*This recipe was published in November 2020 and updated in July 2021 with better photos and improved text. The recipe was slightly changed.
This simple vegan ramen with white miso is so hearty and satisfying! And it’s one of my favorite Asian dishes which I cook quite often these days.
Making ramen at home is not that complicated as you might think. It’s clearly not a “3 ingredient” recipe and preparation might take some time (if you want to do it right). But it’s definitely doable.
What is ramen?
In Japanese, ramen literally means “pulled noodles”. It’s basically a soup made with wheat noodles, meat, vegetables and soft boiled egg. There are actually three components in a ramen: noodles, soup and toppings.
The ramen noodles are typically made of wheat. And they’re special due to kansui (or lye water) used in the process of dough making. Kansui is an alkaline solution (potassium carbonate solution) that gives noodles a bouncy texture and a nice yellow color.
The ramen soup is, in my opinion, the key to getting that umami flavor we’re all craving for. Umami, the fifth taste (natural glutamate taste actually), means “the essence of deliciousness” in Japanese. Many believe that only meat and seafood can create the umami flavor. But reality says different! There are enough plant-based ingredients like miso, soy sauce, mushrooms, seaweed that make a great umami rich vegan ramen.
As for the ramen toppings, this is the most versatile component. You can use any vegetables you like, or whatever left in your fridge.
Vegan ramen with white miso ingredients
In this paragraph you’ll find general information about the ingredients I used, their role and possible substitutes. Check the recipe card at the end of the article for details about necessary quantities and step-by-step preparation.
Fresh noodles are always best for a ramen soup. But dry noodles will make a good job too.
As mentioned, it plays a key role in creating the umami flavor.
- white miso paste – the secret weapon in this broth; miso is a high-protein seasoning made of fermented soybeans, salt, water, grains (rice or barley), and Aspergillus oriyzae culture; there are more miso types, but for this dish I chose white miso (shiro miso), which tends to be a bit sweeter; unfortunately, there’s no appropriate substitute for miso;
- tahini (sesame paste) – this is actually a shortcut I used; traditionally, Japanese ground roasted sesame seeds in a mortar with pestle;
- kombu – dried kelp which is used extensively in Japanese, Korean and Chinese cooking; kombu is used to make dashi, the soup stock, which is an essential ingredient in many Japanese dishes, as it creates a nice flavor;
- sesame oil – used for frying and to enhance the sesame flavor;
- ground white pepper – if you don’t have any, skip it; don’t replace it with another type of pepper as it has a special flavor, specific to Japanese and Chinese soups;
- green onions – use just the whites for the soup;
- garlic & ginger
- soy sauce
- rice vinegar
- vegetables – I used shiitake and enoki mushrooms (dried wood ear mushrooms work fine too), broccoli, bok choy, carrots and Carouby pea; feel free to use any other vegetables you like: corn, cabbage, bean sprouts, etc.
- tofu – use firm tofu; I chose to fry it, but it’s not mandatory
- sesame seeds
How to make vegan ramen with white miso
There are more ways to make a good ramen. I’m just showing you a method I find quite simple to follow.
Start with preparing dashi. Place kombu in a small bowl and pour over about 250 ml of hot water. Set aside for 30 minutes to allow kombu bring out the flavor. You can even let it soak overnight for a more intense flavor.
If you prefer fried tofu, press it well to release as much water as possible, then slice it. Heat some oil in a skillet and fry tofu on both sides, until it turns golden and a bit crisp on the edges.
Next, combine well in a small bowl white miso paste, tahini, soy sauce, and rice vinegar, then set aside.
Prepare noodles according to package instructions. When they’re almost done, place into a sieve, run under cold water and let them drain.
Heat a pan over medium flame and add sesame oil. When it’s hot, add onion whites, garlic and ginger and sauté until fragrances are released. Strain dashi and add it into the pot together with white ground pepper. Cover with a lid and let it simmer for 10 minutes over low heat.
Meanwhile, wash / peel / slice the vegetables, depending on what you chose.
You can either blanch veggies separately (like I did) or add them to the soup. Either way, you need to consider their cooking time and keep them nice and crisp. I cooked broccoli, Carouby pea and fresh shiitake mushrooms for about 1 minute and the rest of the veggies for a few seconds.
When toppings are cooked, remove from the soup / water and turn off the heat. Add 5-6 tbsp of soup to the miso tahini mixture bowl and stir until combined. Then stir the mixture into the soup.
To assemble the ramen bowls, place first the noodles into the bowls, add the toppings, then pour over the soup. Add green onion and sesame seeds on top and enjoy!
Other Asian recipes you might like
- Mushroom tofu stir fry noodles
- Gado gado – Indonesian salad with spicy peanut sauce
- Thai green curry with rice noodles
- Vegan chow mein noodles
If you like this simple vegan ramen recipe, please rate it or leave a comment below; I’d love to know your feedback. And, if you prepare it, you can share a photo and tag Choose Tasty either on Instagram, or on Facebook.
Simple Vegan Ramen with White Miso
- 150 g ramen noodles or any wheat noodles
- 5 g kombu
- 750 ml hot water
- 30 g white miso
- 20 g tahini
- 2 tbsp sesame oil
- 1 tsp rice vinegar
- 2 tbsp light soy sauce or all purpose soy sauce
- 2 diced green onions just the whites
- 4 minced garlic cloves
- 1 minced ginger knob 2 cm piece
- 1 tsp salt or to taste
- ½ tsp ground white pepper
- 1 tbsp vegetable oil to fry tofu
- 150 g sliced firm tofu
- 10 shiitake mushrooms
- 100 g enoki mushrooms
- 100 g broccoli florets
- 1 bok choy
- 1 small carrot
- spring onion / sesame seeds / seaweed
- Put kombu in a bowl and pour over the hot water; set aside for 30 minutes;
- Put white miso, tahini, rice vinegar and soy sauce in a bowl and combine well; set aside;
- (Optional) Pan fry the tofu slices over medium heat until golden a bit crisp on the edges;
- Cook the noodles according to the instructions on the package; when almost done, transfer to a sieve, run under cold water and let them drain;
- Heat the sesame oil in a saucepan and, when it's hot, add onion whites, minced garlic and ginger; sauté over medium heat for 2 minutes, until fragrances are released;
- Strain dashi and add it to the saucepan together with the ground white pepper; cover with a lid and simmer for 10 minutes; add the rice vinegar, soy sauce, salt and ground pepper; if you're using shiitake or dry wood ear mushrooms, add them now into the pot; cover with a lid and let it simmer for 20 minutes;
- Meanwhile, prepare the veggies; put water into a pot and bring to a boil; blanch broccoli and shiitake mushrooms for 2 minutes, then bok choy and enoki mushrooms for 20-30 minutes;
- Remove the soup from the heat; add 50 ml of broth to the miso mixture and combine well to dilute it; pour the mixture into the soup and combine;
- To assemble the ramen bowl, put first the cooked noodles, add the blanched veggies and tofu, pour over the soup, sprinkle sesame seeds / spring onions / seaweed on top and enjoy!
- Boiling kombu makes it bitter. So don’t try to speed up the process.
- Don’t overcook the veggies; they’re much tasty and healthy al-dente.