Vegan Ramen at Home

#vegan ramen for dinner. Homemade bc it's so hard to get vegan ramen anywhere.

It’s difficult to find good vegan ramen in LA.  It’s easy to find vegetarian ramen, but usually since the noodles have egg in them, it’s hard to find vegan one. There’s Shojin, which has vegan ramen, but it’s expensive for what it is and not that delicious given the price.

Because of this, I made vegan ramen the other night. I received a lot of requests for a recipe after posting a picture of it.  As you know, I’m not so good about measuring things or writing down recipes, but here’s some hand-wavey instructions.  The tofu-like thing was store-bought. I’m not sure if there’s an equivalent in American super markets, but it’s called tofu bao in Chinese super markets and it’s basically tofu skin folded into layers and then deep fried so that the outer layer is nice and crispy.  You can sub in fried tofu, baked tofu, or inari.


  1. Cut the whites of 3-4 scallions into 2 inch pieces.
  2. Cut the stems off 6-7 fresh shiitake mushrooms. (save caps for later)
  3. Cut up a daikon radish into 1 inch rounds.
  4. Heat up a soup pot with a few glugs of neutral oil. I used canola. When the oil is hot, throw in the scallion whites and shiitake mushrooms and sautee until both are browned.
  5. Add in the daikon radish, 5 cups of water, a pieces of kombu, and bring to a boil.
  6. As soon as the water is boiled, take out the kombu (save for later), cover, lower to a simmer, and boil for 30 minutes or however long it takes you to get the other ingredients ready.
  7. When the broth is ready to be ladled over the noodle, it’s time to season. Turn off the heat.
  8. Add in 1 tablespoon white miso paste (dilute this in a few tablespoons of hot water to make it easy to stir)
  9. A few glugs of high quality soy sauce
  10. A glug of mirin
  11. Salt to taste

Soy glazed shiitake mushrooms:

  1. Slice the saved caps of the mushrooms into thin, quarter-inch slices.
  2. Heat a glug of oil in a pan and when the oil is hot, throw in the mushrooms.
  3. Leave the mushrooms on the pan until browned on one side, and then toss to the other side. You want to get these mushrooms pretty dry and brown. It takes about 10 minutes.
  4. While the mushrooms are cooking, mix 1 teaspoons soy sauce and 1/2 teaspoon mirin.
  5. When the mushrooms are done, turn off the heat but leave the mushrooms in the hot pan. Push them together into a heap and slowly drizzle the soy sauce mirin mixture on, stirring slightly to evenly distribute.
  6. Set aside for noodle topping

Kombu strip topping:

  1. Take the saved kombu and slice it into thin strips.
  2. Toss with a dash of soy sauce, a glug of toasted sesame oil, and a dash of rice vinegar.
  3. Set aside for noodle topping

To assemble:

  1. Cook the noodle in boiling water according to package instructions.
  2. Drain the noodles and put in a large noodle bowl.
  3. Add in the fried tofu skin
  4. Ladle the broth over the fried tofu skin to warm it
  5. Top with the shiitake mushrooms, kombu strips, and sliced scallion greens


Vegetarian Caldo Verde

Disclaimer: I have never had the traditional version of this soup, so I don’t know if this tastes legit or not. What I do know is that it tastes good and is a welcome spin on the usual kale and potato stew that I’m a little sick of having.

Vegan caldo verde and broccoli romanesco from my garden.

With a few hours gained back while we sleep train Robin, Will and I started watching the latest season of Top Chef again.  In one episode, Emeril Lagasse surprises the contestants, who are returning from a hard day in the kitchen, by making them caldo verde for dinner.  It’s a Portuguese kale stew that usually has chorizo in it.  Since I love kale and I love chorizo, I thought I would veganize it for dinner one night.

The hardest part about making this vegan is the chorizo part. Since it’s Portuguese, I’m assuming the proper thing to use is Spanish chorizo, not the Mexican kind, but good luck finding a vegan version of Spanish chorizo in stores.  I approximated by buying seitan shaped like crumbled or ground meat and that was already seasoned with garlic and onion powder.  I wanted it to have more of a Spanish chorizo flavor, so I sauteed it with half a chopped onion, lots and lots of Spanish paprika, a healthy dash of cayenne pepper, ground aleppo pepper, ground sumac, more salt, and a glug of sherry vinegar.  When I tasted it, it still didn’t taste like Spanish chorizo, but hey, one can only go so far, right?

