This Vegetarian Ramen recipe is so flavorful that it’s going to rock your world! Learn the secret of creating a super-rich & creamy broth without any meat bones. It really stacks up to the ramen shop standard. Or dare I say better?!
Hello, ramen aficionados! Are you ready for a bowl of incredibly rich, umami-filled vegetarian ramen that is going to rock your world? I know, I smell some skepticism in the air. For non-vegetarians, you may be questioning if it’s possible to create a pot of vegetarian ramen broth that rivals the ones that have gone through long simmering of meat bones, cartilage, and fat at all. My answer is YES. You can make soul-satisfying vegetarian ramen at home that tastes just as rich a bowl of Tonkotsu broth. My ramen critic, Mr. JOC, didn’t even realize it was vegetarian when he tasted the soup.
This recipe teaches you how to use secret ingredients to make a pot of vegetarian ramen so rich and satisfying that you’d never guess it was devoid of meat. This is real-deal ramen that is worthy to make. Now if you’re vegetarian or vegan (minus the egg topping), you are in for a treat today!
Watch How To Make Vegetarian Ramen
Spicy and rich vegetarian ramen recipe made with soy milk and vegetarian dashi. This ramen broth is super rich and milky, and it just might trick you thinking it’s Tonkotsu broth!
Soy Milk – The Secret to Rich & Creamy Broth
To create a vegetarian ramen broth that is smooth, rich and creamy, the secret lies on the plant-based soy milk. The use of soy milk also adds color, depth, and hint of delicate sweetness that rounds up the flavor of the soup.
If you are not aware, soy milk has been used in flavoring broths and soups in many East Asian cooking for a long time. In Japan, there is Soy Milk Ramen (豆乳ラーメン) made of a simple combination of soy milk and ramen. If you happen to visit Kyoto, you can check out Mamezen for its amazing vegetarian menu using soy milk.
When I was challenged to use a Silk‘s plant-based beverage to create meat-and dairy-free version of my favorite fall recipes, I immediately knew that I wanted to use soy milk to make my all-time cold-weather favorite dish, ramen.
Hopefully, by the end of this, I could convince you (even if you’re not vegetarian) to try this rich and creamy delicious Soy Milk Ramen. The best part of this ramen recipe? It takes less than 20 minutes to make!
Vegetarian Ramen Broth – The Other Secrets Ingredients
The soy milk ramen in Japan is not necessarily vegetarian or vegan-friendly. Just like regular Tonkotsu, Shoyu, or Miso ramen, the broth can be made with pork bone (Tonkotsu 豚骨) or chicken carcass (Torigara 鶏ガラ). To make the soup even more complex, most of the ramen soup usually contains seafood-based stock using bonito flakes (Katsuobushi 鰹節) and kelp (kombu 昆布).
So how do we get rich and tasty vegetarian ramen broth without pork or chicken bone in it?
Dashi – Umami Packed Broth
To make this dish vegetarian and vegan-friendly, we’ll be making dashi with dried shiitake mushroom and kombu. Both are packed with umami substance and they are inevitable in this recipe. Please DO NOT SUBSTITUTE if you want to make a bowl of authentic ramen broth.
If you’re not vegetarian/vegan, you can substitute Awase Dashi (regular dashi) instead of Kombu & Shiitake Dashi.
2 Key Ingredients for Flavorful Ramen Soup
The other key ingredients that we need to make this quick ramen soup are miso and fermented broad bean paste. These two condiments enhance the flavors of the soup and add layers of complexity. Again, for a vegetarian broth that is robust in flavor, do NOT SUBSTITUTE these two ingredients.
The big tub on the left is (my favorite brand of) miso (味噌), Japanese fermented soybean paste. There are different kinds of miso available in the market, but if you are not sure which one to pick, get Awase miso (the combination of red + white miso) or Koji miso. They work great for almost all recipes that call for miso. More about miso on this page.
2. Fermented Broad Bean Paste
The two jars in the picture above are fermented broad bean paste (豆瓣酱). The one on the left is spicy, Chili Bean Sauce/Paste (La Dobanjiang or La Tobanjiang 辛豆瓣酱), and the one on the right is non-spicy, Fermented Broad Bean Paste (Dobanjiang or Tobanjiang, 豆瓣酱).
The Chinese name for this sauce is always the same, 豆瓣酱 for non-spicy and 辣豆瓣酱 for spicy. However, English names might have “Sauce” on one jar and “Paste” on the other, or “Bean Paste” on one jar and “Broad Bean Paste” on the other.
If there’s any confusion, check the ingredients on the label. The first two ingredients should be “fermented broad bean paste” and “soybean”. If you want to make NON-SPICY ramen, make sure to pick the jar that doesn’t contain chili (You can tell from the color of the paste). Pay extra attention that it is NOT Black Bean Sauce even though the names might seem similar.
