If you know me then you’ll know that I am a big lover of all things noodle soup. Having spent a few years living in Asia, I built up an obsession for Pho, Ramen, Laksa, and pretty much anything that consists of noodles in a broth.
Whilst I was visiting Japan I went on a magical ramen journey across the country. I tried pretty much every vegan ramen that existed in the cities I visited. And I loved absolutely every single bit of it, from the moment you spot the restaurant with its steamed-up windows, entering into the most wonderful smelling room, to slurping up the noodles with the biggest grin on your face.
Since then, I have been on a mission to create my own vegan ramen recipe, In particular, vegan miso ramen, my absolute favourite ramen! Something that would transport me back to those steamy fragrant rooms hidden away in the basements of unsuspecting Japanese buildings.
Unfortunately, ramen isn’t traditionally vegan. Therefore, many recipes you’ll find online aren’t suitable. And if they are, many of them lack the true depth of flavour that you will find in traditional ramen. But it is definitely possible to achieve a really tasty vegan ramen with a lovely depth of flavour, and I believe I have done so with this recipe! So, let me take you through my vegan miso ramen variation, based on the delicious ramen that I was fortunate enough to eat whilst in Japan.
What is ramen?
Ramen is a Japanese noodle dish consisting of wheat noodles inside a big bowl of broth. This is then topped with various different ingredients, mostly animal-based.
There are many variations of traditional ramen with many Japanese restaurants and families having their own recipes that they fall upon. Within this, though are four popular types of ramen that you will see quite regularly, including shoyu ramen (soy sauce base), shio ramen (salt base), tan tan ramen (a Chinese x Japanese fusion), and miso ramen (miso base).
The ramen recipe that I have created here is based on one of my favourite types, miso ramen. So, let me go into more detail about this specific dish!
What is miso ramen?
Miso ramen is a type of ramen that is made using miso paste. The miso paste brings a salty umami flavour to the dish and is often complimented by the flavours of sake and sesame.
Traditionally, it is made with chicken stock and topped with seaweed, sweetcorn, and pork.
Miso ramen can also be made by adding soy milk to the broth, which helps to add a creamy element to this salty umami ramen. It is this variation that I am focusing on here. I simply can’t get enough of it!
Soy milk versus oat milk broth
Soy milk broths are very common in Japanese ramen. The soy milk helps to add a creaminess to the broth. I find it incredibly comforting. Like a hug in a bowl!
However, I am not the biggest fan of soy milk so I never really have it at home. So I thought I’d give this recipe a go using my trusty oat milk and it works an absolute charm.
Oat milk also brings a lovely creaminess to the dish whilst providing a subtle neutral flavour that doesn’t overpower the dish. That being said, I’d recommend using thicker oat milk, like a barista style, because if it is too thin then it won’t cream up as nicely.
If you do like soy milk and have some at home, then do feel free to use this instead of oat milk as I do in my vegan miso ramen recipe!
Is miso ramen vegan-friendly?
Miso ramen is made using the fermented soybean paste, miso. This paste is naturally vegan-friendly. However, many miso ramen broths are cooked using animal-based stocks. So even if it may look vegan on the surface, it isn’t necessarily vegan-friendly.
That being said, it is very easy to veganise miso ramen by using a veg-based stock instead.
As for the toppings, there are plenty of vegetables that are used, including sweetcorn, seaweed, and spring onions. But you will find many miso ramens are topped with an animal-based protein source, like pork. Vegan versions of miso ramen tend to be topped with tofu or fake meats, as well as plenty of vegetables.
Vegan miso ramen toppings
The vegan miso ramen broth is a great base for many different vegan ingredients. I like to pick a protein source and a mix of vegetables. But make sure not to overdo it, the broth is best left to sing for itself!
