Tofu Ramen

This easy tofu ramen recipe features crispy pan-fried tofu and a slurpable miso broth! It’s a delicious plant based dinner recipe.

Tofu ramen

Looking for a tasty tofu ramen with a flavorful slurpable broth? Authentic ramen from a Japanese restaurant is the absolute best. But the next best thing is trying it homemade! This tofu ramen is one of our new favorites. The best part is the tofu: it’s crispy and bursting with flavor from soy sauce and miso. Alex and I kept sneaking bites while making it! It’s served in a broth that’s filled with savory umami, and it’s 100% plant based.

Tofu in pan

What’s in this tofu ramen?

Ramen is a traditional Japanese dish of broth and wheat noodles (here’s a Ramen Guide for more). We love getting ramen at restaurants, especially when we’re traveling. But when we want it at home, we make a ramen recipe like this one! The tofu is so good, you could also make it separately and just snack on it. We couldn’t stop eating it! You’ll need a few special ingredients to make ramen at home, but it’s not hard to put together:

  • Extra firm tofu (make sure it’s not soft, silken, or firm!)
  • Miso paste of any type
  • Onion, garlic and green onion for aromatics
  • Spinach, carrots, mushrooms, and Napa cabbage for the veggies
  • Ramen noodles (more below!)
  • Vegetable broth
  • Sesame oil, soy sauce, and mirin
  • Coconut milk for creaminess

More great ways to serve tofu? Pan Fried Tofu and Grilled Tofu.

How long does it take?

This tofu ramen takes about 45 minutes to put together, but the time is well worth it! The most important thing about ramen is the nuanced, savory broth. This broth doesn’t take too long to make because it relies on miso pasta. Much of the time in this recipe you’ll be preparing the tofu and chopping the vegetables. If you do eat vegetarian and not vegan, you can top with a soft boiled egg to speed up prep time to 30 minutes! Go to Miso Ramen.

Tofu ramen

Can anything in this tofu ramen be made ahead?

Yes! You can prepare the tofu in advance, and then refrigerate until serving. It will become a little harder in the refrigerator, so you’ll want to reheat it in a skillet over medium heat before serving. You can also serve this tofu ramen with our Easy Marinated Tofu, which doesn’t require cooking. It just doesn’t have the nice crispy texture that pan-fried tofu has.

Storing leftovers: keep broth and noodles separate!

You’ll notice that this tofu ramen recipe indicates to keep the broth and noodles separate, then place them into serving bowls together. This is important because as the noodles sit in the broth, they absorb it. You’ll find that if you store leftover noodles in the broth, they’ll soak up all the “juice” and all your tasty broth will be gone! When you store leftovers, make sure to place the noodles and broth in separate containers. You’ll thank us later!

Vegan ramen

What is miso paste?

Miso is a Japanese fermented soybean paste that’s full of nutrients and savory flavor. It’s full of umami, the so-called fifth flavor that is the definition of savory. You’ll find umami in meats, mushrooms, cheese…and of course, miso!

You can find miso at most major grocery stores near the other Japanese ingredients. There are many different types of miso, all with different flavors: red, yellow, and brown. You can use any type for this tofu ramen recipe! An unexpected use for leftover miso? Our Vegan Pesto.

What type of tofu to use?

Tofu types are important, because guess what: all tofu is not created equally! Here are some pointers for this recipe:

  • Do not buy silken or soft tofu! Check your container and make sure that it is not labeled silken or soft. This type of tofu is not intended for pan-frying; it’s used for smoothies and puddings.
  • Firm can work, but extra firm is best. Some grocery stores only carry firm tofu: and that should work! But if you have the option, use extra firm: it yields the best results when you pan fry it.
Tofu ramen

Curly or straight? Finding noodles for tofu ramen

Where to find ramen noodles for this tofu ramen? Here are a few tips on types of noodles and where to find them:

  • Standard grocery vs Japanese or Asian grocery: Most grocery stores give you 1 or 2 options for ramen noodles: usually you’ll find them dried. You can also can go to your local Japanese or Asian grocery; they will have a wider variety including fresh and frozen.
  • Fresh vs dried: You can use either fresh or dried noodles in this tofu ramen! Fresh are our favorite, but dried are easier to find.
  • Curly vs straight: You’ll find noodles packaged with the word “ramen” that are curly or straight. Ramen is basically a wheat noodle served in broth, so there’s a lot of variation. You can use either! Here we’ve used a straight noodle, which works just as well as a curly like in our Mushroom Ramen.