I know many of you can’t find this non-spicy bean paste, Dobanjiang or Tobanjiang (shown on the left) at Asian grocery stores. Amazon doesn’t sell this, but you can buy it from Asian Food Grocer (it’s a good online shop!).
Where To Find Ramen Noodles
In my local Japanese grocery stores, they sell packages of fresh ramen noodles (with soup packages included, but I don’t use them). Sun Noodles make great noodles if you can find them locally.
If you don’t have access to fresh ramen noodles, you can purchase this dried “Chuka Men” (Chinese style noodles) by HIME at Japanese or Asian grocery stores (Amazon used to carry this item but not at this time).
For gluten-free noodles, click here.
If you want to stick with the traditional ramen toppings, I recommend:
- scallions (green onions)
- sweet corn
- ramen egg (not for vegan)
- seaweed (nori)
- wood-ear mushrooms
- bamboo shoots
- bean sprouts (I used my Spicy Bean Sprout Salad today)
However, feel free to enjoy your ramen with what you have on hand. You can use any ingredients that compliment the ramen broth and ramen noodle texture. Homemade vegetarian kimchi, bok choy, spinach, deep-fried tofu or edamame are just some of the examples that go well with your ramen. There is plenty of flexibility to work with.
If You’re Not Vegetarian or Vegan…
If you are not vegetarian or vegan, you can add 1/8 lb (57 g) minced pork per recipe (serves 1) between Step 6 and Step 7 to create more complexity. You can also check out my Chashu recipe. The bottom line – use my recipe as a guide and create your own version.
Enjoy! And I hope this Vegetarian Ramen will be your go-to recipe. Once you’ve tried it, leave a comment below and let me know how it goes.
Japanese Ingredient Substitution: If you want to look for substitutes for Japanese condiments and ingredients, click here.
- 1 Tbsp white and black sesame seeds (roasted/toasted)
- 2 cloves garlic
- ½ inch ginger
- green onion/scallion (use white part)
- 2 tsp sesame oil (roasted)
- 2 tsp Doubanjiang (spicy chili bean sauce/broad bean paste) (See Notes)
- 2 tsp miso
- 1 Tbsp sake
- 2 tsp soy sauce
- 1 cup unsweetened soy milk
- ½ cup dashi (ingredients & instruction in the recipe)
- ¼ tsp kosher/sea salt (use half for table salt)
- Dash white pepper powder
- 1 ramen noodles (See Notes for GF)
Gather all the ingredients. For 2 servings, simply double the ingredients.
- Soak the kombu and dried shiitake mushroom in ¾ cup water for at least 30 minutes. Transfer the liquid into a small saucepan, including kombu and shiitake mushroom. Slowly bring the liquid to a boil over low heat. This will help enhance the dashi flavor.
- Right before the liquid turns into a full boil, remove the kombu and shiitake mushroom from the dashi. If you leave the kombu in the liquid, the dashi will become slimy. Turn off the heat and set aside.
- Grind sesame seeds until they are crushed (I use this Japanese ceramic mortar and wooden pestle).
- Press 2 cloves of garlic and mince ½ inch ginger.
- Separate green and white parts of scallion, and then cut into thin rounds.
- Add 2 tsp sesame oil into a small saucepan. Add garlic, ginger, and white part of scallion and cook over medium-low heat until fragrant.
- Add 2 tsp Spicy Bean Paste and 2 tsp miso in the saucepan. Stir constantly so that they don’t burn.
- Add 1 Tbsp sake. This will help you release the bits of the sauce attached to the bottom of the saucepan with a wooden spatula.
- Add the ground sesame seeds and soy sauce.
- Gradually add 1 cup soymilk, stirring constantly and making sure to dissolve Spicy Bean Paste and miso. Then add ½ cup kombu & shiitake dashi.
- Add a dash of white peppers and salt to taste. Turn off the heat and set aside.
- Once the soup and all the toppings are prepared, cook the fresh or dried ramen noodles in boiling water. Cook the noodles according to the package instructions (Do not overcook the noodles; I usually cook 30-60 seconds less). Make sure to loosen the noodles before adding to the water and stir the noodles so that they don’t stick to each other. Reheat the ramen soup at the same time.
- Once the noodles are cooked, drain the noodles very well and transfer to a ramen bowl. Pour the hot ramen soup into the bowl.
- Place the toppings of your choice on ramen and enjoy!
Doubanjiang (spicy chili bean sauce/broad bean paste): You can buy non-spicy version online.
Ramen noodles: For GF ramen noodles, click here.
Serving Size: If you want to make more than one serving, simply multiply the quantities of ingredients by the number of servings you wish to make.
Recipe by Namiko Chen of Just One Cookbook. All images and content on this site are copyright protected. Please do not use my images without my permission. If you’d like to share this recipe on your site, please re-write the recipe in your own words and link to this post as the original source. Thank you.