The soup also contained sliced onions, 2 cloves garlic, 3 chopped yukon gold potatoes, and kale. Lots and lots of kale. I may have gone overboard with the kale, but hey, it’s winter and kale is in season! I used a mixture of laccianato kale from my garden and redbor (aka purple) kale.  The redbor kale had such a fantastic texture in the stew.  Both crunchy and tender at the same time.  I bought it from “The Beards” at the Sunday Hollywood Farmer’s market — that’s not really their farm’s name but I can never remember. They always have fantastic produce: sweet, ripe cantalope in summer, and tender, fresh kale in winter.

The soup only took about 45 mins to make and most of the work was me tweaking the taste of the vegetarian chorizo.  After the soup was done, I tasted it and thought, “Well, it’s good, but it’s not as good as I wanted it to be and certainly not as good as if there were real chorizo in it.” But when I got to the bottom of my bowl, maybe because the broth had a chance to cool off and the flavors melded more, but I liked it better.  It’s rich, spicy, smokey, and hearty — just what I wanted in a kale stew.

And if that wasn’t enough brassica for the meal, I served the stew with a side of broccoli romanesco mainly because I needed to harvest them from my garden before the heads started to bolt. I served them plainly steamed and tossed with a quick dressing I pounded in the mortar and pestle. The dressing was: preserved lemon, garlic, cilantro, salt, paprika, olive oil.

Vegan/Vegetarian Version of Lemonade’s Chicken Basque

I had Lemonade’s chicken basque for the first time a few weeks ago and thought it was tasty.  My fears of dry chunks of chicken were blown away by how tender and flavorful the stew was.  Putting olives in a stew? Brilliant!  Of course, as soon as I downed the bowl, I thought, “Hey, I bet I can make a pretty decent vegan rendition of this.”

I went online and looked up the recipe for the original dish and knocked out all of the non-vegetarian ingredients. I wanted something to take the place of the chunks of chicken. Cauliflower was out because while I love the brassica, I was afraid the stew would taste like sulfur. Faux meat was out because I don’t really like using it if I can avoid it. Tofu was out because I couldn’t picture it in the stew. Jackfruit? Maybe.

My ingredient list ended up being (in case you can’t read my handwriting):

  • green olives
  • purple olives
  • chickpeas (for protein)
  • fresh thyme
  • 4 roma tomatoes
  • flat leaf parsley
  • artichoke hearts (I used canned)
  • green jackfruit (Optional! comes in cans from the Asian market)
  • onion
  • smoked paprika
  • red bell pepper
  • a quarter of a preserved lemon
  • a dab of tomato paste
  • fancy olive oil to finish
  • vegetable stock
  • 2 cloves garlic

Dice the onion and bell pepper and sautee it in the pan for a few minutes. When they’re soft, add in a dab of tomato paste, a healthy sprinkle of smoked paprika and stir. You want the paste to take on some color.  Add in a large sprig of thyme. I leave the leaves on the sprig so it’s easy to fish out whole later.  Seed and chop the tomatoes and put them in the pot. Generously salt and give it a stir. While all that is cooking, pit and roughly chop the olives. You don’t want to chop the olives up too much. I’d leave it so that the olives are only quartered.  Add those and them pour in 1 part stock and 1 part water.

While the stock is coming to a boil, rinse the artichoke and jackfruit pieces. Halve the hearts and hand shred the jackfruit pieces. Add them to the pot.  Rinse the canned chickpeas and add that into the stock too.  At this point, cover the pot and let it simmer on low for an hour. Conversely, you can do I what I did and cook it all in the pressure cooker under low pressure for 10 minutes.

In the meantime, chop up a bunch of parsley and the quarter of the preserved lemon.  I didn’t add the lemon into the stock because I wanted it to still taste fresh and I find that cooking preserved lemon makes it a little bitter.  When the soup is done, turn off the heat. Stir in the in the parsley and lemon and a good glug of the olive oil. Salt and pepper to taste.

I served this over plain cooked bulgur wheat, but I imagine it’d be good over any type of nutty starch — farro, brown rice, quinoa even.

In hindsight, I could have left the jackfruit out. I wanted something that had the texture of shredded chicken, but the jackfruit ended up having the same texture as the artichoke hearts.  I could have just left it out and used chickpeas for protein, but I didn’t want the soup to be too ‘beany’ in texture.