Want to learn more about noodle types? Here’s a review of 6 different packaged ramen noodles.

This tofu ramen recipe is…

Vegetarian, vegan, plant-based, and dairy-free.

Print
Tofu ramen

Tofu Ramen (with Crispy Tofu!)


1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (23 votes, average: 4.39 out of 5)

  • Author: Sonja Overhiser
  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 30 minutes
  • Total Time: 45 minutes
  • Yield: 4 1x

Description

This easy tofu ramen recipe features crispy pan-fried tofu and a slurpable miso broth! It’s a delicious plant based dinner recipe.


Scale

Ingredients

  • 12 to 16 ounces extra-firm tofu
  • 2 tablespoons toasted sesame oil, divided
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
  • 6 tablespoons miso paste, divided
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce, divided
  • 1 cup sweet yellow onion, sliced
  • 8 ounces baby bella (cremini) mushrooms
  • 1 cup Napa cabbage, thinly sliced
  • 3 green onions
  • 4 garlic cloves
  • 2 large carrots
  • 8 ounces dry ramen noodles
  • 4 cups vegetable broth
  • 1 tablespoon mirin
  • 1/4 cup coconut milk
  • 2 cups spinach leaves
  • Sesame seeds, for garnish

Instructions

  1. Prep the tofu: Remove the tofu from the package and drain liquid. Cut tofu into half lengthwise and place it in a large bowl. Microwave on high for 2 minutes, which helps to extract liquid. Drain off excess liquid released in the microwave. Place the two pieces on a towel; place another folded towel on top and add a cutting board and a heavy object. Allow to press for 15 minutes until the water is drained.
  2. Prep the veggies: Slice the onion. Slice the mushrooms. Thinly slice the cabbage. Thinly slice the green onions. Thinly slice the garlic. Slice carrots into matchsticks.
  3. Cook the tofu: Cut the tofu into bite-sized cubes. Heat 1 tablespoon toasted sesame oil and 1 tablespoon olive oil over medium high heat. Add the tofu and cook for about 10 minutes until lightly browned and crisp on all sides, turning occasionally. Meanwhile, stir together 2 tablespoons miso, 1 tablespoon soy sauce and 1 tablespoon water. When the tofu is browned, turn off heat and carefully pour sauce over tofu (be careful, it splatters!). Stir sauce onto tofu and cook additional minute over medium heat until fragrant.
  4. Cook the noodles (while you make the broth): Heat large pot of water to a boil and cook noodles to al dente. Drain and set aside. If necessary, refresh the noodles under some hot tap water before serving.
  5. Make the broth: In a large pot or Dutch oven, heat 1 tablespoon sesame oil and 1 tablespoon olive oil over medium high heat. Add the onion and cook 4 minutes until lightly browned on the edges. Add the garlic and cook for 30 seconds until just browned, stirring constantly. Add the vegetable broth and bring to a simmer.
  6. Add the mushrooms, carrots, mirin, and 3 tablespoons miso paste and cook about 10 minutes until the mushrooms are tender. Add the remaining 1 tablespoon soy sauce and the coconut milk, green onions, cabbage, spinach and cook until the spinach is just wilted, about 1 minute. Taste and add about 1 tablespoon more miso paste to taste.
  7. Serve: To serve, place the noodles into four bowls. Top with the broth, tofu, and vegetables. Store leftovers with the broth and noodles in separate containers (to avoid the noodles soaking up all of the broth). 

  • Category: Main Dish
  • Method: Stovetop
  • Cuisine: Ramen

Keywords: Tofu Ramen

Want more ramen recipes?

We’ve got ’em! Because we love the stuff, we’ve got several more ramen recipes in addition to this tofu ramen. Here are some of our favorites:

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About the Authors

Sonja Overhiser

Cookbook Author and writer

Sonja Overhiser is author of Pretty Simple Cooking, named one of the best healthy cookbooks of 2018. She’s host of the food podcast Small Bites and founder of the food blog A Couple Cooks. Featured from the TODAY Show to Bon Appetit, Sonja seeks to inspire adventurous eating to make the world a better place one bite at a time.

Alex Overhiser

Cookbook Author and photographer

Alex Overhiser is an acclaimed food photographer and author based in Indianapolis. He’s host of the food podcast Small Bites and founder of the recipe website A Couple Cooks. Featured from the TODAY Show to Bon Appetit, Alex is author of Pretty Simple Cooking, named one of the best vegetarian cookbooks by Epicurious.

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