Vegan | Gluten-free option
by Jenna Garcia
One of my favorite comfort foods, for all occasions, is noodle soup. There is something so soothing about a pile of noodles topped with a warm, rich broth and vegetables. While I love me some udon soup, Vietnamese pho, or Thai noodle soup, nothing compares with a hearty ramen. Ramen is a Japanese soup with thin wheat noodles, typically in a spicy pork broth. A far cry from the cheap packaged ramen we lived on in college, real ramen is incredibly savory, hearty, and rich.
This vegan ramen is anything if not flavorful. Instead of pork, this broth’s flavor comes from a blend of red and white miso, fresh ginger, garlic, onion, chili paste, mirin and olive oil. The spicy miso paste is the secret to this incredible ramen. Blended with non-dairy milk and vegetable stock, the broth has a creaminess that balances out the heat and saltiness. Add some ramen noodles, vegetables and tofu, and this is a winning dish. One slurp of this unique vegan soup and you are guaranteed to be addicted, just like me!
If you aren’t accustomed to cooking Asian dishes, some of these ingredients may be new to you. Most can be purchased at an asian store, specialty market, or on Amazon. Trust me, all of these are worth having on-hand and have a long shelf life.
Read on for some tips about these ingredients:
- Miso paste, a thick paste made from fermented soy beans, can be found in the refrigerated section in most specialty markets. This recipe calls for red and white miso paste. The red miso has a richer, saltier flavor, whereas the white miso is more mellow. Blending these two together creates a wonderful flavor, but you can also economize and use all white miso.
- Mirin is a Japanese sweet rice wine that adds some acidity and sweetness to this paste. If you don’t have any on hand, you can substitute 3 tablespoons of rice vinegar and 1 tablespoon of sugar/sweetener of choice.
- Ground chili paste (I use “Sambal Oelek”) is a chunky paste of hot red peppers. In a pinch, you can use sriracha or red pepper flakes instead, but the unique flavor and texture of this chili paste really makes this broth.
- Ramen, the delicious wheat noodles and base of this soup, makes this dish absolute perfection. Rather than using the noodles from cheap ramen packets, I recommend buying good quality ramen noodles. These are my favorite ramen noodles. Not only are these noodles the closest I have found in flavor profile to fresh ramen, they are organic and don’t contain any of the preservatives or additives that others do. Since we eat lot of ramen in my house, I like to stock up on these noodles. You can also substitute for any gluten-free ramen noodle.
As you’ll notice, this recipe includes lots of vegetables. I like to use a variety of vegetables, depending on the season and what I have on hand. My favorites for ramen include onions, carrots, bok choy, cabbage, broccoli, corn kernels, and mushrooms. I also recommend using lots of healthy dark greens in ramen, it’s a great way to sneak your greens in and they taste fantastic! You can use any hearty green, such as kale or spinach. For today’s ramen, I used onions, carrots and bok choy.
Enjoy making this delicious Spicy Miso Ramen and bon appétit!
Spicy Miso Ramen
Adapated from Lady and Pup’s Spicy Miso Ramen-Espress
Spicy Miso Paste:
- 1 small onion, chopped roughly
- ½ cup red miso
- ½ cup white miso
- 3 tablespoons ground chili paste (I used Sambal Oelek)
- 6 cloves garlic, smashed
- 2 inch piece fresh ginger, peeled and chopped
- 3 tablespoons mirin
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 12-15 ounces extra firm tofu
- ¼ cup frying oil of choice (I used coconut oil)
- 2 cups mixed vegetables
- 2 cups greens of choice
- 3 cups vegetable stock
- 3 cups plain unsweetened non-dairy milk (I used almond milk)
- 6-12 ounces dried ramen noodles*
- Scallions, sesame seeds, sesame oil (optional for garnish)
* The amount of noodles you should make depends on your preference. I like to use 1 bundle from each packet (each 3 ounces each) per person. Some people will use that same amount for two people. Adjust the amount you make based on your preference.
- Combine all spicy miso paste ingredients together in a blender until smooth. You will use half of this paste for this recipe, the rest can be refrigerated for a few days or frozen.
- Preheat heavy-bottomed frying pan to medium heat. While it is heating up, prep the tofu. Squeeze all excess water out using paper towels. Cut into ¼-½ inch slices. Add 2 tablespoons frying oil to the pan and, when the oil is hot, add tofu slices. Cook until golden on each side, about 3 minutes each and remove onto a paper towel.
- While tofu is cooking, cook ramen in a medium-sized sauce pan, following the instructions on packaging. Drain well and rinse with cool water to prevent the noodles from sticking to each other. Set aside.
- Using the same sauce pan, add the remaining 2 tablespoons of oil and chopped vegetables (but not greens). Saute vegetables for a few minutes, then add ¼ cup of the spicy miso paste, stirring to coat well. Cook for another minute or so then add broth, and non-dairy milk. Bring to a simmer and add additional ½ cup of spicy miso paste and the greens. Cook until greens are wilted and then remove from heat.
- Divide the noodles between 4 large bowls and ladle the broth and vegetables on top. For each bowl, add the sliced tofu, scallions, sesame seeds and sesame oil. Enjoy!
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