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Savory Vegan Miso Ramen with Crispy Tofu in 30 Minutes

How can ramen be savory & rich without meat? Umami! You CAN make restaurant-quality, vegan miso ramen with crispy tofu at home.

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How can ramen be savory & rich without meat? Umami! You CAN make restaurant-quality, vegan miso ramen with crispy tofu at home.

Bowl of vegan miso ramen with tofu strips and chopsticks

How to Make Savory Ramen Broth Without Meat? Umami!

Umami is a Japanese word meaning “savory meaty flavor”. If you’ve eaten meat most of your life, you probably never had to create umami flavor on purpose. With meat, there’s umami! But when you take the meat out of a favorite dish and don’t add umami back in… well… you’re riding the train to Boringsville.

So, let’s punch up the flavor in this easy, weeknight dinner!

3 Umami Boosters in Vegan Miso Ramen

  1. Caramelize the white part of green onions (scallions). Love caramelized onions on sandwiches? Yep. Umami.
  2. Flavor the broth with umami-rich seasonings: soy sauce, miso paste, vegetable broth concentrate paste, sesame oil, ginger and garlic. This combination of flavor has the same effect as when you saute onion and garlic for Italian food: everyone in the house starts milling around the kitchen saying “Mmm… something smells GOOD!” 🥰
  3. Add shiitake mushrooms to the soup for even MORE meaty flavor.

Can you taste the slurpy, noodley goodness yet?!

Let’s Make Vegan Miso Ramen

Marble counter and wooden cutting board with fresh vegetables, noodles and a chef knife
noodles & tofu!

Maybe you just randomly found this recipe on the inter webs… or maybe you’ve been following Sweet VegTable since day one?

Either way: I am passionate about making you the dinnertime hero! I’ve been tinkering with vegan ramen broths for months now, and it was never quite good enough for your dinner table. When I made this soup, I had that “ah ha” moment!

Precooked Tofu Cutlet

Preheat your air fryer or oven to 425. I used an air fryer because it gets extra crispy. Slice a package of precooked tofu cutlet. I prefer cooking with the precooked cutlets, because they are sturdy and don’t fall apart easily. The “skin” also gets deliciously crispy.

Pro Tip: If your grocer only carries the plastic carton with extra-firm tofu floating in water, you can certainly use it. Drain the water. Wrap the tofu block in a linen dishtowel or several layers of paper towels. Lay it on a plate and put a heavy pot or pan on top. Let it sit for 10 minutes or up to an hour. This will press out the excess water.

Drizzle a little soy sauce over the slices. Then, rub a teaspoon of the miso paste all over the slices. (If you’re using extra firm tofu not pre-cooked, rub a little extra sesame oil on the tofu to encourage crisping). Place the tofu on a lightly oiled baking sheet. Bake for 20-25 minutes.

Broth

While the tofu is cooking, heat sesame oil in the bottom of a soup pot over medium heat. Add the sliced green onion (scallion) white part that looks like a teeny onion, ginger paste and garlic paste. It’ll sizzle and pop and smell amazing. In 2 minutes, the green onion will start to brown.

Now add water, vegetable broth concentrate paste and soy sauce. If you have extra time, let the broth simmer for up to an hour (or even 3)! But, you’re probably in a hurry with hangry kids, so let’s keep going.

Miso, Somen Noodles & Vegetables

Japanese somen noodles

Hey this is a miso ramen, but where’s the miso?!

Fill a ladle with only the broth. Spoon the miso paste into the ladle. Use a fork or chopsticks to whisk the miso into the ladle of broth. It can be hard to dissolve if you dump it directly into the pot!

Add the mushrooms & carrot ribbons. Let the soup gently simmer on low-medium for 5 to 10 minutes. Once the miso is added, don’t boil the soup. Miso is a fermented food, and its amazing health benefits are lost when it’s boiled.

Then add the somen noodles and spinach. Somen may not be familiar to you yet, but once you try it you’ll love it!

Somen noodles come packaged with 4-5 little bundles. Each bundle is one serving. I find that 3 bundles is enough for 4 bowls of soup, though.

It’s the perfect noodle for soup and it cooks almost INSTANTLY because of how thin it is. You seriously just drop the somen noodles into the broth, stir a couple of times, and 👏🏻 you 👏🏻 are 👏🏻 done!

