The best homemade vegan tofu ramen. Crispy extra-firm tofu cooked with ramen noodles cooked in a delicious miso broth in under 30 minutes. Discover how to make this easy vegan ramen from scratch today.
Ramen is a noodle dish unlike any other. The classic Japanese broth is rich with a comforting umami flavor and, best of all, is easy to make from scratch. Traditional ramen recipes contain shredded pork, but the good news is that this is easy to adapt in order to create a vegan-friendly version.
This easy dish is one of our best vegan ramen recipes, and it’s easy to see why: It’s loaded with crispy firm tofu and shiitake mushrooms, cooked in a fresh noodle broth with miso paste, soy sauce, and fresh wheat noodles. The end result is a warm and hearty bowl of broth that you’ll come back to time and time again.
From pressing tofu to choosing the best noodles, discover how to make the best vegan tofu ramen today.
When making vegan tofu ramen, the choice of tofu is important since tofu is the star. Firm or extra-firm tofu is the variety with the right texture for ramen. Firm tofu varieties crisp up when you cook them and add texture to your ramen (be sure to drain the liquid first).
Don’t use silken tofu for this recipe. Silken tofu is a soft, smooth ramen that will take on a slippery texture and become hard to eat. Some ramen recipes can work with silken tofu, but not this one as you want firm, crispy cubes that you can’t achieve with soft tofu.
Dried Shiitake Mushrooms
Dried shiitake mushrooms add a burst of umami flavor to your ramen, particularly if you are keeping your ramen vegan. However, if you are using dried mushrooms, they require a bit of prep before they are ready for your ramen.
Take out the number of shiitake mushrooms you are using for your ramen, put them in a bowl, and cover them in boiling water. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and let the mushrooms soak until they double in size, for about 20 minutes. You can drain the liquid or use it to add extra flavor to your broth.
When you’re slicing your shiitake mushrooms, only use the caps, not the stems. Dried shiitake mushroom stems are very tough even after rehydrating.
The best noodles for ramen have alkaline water, or kansui, which makes them the right texture for the dish. Noodles traditionally used for ramen include soba, udon, and somen. These noodles have the right sleek texture for absorbing the flavors of ramen but are thick enough to form a substantial presence in the broth.
Avoid using extra-fine noodles such as vermicelli as these tend to be too floppy for ramen. If you want thin noodles, use somen instead.
Miso paste is a fermented soybean paste that often forms the flavorful base for Japanese cooking. It comes in white, red, and mixed varieties, depending on the fermentation process. While the taste of miso differs greatly depending on the variety, most miso tastes salty, tangy, and has a hint of funk from the fermentation.
Miso paste is important in building flavor for your ramen and adding a savory punch to your broth. It also helps you get a more authentic recipe, as miso is a staple of Japanese cooking.
Also known as sunachiku (or ‘Chinese bamboo’), menma is a traditional Japanese topping for ramen consisting of fermented bamboo shoots. Essentially a spin on pickled vegetables, they go perfectly on ramen or any other noodle broth dish.
The beauty of ramen is that you can customize it by adding your choice of vegetables, but here are a few ideas to help you make the best vegan ramen bowl.
Leafy green vegetables such as bok choy add a bit of crunch to your ramen. To help these vegetables retain their texture, stir them in just before the ramen is done cooking as they need only a short cooking time.
Most ramen recipes end with scallions as a topping. Scallions add a savory, fresh punch to your ramen.
Bean sprouts are another common vegetable for ramen. Bean sprouts add crunch, diversifying the ramen’s texture, and only need a few minutes to cook so you can stir them in at the end of the recipe.
Why Press Tofu?
Before cooking your tofu, you need to press it. When tofu is manufactured and stored, it usually comes in a package with some liquid to keep it fresh. However, once you start cooking, this liquid is a hindrance.
You want to get as much moisture out of the tofu as possible before cooking. Soggy tofu does not crisp up and will not retain its structure while cooking. Pressing tofu, whether you use a tofu press or put it between two heavy tins, will help it crisp up.
Vegan Tofu Ramen
- 1 tbsp sesame oil
- 2 cloves garlic minced
- 1 inch fresh ginger finely chopped
- 2 tsp miso paste
- 1 red chili pepper finely sliced
- ½ cup dried shiitake mushrooms
- 1 carrot finely sliced into matchsticks
- 2 tbsp dark soy sauce
- 8 cups vegetable stock
- 1 package extra-firm tofu drained and pressed
- 1 tbsp cornstarch
- 1 tbsp vegetable or sunflower oil
- 1 package ramen noodles
- 2 green onion chopped
- 2 baby bok choi
- 1 oz bean sprouts
For the Broth
- Heat oil in a large pot over medium-low heat. Add the minced garlic and chopped ginger, and sauté for 3-4 minutes.
- Add carrot matchsticks, red chili, miso paste, shiitake mushrooms, and dark soy sauce. Cover with vegetable broth and bring to boil. Reduce heat and simmer.
For the Ramen
- Cut the pressed tofu into cubes, about ½-inch wide. Add to mixing bowl and toss in cornstarch.
- Heat oil in a pan or skillet over high heat. Add tofu and fry until crispy, about 2-3 minutes on each side. Remove from pan and set aside in a bowl, and cover.
- Cook the ramen noodles for about 1 minute less than package instructions. Drain.
- Add the fried tofu, ramen noodles, bok choi, and green onions to the broth. Simmer for 2-3 minutes.
- Serve hot, topped with bean sprouts and green onion garnish