How to Make Meat-Free Ramen the Best You’ve Ever Had (and Vegan!)

vegan ramen

My name is Gustav Johansson, and I run Sweden’s largest vegan food blog Jävligt Gott! I’ve teamed up with LIVEKINDLY to take some of the things that I do in Sweden and bring it out to LIVEKINDLY’s hungry readers all over the world. I’m mega stoked about this! As progressive and innovative as Sweden might be on the vegan scene the Swedish language is small (There are about as many Swedes as there are New Yorkers) and it’s hard for a Swedish blogger to hit big while blogging in Swedish. The food scene in each country is also pretty regional, both in regards to culture, but also in regards to which products are available to cook with. This might not be as large a problem for meat eaters that are used to Parma ham and mozzarella being widely available all over the world. But for us vegans, the number of regional vegan brands make this quite a challenge.

Beyond Meat just announced that they would come to Sweden this summer, and Field Roast and Follow Your Heart are nowhere to be seen other than in very specialized stores that very few have access to. But, on the other hand, we Swedes have our own brands that we are very proud of and that slowly now are starting to reach out into the world. Oatly for example, the Swedish vegan oat-based brand that is taking the cow out of the equation of the dairy industry and bringing creamy oats to all the happy baristas and breakfast tables out there. Or Food For Progress and their brand Oumph that right now is hitting it big in Tesco in the UK. The list goes on, and you’ve hardly seen anything yet of what Sweden is going bring to the international vegan table.

My ambition with this collaboration with LIVEKINDLY is to bring you my absolute best vegan recipes (my specialty is to make the food people love better, to take your favorite meat dishes that you never thought you’d be able to eat again and make them blissfully vegan) and to help bring forth the newest and best vegan trends from my small little part of the world and help the rest of the world discover how great we are!

Here is a guide for an easy vegan bowl of ramen, which doubles as awesome leftover food. Take some noodles, whatever you have in your cupboard or refrigerator, mix something crunchy, something sour, something umami-rich and something chewy and pour delicious broth over it and you are all set!

How to Make Meat-Free Ramen the Best You’ve Ever Had (and Vegan!)

The Ramen

Ramen is a Japanese noodle soup that has taken the world by storm in recent years. And it’s truly amazing! The best part of the ramen, however, is the extent to which it can be varied. The only thing you need is a good broth, alkaline noodles and then whatever vegetables and protein you want in the soup. Here is a small guide for what you need to make your own:

The Broth

The goal here is to get as much umami as possible. You can use a variety of different ingredients to get a deep and rich taste:

Dried shiitake mushrooms
Miso paste
Kombu algae
Ready-made broth
Japanese soy sauce (Kikkoman works well)
Roasted onions

All of these ingredients give you a deep and powerful broth. All you have to do is basically pour them into a large pot of water and boil for as long as you can wait. You can also season the broth with different spices, both fresh and dried to taste:

Star Anise
Sichuan pepper
Thai Basil

All works great, but it’s just your imagination that sets the limits!

The Condiments

The important thing to consider when planning the condiments/ingredients in your ramen soup is that they will balance each other in both taste and texture. Do not only have salty or sour stuff and not just soft or crispy. Mix! The best thing is if you can get some salt, some sour, some umami-heavy and some sweet ingredients. Similarly, see if you can get some crispy, some soft and some chewy ingredients.

Some good vegetables:

Cabbage, carrots and roots vegetables of any kind that gives good chewing resistance and crispiness. Preferably cut them into thin slices so they go well with the noodles.

Sautéed cabbage or salads of different kinds that gets a richer and deeper taste and becomes a bit softer (like kale, bok choi or white cabbage)

Pickled vegetables of various kinds, onions, cucumbers, capers, beetroot – you name it!

Umami-rich stuff: fried mushrooms, baked tomatoes, seaweed salad, or baked cauliflower. Even roasted onion gives a really good umami-rich taste – try it!

The Protein

You can have basically any kind of protein, but I prefer firm tofu! It feels genuine and works well against the strong taste of the broth with its mildness. It is good to marinate the tofu first, for example with soy, rice wine vinegar and sesame oil, and then pan fry it before it goes into the soup.

The Noodles

To make ramen the proper way, you need alkaline noodles, ie high pH. Alkaline noodles get firmer when placed in water, rather than western pasta that softens in water. You can use regular cheap 50 cent noodles if you want, otherwise, there are often noodles labeled with ramen at Asian food stores or in well-stocked stores. If you can’t find them, you can cook plain thin spaghetti with a little baking soda in the water to make them more basic. It may sound a little strange, but it works!


Makes two portions

The Broth

1-liter water
3 cm ginger
1 large clove garlic
2 pieces kombu algae
2-3 dried or fresh shiitake mushrooms
1 tablespoon vegetable stock
1 tablespoon Japanese soy sauce
1 teaspoon sesame oil
Chili powder after tasting
Spices, e.g. star anise or cloves

The Tofu

250 g tofu
2 tablespoons Japanese soy sauce
1 tablespoon sesame oil
1 tablespoon rice vinegar
1 pinch of chili powder
1 tablespoon canola oil


6 leafs dinosaur kale (or ordinary kale)
Juice from 1/2 lime
4 spring onions
1 pot Thai basil
10 cherry tomatoes
A little olive oil
Salt and pepper


The Broth

1. Slice garlic and ginger finely.
2. Add all ingredients into a large pot along with the water and let boil for an hour.
3. Add salt and pepper to taste.
4. Rince the stock and make sure to get all the liquid out of the vegetables to preserve the most flavor possible in the broth.

The Tofu

1. Put the tofu in a tofu press for 15-30 min so that any surplus fluid is expelled.
2. Slice or dice the tofu into the desired shape and put into a plastic bag along with the other ingredients. Let marinate for 30-60 min.
3. Pour out the tofu and the marinade into a hot frying pan and fry until brown on all sides.
4. Put aside until the broth and the noodles are done.


1. Slice the tomatoes in half, sprinkle over some salt, pepper and olive oil and bake in the oven for 30 min at 180 degrees Celsius (350 degrees Fahrenheit). Let them cool somewhat and put aside.
2. Chop half of the kale and sauté quickly in a hot frying pan until it starts to soften up. Add salt, pepper, and a lot of lime juice. Put aside.
3. Pull off the rest of the kale from the stem and boil with the noodles in the broth.
4. Chop the spring onions and pick the Thai basil.


1. When all the condiments are done, boil the noodles in your broth. They will be done in just a minute!
2. Split the broth and the noodles into two large bowls.
3. Place the condiments and tofu in small piles along the edge of the bowls so that you get a nice look.
4. Serve immediately.
5. When you eat the soup you should mix it all up so that you get the full taste of everything. Eat with chopsticks and a spoon!

This recipe was republished with permission from Jävligt Gott.