If you’re a vegetarian or vegan, you might understand that being a vegetarian can sometimes be an inconvenience, especially when you’re craving certain foods and there aren’t any vegetarian options. A couple of weekends ago my friends and I went to a ramen restaurant for dinner. All week I’d been craving something with soup, salt, and chewy noodles. And let me tell you, I was extremely excited to chow down into a big bowl of savory, flavorful, salty noodle-y goodness after rock climbing. Imagine my disappointment when I discovered that their ‘vegetable ramen’ was cooked in broth that had a pork shoulder sitting in it. Yeah, I was quite crestfallen. That night I came to terms with the fact that I was probably never going to find a ramen restaurant that served pure vegetarian ramen, so I ate the surprisingly tasty salad and my hunt for the perfect ramen recipe began!
Mark and I tried this ramen recipe once before with the help of Minimalist Baker and enjoyed it well enough with my grandparents. We told each other that when my parents returned from their trip, we’d make it for them. Yet spring break happened and Mark and I went on a road trip where we hopped between four different national parks in 6 days. We returned on Friday and whipped up a new ramen recipe yesterday. It turned out better than we expected! It was very flavorful and hearty. If you’re searching for a healthy and tasty vegetarian/vegan ramen, stop here!
The broth is simple to make, but it does require about an hour of simmering (we simmered the broth for 3 hours to get the most flavor), so it’s best to get it started early. This recipe serves about 7-8 people.
But hey, while the broth is simmering, you can go ahead and get started on the toppings! If you’re vegan, just omit the eggs. Everything else is vegan friendly. Whoo hoo!
For the ramen broth:
- 3 oz. of dehydrated shiitake mushrooms
- 2 yellow onions (chopped in quarters)
- 3 celery stalks (chopped in quarters)
- 2 carrots (halved)
- 1 3 inch ginger
- 5 cloves of garlic (smashed)
- 1 Tbsp sesame oil
- 6 cups of vegetable stock
- 10 cups of water
- Soy sauce to taste (optional)
- Organic Whole Wheat Ramen noodles (I like this brand) or you can just get the ramen noodles from the instant packages, but throw away the seasoning (it just won’t be as healthy)
For the toppings:
- 2 cups sliced Napa cabbage
- 1 clove of minced garlic
- 2 Beets (the beets turn the broth into a pretty red color, so omit if you don’t want your broth changing color)
- 3-4 Carrots
- 3-4 soft boiled eggs (Optional)
- And any other vegetables that you’d like (I like kale!)
- Sesame oil
- Salt and pepper to taste
For the ramen broth:
- In a large pot, heat the sesame oil and sautee the garlic and ginger until fragrant.
- Add the broth, water, yellow onions, celery stalks, and carrots into the pot. Cover and bring the pot to a boil. Leave covered and lower it to a simmer for at least an hour (I’d recommend simmering for 3 hours to get the most flavor).
- After 3 hours, use a strainer to fish out all of the vegetables. You can toss everything except for the Shiitake mushrooms. Go to toppings to see what to do with the mushrooms.
For the toppings: Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit
- While the broth is simmering, slice the beets into half inch slices (if not thinner). Toss in a bowl with 2 tablespoons of sesame oil, salt, and pepper. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper, spread the beets onto the baking sheet, place on the lower rack.
- Slice the carrots into sticks, toss with a tablespoon of sesame oil, salt, and pepper. Spread the carrots out in foil (like pictured above) and place on the upper rack of the oven.
- Bake the beets and carrots for about 30 minutes. Remove the beets from the oven. Slice the beets into thin strips. Set the oven to broil and broil the carrots for another 5 minutes to get the char.
- For the napa cabbage, get a medium sized pan and heat 1 tablespoon of sesame oil. Sautee the minced garlic until a golden brown, add the cabbage and cook with salt and pepper. Sautee until the cabbage is tender and soft.
- After 3 hours, fish out the shiitake mushrooms and slice them. Heat a tablespoon of sesame oil in a pan and fry the mushrooms. Add pepper and garlic salt to taste.
Boil the ramen noodles following the package instructions. Place the noodles in a medium to large bowl, add the toppings and broth, add a soft boiled egg if you’d like to, and last but not least, EAT UP!
Seriously, I’m so happy that I’ve managed to concoct not only a vegetarian/vegan ramen, but also a healthy one! It’s probably the healthiest ramen ever made since it’s filled with so many hearty vegetables, low on sodium, and the noodles that I chose to use were whole wheat!