We have a nut allergy in the family.
Hi, Just wanted to ask a dumb question: when you say miso, do you mean just the paste, or do you mean made into broth and then used? I assume the former, but just in case. Love your recipes!
Heidi THANKS SO MUCH!!! Have totally been crazy for ramen bowls and always look for you for elaborating inspirations. Commenting because there is disappointed (sob) not having a youtube link to watch one of your GREAT demonstrations...PLEASE MAKE A RAMEN BOWL DEMO FOR YOUTUBE I guess is what I'm really asking. Please! big love!
Where do you get your noodles? Are there some good sources in sf? And the chickpea miso? I'm intrigued. Also if ypu wouldn't mind sharing your top 2 or 3 places for good veggie ramen......my friends and I usually seem to only find pork-based broths. Thanks in advance Heidi!!! Appreciate.