Upgrade instant noodles with this easy vegan ramen noodles recipe. The broth is beautifully creamy thanks to the addition of tahini. Finish with your favorite toppings and get a variety of tastes and textures with every bite.
I’ve been making instant ramen since I was just a kid. It was one of the first things I ever learned how to “cook.”
Boiling noodles with a packet of seasoning mix isn’t haute cuisine, but it kept me full. And I enjoyed making little tweaks with how al dente I liked the noodles, or how much seasoning packet to use.
It’s my dream to visit Japan someday and have endless bowls of ramen while I’m there. (I’ve had my first Tokyo meal planned for years. I don’t know when I’ll get there, but someday!)
However, I don’t have any local vegan options for restaurant ramen.
So when I’m craving a hot brothy noodle soup, I pick up a package of instant ramen from the market.
Even though many ramen options aren’t vegan, you can usually find some that are on the grocery store shelves. Just read the ingredient label. (I buy Koyo ramen, and all of theirs are vegan.)
As a kid, my ramen sold in stores for 25 cents a package. The seasoning packets were questionable in terms of ingredients.
Nowadays, the instant ramen I buy is a dollar more. Still not too shabby all things told.
The noodles are baked not fried.
And the ingredient list is a lot more straightforward. It doesn’t contain any artificial preservatives, colors, or flavors.
I like to doctor the broth to make it more full flavored. And I add tahini for creamy body.
Then I finish it with my favorite part – the toppings. Toppings add nutrients, color, and variety to what can be a pretty beige meal.
This quick broth and everything-but-the-kitchen-sink take on toppings aren’t traditional. It’s not classic ramen that takes hours to make. But it is an easy lunch or dinner that tastes delicious.
Should I use the seasoning packet?
Because my favorite ramen has a very mild seasoning packet, I usually use it and then add other flavorful ingredients.
However, many ramen brands are super salty or have very specific flavors that might compete with other seasonings. In that case, I’d leave the seasoning packet out, and use Better Than Bouillon or vegetable broth instead.
Use your best judgment.
- You can add part of the seasoning packet. Then see how you feel & if you want to add the rest.
- You can omit it, and replace it with ½ teaspoon of Better Than Bouillon no chicken base.
- Or if you know you love the seasoning packet and it isn’t overly salty, add it in full.
Tahini miso broth
In addition to either the seasoning packet, broth, or Better Than Bouillon no chicken base, I add the following:
Tahini for creaminess and body
Tahini is like peanut butter but made with sesame seeds. Look for it in the center aisles of the grocery store near the Mediterranean ingredients.
White miso paste & tamari for umami
Look for miso paste in the refrigerated section of the grocery store by the tofu.
Tamari is a gluten free Japanese soy sauce that is sold in the center aisles near other soy sauces.
Brown rice vinegar for tang
Vinegar adds tanginess & balances the saltiness of the broth. Brown rice vinegar is sold in the center aisles of the grocery store, near the soy sauce, in the health market, or with other types of vinegar.
Vegan ramen toppings
My favorite part of the ramen experience is the toppings. That’s what makes one bowl to the next (or even one bite to the next) so unique.
You can satisfy whatever cravings you’re having that day. It’s also an easy way to clean out the refrigerator, because you don’t need too much of any one thing.
A little leftover tofu or seitan, the last radish in the container, the remaining pinch of shredded cabbage… All of those odds and ends pack a lot in terms of variety, color, and flavor.
Depending on the topping and your preferences, you can leave it raw, steam it, brown it, air fry it, or pop it in the microwave before adding it to the bowl.
Here are some topping ideas to get you started.
- Shredded cabbage mix
- Sugar snap peas or English peas
- Sliced carrots
- Bell peppers
- Corn – fresh or frozen
- Spring onions
- Daikon or radishes
- Bok choy
- Brussels sprouts
- Baked tofu – teriyaki or sriracha
- Eggy tofu or vegan egg
- Seitan chicken, seitan bacon, or smoked seitan
Pickled or fermented things
- Quick pickled jalapeños
- Pickled red onions
- Pickled ginger
- Vegan kimchi (Remember to look for a fish-free variety!)
- Gochujang (Try this instead of or in addition to miso)
- Toasted sesame seeds
- Chili oil
- Sesame oil (Don’t get too heavy-handed with this. A little goes a long way.)
Can I replace ramen with other noodles?
For this recipe I use the vegan ramen noodles from a 2.1 ounce package of Koyo garlic pepper flavored organic ramen. But I’ve also used other noodles for this recipe, and it works great.
(I also like Momofuku noodles without the seasoning packet. But you’ll need more water, because it’s a larger amount of noodles.)
If the noodles are more of an instant style (like packaged ramen), and they cook in about 4 minutes, go ahead and cook them in the broth.
But if you’re using sturdier pasta-style noodles with a longer cooking time (like 10 minutes), I recommend cooking them separately in boiling water according to package directions. Then drain and add them to the flavored broth.
If you’re using a larger amount of noodles or if you just like a brothier soup, increase the amount of water. About ¼ cup is usually good.
If you’re craving a chewier noodle, try this udon noodle soup.
If you’re gluten-free, you’ll want to use gluten-free noodles. Be sure that any broth or bouillon, miso, and tamari you’re using are gluten free as well.
How to make it
Here’s what you will need for the soup base.
Put the following into a small to medium sized soup pot:
- White miso paste
- Rice vinegar
- Vegan seasoning packet or ½ teaspoon of Better Than Bouillon no chicken base
Stir until dissolved and bring to a boil.
Add ramen noodles. Cook for about 4 minutes (or whatever time is listed on the package), until softened to your liking.
Pour the noodles & broth into a bowl. Top with your choice of chopped raw or cooked vegetables, tofu, and/or seitan.
How to store leftovers
Ramen noodles are easy to overcook. If they spend too much time in liquid, they can become mushy. So I usually make just the amount I need for one serving.
However, there are occasions where I get a little overly generous with toppings, and suddenly one serving becomes two.
On those occasions, I recommend separating the noodles and any raw ingredients. Store them in the refrigerator separately from the broth.
Then when you are ready to reheat, incorporate the noodles with the broth & heat in the microwave or in a pot on the stove. Garnish with any cold toppings.
Easy vegan ramen noodles with tahini miso broth
- Add water, tahini, white miso paste, tamari, rice vinegar, and the seasoning packet to a small or medium sized soup pot. Bring to a boil and stir until the ingredients are full dissolved.
- Add ramen noodles. Cook about 4 minutes (or whatever time is listed on the package), until softened to your liking. If you'd like a brothier soup, add up to ¼ cup more of water.
- Pour the noodles and broth into a bowl. Top with your choice of chopped raw or cooked vegetables, baked tofu, and/or seitan.