In my vegan miso ramen picture, I have included broccoli, tofu, and edamame. I also regularly eat this ramen with sweetcorn, which is very traditional. But here is another great version of a traditional miso ramen topping I have used in this recipe before and you can try too:
OmniPork plant-based pork mince meat
This is some of the most realistic vegan pork that I have ever tried. But not too realistic that you won’t enjoy it. It has a lovely saltiness to it that you’d expect from a meat product. It fries off well and works really well scattered on top of this vegan miso ramen.
How do you make this vegan miso ramen?
Making your own ramen can sound overwhelming, but it really is quite simple. Just follow these easy steps to get started making your own tasty vegan miso ramen:
- Toast sesame seeds and blitz into a paste with sesame oil
- Make your tare (sauce base) using the sesame paste, miso paste, soy sauce, rice vinegar, chilli oil, and sugar
- Fry off onion, garlic and ginger before adding in dried shiitake mushrooms and wakame seaweed with vegetable stock and oat milk
- Cook the broth for about 20 minutes whilst you prep all your topping ingredients
- Cook your ramen noodles according to packet instructions, then drain and rinse with cold water
- Blend your cooked broth until silky smooth, put back onto the heat
- Assemble your ramen bowls and evenly dollop in your tare paste
- Pour in the hot blended broth into the bowls and gently mix the tare in using a chopstick
- Top each bowl with cooked noodles, vegan protein source, and vegetables
- Slurp away!
Now you have a better idea of how to make this vegan miso ramen, check out my recipe below to get cooking!
Vegan miso ramen with oat milk broth
Tare (sauce base)
- Start by toasting 4 tbsp of sesame seeds in a frying pan on a medium-high heat. Make sure to move the seeds around the pan so they don't burn. Fry until they are golden and the seeds are popping out of the pan. Remove from the heat and cool
- Put your cooled sesame seeds into a blender with the rest of the tare ingredients and blend until it forms a smooth paste. Alternatively, you can do this step in a mortar & pestle but the paste will be a bit rough. Set aside the tare until later.
- Heat up 1 tbsp rapeseed oil in a casserole pot and cook off your chopped onion for about 10 minutes on a medium heat. The onion should be soft and golden
- Add your chopped garlic, grated ginger, shiitake mushrooms, and dried wakame seaweed in with your onions and fry off for another 2-3 minutes
- Pour the vegetable stock and oat milk into the pot and bring to a low simmer. Cook this for 20 minutes, making sure not to let it boil as this can cause the oat milk to split
- Meanwhile, you can prep your toppings. If you are using the same toppings as me, then follow the next steps:
- Prepare the tofu by slicing it into thin squares and coating it in 1 tsp sesame oil and 1 tbsp soy sauce. Then press each slice into some cornflour.
- Get a frying pan on a medium-high heat with a little bit more of the sesame oil. Fry off the tofu on each side until it is lovely and crispy. This should take about 4-5 minutes on each side
- Once the tofu is cooked, set aside and add your broccoli into the pan and fry these off on a high heat until the edges char and the insides are nice and soft. This should take about 8 minutes, but does depend on the size of your broccoli
- Cook the noodles to the packet instructions and then drain and rinse under cold water to stop them from overcooking. You can drain and coat them in a little oil to stop them from sticking
- At the same time, cook your edamame beans according to packet instructions and drain and rinse them to stop them from overcooking
- Now return to your broth. Once it is cooked, pour it into your blender with the nutritional yeast and blend the mix until it is smooth and you can't see any bits. It should turn to a really creamy yellow-brown colour
- Put the blended broth back into a saucepan and put on to a low-medium heat so that it stays warm whilst you plate up
- Evenly dollop out your tare sauce base into each serving bowl and then pour the broth on top of each. Using a chopstick or a fork, gently mix the tare into the broth so that it starts to incorporate
- Portion out the noodles into the bowls
- Place the tofu, broccoli and edamame on top. Serve with a sprinkle of sesame seeds, chilli flakes, and a lime wedge
- Slurp up!