Sure, you could make an easy vegan ramen using one of our favorite store-bought instant ramen packets—or you could make the best vegan ramen, i.e., this one, which celebrates fresh produce as much as the noodles. A true labor of love, this recipe from Sonoko Sakai, author of Japanese Home Cooking, is loaded with handmade noodles, lots of spring veg, and a flavorful broth so rich and delicious, we could drink it straight. Unlike some plant-based ramens that rely solely on miso paste for richness and depth, Sakai’s vegan ramen recipe builds a complex vegetable broth with layers of flavor from kombu, dried mushrooms, and a slew of aromatics, and gets a kick of umami from soy sauce, mirin, and sesame oil.
And since you’re putting all that effort into the ramen broth—why not really go for it with the noodles? Even if you decide against homemade ramen noodles, skip the dried bricks from the supermarket. Instead, head to your nearest East Asian grocery store to pick up a pack of chewy, fresh ramen. Want to go gluten-free? Substitute the soy sauce for tamari and the wheat noodles for rice noodles or homemade potato noodles.
This recipe calls for blanched seasonal spring vegetables like fava beans, snow peas, and asparagus, but you can also swap in crisp bean sprouts in the summer, steamed sweet potatoes in the fall, or bamboo shoots and baby bok choy in the dead of winter. Craving more protein? A soft-boiled egg pairs well and keeps this noodle soup vegetarian; to stay vegan-friendly, stick with the fried tofu (firm or extra-firm tofu work best here). If you like heat, keep the chili oil nearby; otherwise, garnish these vegan ramen noodle bowls with fresh cilantro and scallions and whatever other toppings you love.
This recipe is part of Make Your Own Noodles. Check out all of the recipes—plus expert tips, handy guides, and more.