Whenever I visit NYC, I have to enjoy a bowl of vegetarian ramen. It’s always so delicious and soothing after a cold day walking the streets. I love all the bright colors, as well as the complexity of flavors a ramen dish provides. It makes me feel fancy when indulging in these flavors, yet the reality is it can be quite affordable to make at home. My recipe is for vegan ramen — and can be modified easily depending on your preferences.
Origins of ramen
Most people believe ramen originated in Japan, yet it actually started in China. Chinese tradesmen brought their ramen recipe to Japan in the 19th century. What Americans know (and love) as instant ramen, came to America in 1958. Today, ramen can be found both in 33 cent styrofoam containers, as well as $16+ bowls at fancy restaurants. Vegetarian or not, ramen is a great on the go meal, as well as a fun date-night-in dinner under candlelight.
What makes this recipe vegan
Ramen noodles are often made with a chicken, pork, or beef broth base. This vegan ramen recipe uses a low-sodium vegetable broth. I have tried ramen both ways, and honestly like the lighter taste and feel of a veggie broth over a chicken broth. If you want to up the protein, then add in tofu. With ramen, there’s really no wrong way to go! Just a side note, vegetarian ramen can still use a meat-based broth, yet full on vegan ramen should only use vegetable broth.
How To Make Vegetarian Ramen
My vegetarian ramen recipe starts with noodles. Sometimes I’ll load the bottom up with mung bean sprouts first. If you have that option available to you, then I highly recommend it. Otherwise, start with the noodles.
After the noodles go in, then it’s time to load up the bowl with your favorite veggies. I love adding bok choy, shredded carrots and sliced shiitake mushrooms, as well as purple cabbage. The heat of the hot broth helps soften the veggies a bit. If you prefer the veggies to be more tender than crisp, saute or steam the veggies before adding them to the bowl.
Add a little drizzle of sesame oil and tamari over the veggies and green onions. Next ladle piping hot, just-simmered vegetable broth to the bowl next.
Then it’s topping time! Add your favorite toppings – keep this vegetarian ramen simple, or go fully loaded. I go with a basic trio of cilantro, thinly sliced radishes, and red pepper flakes. Other ideas: avocado, tofu cubes, more bean sprouts or microgreens, thinly sliced hot chili, or even a drizzle of sriracha.
Vegetarian ramen ingredient swaps
I try to stay away from gluten, so instead of wheat noodles, I love using Lotus Foods millet and brown rice ramen noodles. They’re super delicious, and I can get a big bag at Costco.
If you aren’t able to find bok choy, swap in swiss chard instead.
Coconut aminos are a great swap for tamari. If you’re not a fan of mushrooms, then why not switch them out with some tofu?
Simple Vegetarian Ramen
- 2 packages ramen noodles
- 4 cups vegetable broth
- 1 head baby bok choy - halved
- 1 cup shiitake mushrooms - sliced
- 1/2 cup red cabbage - thinly sliced
- 1/2 cup carrot - shredded
- 1/4 cup green onions - thinly sliced
- 2 tsp toasted sesame oil
- 2 tsp tamari
- red pepper flakes
- fresh cilantro
- In a pot, bring the vegetable broth to a boil over medium-high heat.
- Add ramen noodles and cook according to package directions.
- While noodles are cooking, get out two wide, deep soup bowls.
- Add cooked noodles and all your veggies to the bowls.
- Ladle the hot broth over the veggies and noodles. Drizzle with sesame oil and tamari, and garnish with red pepper flakes, radish slices, and cilantro, if using. Serve immediately.
- This ramen is also very good made with miso or mushroom broth.
- For a grain-free version, feel free to substitute spiralized vegetables such as zucchini or sweet potato in place of noodles.
More Vegan Recipe Options
Eating plants doesn’t have to be difficult. I hope you enjoy this vegetarian ramen recipe! The truth is: a little prep, as well as a plan goes a long way in helping you naturally incorporate more veggies into your diet. Check out a few of these plant based recipes:
- Teriyaki Bowl
- Zoodles in a Jar
- Vegan Taco Salad
- Chickpea Tacos
- Loaded Sweet Potato
- Sweet Potato Pad Thai
- Almond Butter and Veggie Zoodles
I challenge you to incorporate 1 plant based meal into your dinner rotation every week. If you already do ‘meatless Monday,’ then try adding in a second plant fueled meal. Eating more plants doesn’t have to be an all or nothing choice, yet taking steps to add more plants will only benefit you and your family. If you start with the vegan ramen recipe below, don’t forget to leave a comment and let me know how it turned out!