Today we’re going to tackle veg ramen. Slurping noodles from a big bowl of feisty, aromatic broth is hard to beat, and I wanted to share how great ramen bowls can come together relatively easily, year round. Ramen is incredibly versatile, and I play fast and loose with the concept overall. You have the ability to adapt the noodles, the tare (seasoning), the broth base, and the toppings, and I’ll talk through a bunch of the ways you can play around below. The goal here is to give you a great jumping off point if you’re not already making ramen at home, and for you to feel like you can wing it on a weeknight based on what you have on hand.
If I’m eating out, and a vegetarian or vegan ramen is on the menu, I’ll order it. I’ve had some incredible versions, but broadly speaking they can be very salty, and quite oily. This version is not that. In fact, part of what I love about making ramen at home is that you can season your broth to be just how you like it. This version delivers a rich miso-scallion nut milk broth. You introduce your favorite noodles, a blitz of seasonal toppings, and spicy turmeric oil to finish.
Noodles: There are many different noodles you can use here. Seek out fresh udon or ramen noodles, or keep a variety of dried noodles on hand for last-minute ramen. Soba noodles work great. I’ve also been using some of the whole-grain noodles, and they’re pretty good. The one in the photograph is a millet & brown rice ramen.
Miso tare: Think of this as the seasoning paste for your ramen broth. I’ve included a base recipe here, but please(!) use it as a jumping off point. It’s fine to adapt with other chopped herbs and spices as well. My main advice here – make a big batch of the miso tare and keep it on hand. I keep some in the refrigerator, and the bulk portioned out in the freezer. This is the secret to quick weeknight ramen. If you’re avoiding soy, use a chickpea miso.
Broth: You want to get the broth right. My favorite broth base for this is a blend of homemade cashew milk & almond milk. It has beautiful body and flavor, and grips the noodles nicely. That said, there are plenty of nights when I’m feeling lazy, and I just grab for whatever almond milk is in the refrigerator. Still delicious.
Spicy Turmeric Oil: This is another component you can keep on hand. Both in the refrigerator and/or freezer. If you have everything else needed to make a ramen bowl, but don’t have the spice oil – cheat with a dollop of something spicy from the condiments in your refrigerator, or stir some crushed chile flakes into a bit of oil over gentle heat, and use that as a finishing drizzle, or to toss the raw veggies.
Seasonal Variations: The ramen you see pictured is a late-summer version. But part of the fun here is adapting through the year. Toss quick-cooking vegetables like broccoli, asparagus, and cauliflower into the noodle water for the last minute, and drain everything together. This way you don’t have to get an extra pot going.