Is there anything better than a steaming bowl of ramen on a cold night? Definitely not. My family is ramen-obsessed, including Amalia who calls it “soup candy” to this day because that is how I got her to try it the first time I brought her to Mecha Noodle Bar, our favorite local ramen place. She loves the broth and even eats the jammy eggs (aka the candy) so I’ve been trying to make ramen at home since it’s one of the few things she actually eats these days.
She doesn’t eat much meat so I love the idea of making it with bone broth, but Anel and I have also committed to eating less meat so I wanted to find the best vegetarian ramen recipe that I possibly could. I tried out a few and nothing quite packed the punch I wanted. Turns out Amalia and I have the same ramen taste: We want it full of umami flavor!
In stepped this recipe and let me tell you it’s everything we wanted and more. Perfectly cooked jammy eggs, flavorful crispy garlic, and lots of umami from the mushrooms and kombu.
Amalia doesn’t like anything green in hers (#toddlers) so I don’t add bok choi or scallions to her bowl. If you’re gluten-free you can sub in rice noodles which Anel and I do in ours sometimes.
My mouth is watering just looking at this picture which means I’ll need to make it again tonight!
The Best Vegetarian Ramen Recipe via Bon Appetit
– 4 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
– ¼ cup plus 2 Tbsp. vegetable oil
– 1 Tbsp. black or white sesame seeds
– 1 Tbsp. gochugaru or 1½ tsp. crushed red pepper flakes (I use crushed red pepper)
– 4 scallions
– 1 2″ piece ginger, peeled, thinly sliced
– 2 tbsp tomato paste
– 8 dried shiitake mushrooms
– 1 4×3″ piece dried kombu- this is key, I buy it at Whole Foods.
– 3 Ttbsp unsalted butter, cut into pieces
– 1 tbsp soy sauce
– 4 baby bok choy, quartered lengthwise
– 4 5-oz. packages fresh ramen noodles- I use dry noodles bc I can never find fresh
– Jammy eggs and cilantro for serving
1. Cook garlic and ¼ cup oil in a medium pot over medium heat, stirring often until garlic is beginning to turn golden, about 3 minutes. Stir in sesame seeds and cook, stirring occasionally, until garlic is golden brown and crisp, about 1 minute.
2. Transfer mixture to a small bowl and stir in red pepper flakes; season with salt. Set garlic oil aside. Wipe out pot and set aside.
3. Trim dark green parts from scallions and thinly slice; set aside for serving. Coarsely chop white and pale green parts. Heat remaining 2 Tbsp oil in reserved pot over medium-high. Cook chopped scallions and ginger, stirring often until scallions are charred in spots, about 4 minutes. This part smells so good!
4. Add tomato paste and cook, stirring occasionally, until it begins to stick to the bottom of the pot and darkens slightly, about 2 minutes.
5. Add mushrooms and kombu, then stir in 5 cups cold water. Bring to a boil, then remove from heat and let sit until mushrooms soften, about 10 minutes. Remove and discard kombu.
6. Using a slotted spoon, transfer solids to a blender. Add a ladleful or 2 of broth to blender and purée until smooth. Stir purée back into the broth in pot and bring to a simmer over medium heat.
7. Add butter a piece at a time, whisking to combine after each addition before adding more. Stir in soy sauce; season with salt. Reduce heat to low and keep warm until ready to serve.
8. Meanwhile, bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add bok choy and cook until bright green and tender, about 2 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer bok choy to a plate. Return water to a boil and cook noodles according to package directions. Drain and divide among bowls.
9. To serve, ladle broth over noodles, then top with bok choy and reserved garlic oil. Top with eggs, nori, and cilantro if desired.
10. Slurp and enjoy!
Photo by Julia Dags.