I like to sprinkle some black & white sesame seeds, green onion tops, and red pepper flakes (or sriracha) on top.

Tips & Tricks for Vegan Miso Ramen

Crispy air-fried miso tofu
  • This vegan soup is best served as soon as it’s ready. Not sure when you’re eating? Cook the tofu and simmer the broth with mushrooms & carrots. While the kids are setting the table, add the noodles and spinach. Give it a stir, and serve it up!
  • Substitutions:
    • Extra-firm tofu can be substituted for precooked tofu cutlet, however it may not get as crispy. Press excess liquid out by wrapping the tofu block in a linen dishtowel and setting a heavy pot or pan on top.
    • Other noodles can certainly be substituted for somen, if your grocer doesn’t carry it or you have other noodles in the pantry. Somen is added directly to the broth because it cooks in less than 2 minutes. Very fine rice noodle vermicelli may cook similarly, however it has not been tested (yet!). The classic “block of ramen” should be cooked without the seasoning packet in a separate pot, then added to the miso broth at the end.
    • For a gluten-free vegan miso ramen, substitute tamari or coconut aminos for soy sauce and substitute cooked rice noodles for somen.
    • I love “Better Than Bouillon” brand because of the umami punch, but if you don’t have it on-hand, substitute for 6 cups of vegetable broth.

Hungry for More?

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Vegan Miso Ramen in a bowl with crispy tofu and vegetables

Vegan Miso Ramen


  • Author: Katie Allen
  • Prep Time: 5
  • Cook Time: 25
  • Total Time: 30 minutes
  • Yield: 4 Servings 1x

Description

How can ramen be savory & rich without meat? Umami! You CAN make restaurant-quality, vegan miso ramen with crispy tofu at home.


Scale

Ingredients

Vegan Miso Ramen Broth & Noodles

  • 1 tablespoon sesame oil
  • 3 green onion stalks, thinly sliced whites & green sliced (for garnish)
  • 2 teaspoons garlic paste
  • 2 teaspoons ginger paste
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable broth concentrate paste + 6 cups water (or 6 cups vegetable broth)
  • 2 teaspoons soy sauce
  • 8 oz shiitake mushrooms, sliced
  • 2 carrots, peeled into ribbons
  • 1 package somen noodles
  • 2 tablespoons miso paste
  • 4 cups baby spinach
  • white & black sesame seeds, to garnish
  • red chili flakes or sriracha, to garnish

Air-Fried Miso Glazed Tofu

  • 8oz precooked tofu cutlet
  • 1 teaspoon miso paste
  • 1 teaspoon soy sauce

Instructions

Air Fried Miso Tofu

  1. Preheat air fryer to 425.
  2. Slice precooked tofu cutlet into 6 slices. Then halve the slices lengthwise.
  3. Coat with 1 tsp miso paste and 1 tsp soy sauce.
  4. Arrange on a lightly oiled baking sheet.
  5. Air fry for 20-25 minutes.

Miso Ramen Broth & Noodles

  1. In a large soup pot, heat coconut oil over medium heat. Add sliced green onion whites. Cook 3-4 minutes until they just begin to brown. 
  2. Add garlic and ginger pastes. Stir until fragrant (1-2 minutes).
  3. Pour vegetable broth, soy sauce and sesame oil into the pot.
  4. Add sliced shiitake mushrooms and carrot ribbons. Simmer for 5-10 minutes.
  5. Add somen noodles. They cook very quickly (less than 2 minutes), and simply need to be added to the ramen broth and stirred. They will cook as the remaining ingredients are added.
  6. To add miso paste: fill a ladle with broth. Add miso paste to the ladle. Use chopsticks or a small fork to whisk the miso paste. Once the miso has dissolved into the ladled broth, gently pour the miso into the soup pot. (Miso is hard to dissolve well when added to the whole pot). 
  7. Add baby spinach and gently push it below the surface of the soup to wilt.

Serve:

  1. Ladle broth and noodles into bowls. Top with 3 tofu slices.
  2. Garnish with white sesame seeds, black sesame seeds, sliced green onion, and red chili flakes or sriracha.

  • Category: Soup
  • Method: Stovetop
  • Cuisine: Japanese

Keywords: vegan ramen, vegan noodle soup, vegan miso ramen

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