I still eat meat. I don’t eat it as often, but I enjoy the texture, flavour and taste, but am trying to limit it to only a few meals a week, at best.
I feel better not eating meat, I cannot deny that I don’t feel fatigued, tired, dizzy after a meal, and I know it is better for my health, not to mention the environment (a lot of deforestation comes from cattle ranching and our lust for more meat).
Anyway, I am always on the hunt for meat-lover friendly vegan meals, and this one is my ultimate go-to comfort dish when I am craving noodles. You know what I am talking about, that braised pork shoyu deliciousness with a milky creamy base, that is so satisfying and filled with flavour.
This doesn’t have meat, and you won’t get EXACTLY that porky flavour I love, but it is 90% there. It is so good, people have emailed me (I have posted it randomly in my Week of Money Posts), and have told me how it is their go-to, comforting meal. This makes me SO HAPPY!
So, here’s the recipe. It’s super simple, I don’t measure anything because… I cook with instinct not with recipes unless I am forced to, like with baking.
MEAT-LOVERS VEGAN RAMEN NOODLE SOUP RECIPE
1/3 cup of Nutritional yeast – You need lots of this, it is that umami, meat-like savoury flavour. Some brands have a very odd, sour taste especially the kind from Romania, and I have found Bob’s Red Mill Nutritional Yeast and Bragg’s Nutritional Yeast as the two best flavours…
1 tablespoon or so of Soy sauce to taste – I use shoyu, the fancy soy sauce that is less salty and with more flavour. I grew up with Kikkoman Soy sauce, but have switched over to Clearspring Organic Tamari… I try different flavours until I find one I like, this one is on trial.
Noodles – Soba, ramen, glass noodles, even spaghettini works in a pinch. I don’t want to tell you how much, you can figure this out on your own with trial and error, cooking as much as you need/want. I use Clearspring Buckwheat Organic Soba.
[Optional] Seaweed – You can try dried whole leaf seaweed, or seaweed flakes, and what you choose will determine when you add it to the meal. The best dried whole leaf seaweed. I like Wakame seaweed, or Eden’s Kombu seaweed. I do cut it up after it cooks.
[Optional] 2 pinches of Cayenne pepper – I like it spicy
[Optional] Spinach, Green onions, Mushrooms, Bamboo shoots, Julienned Zucchini or Carrots – If you want to add vegetables to make it healthier
- Bring a pot of water to a boil
- If you are using whole leaf dried seaweed, you need to throw it in now, in the cold pot of water until it comes to a boil
- Once the water comes to a boil, turn it down to medium to keep it boiling, and dump the noodles in there
- Set the timer for 2 minutes, and when it beeps, remove the seaweed to set into the bowl to cut it up into smaller pieces. You don’t want the seaweed to go for too long, it’ll turn into mush, but you don’t want to undercook it, it’ll stay chewy and tough to eat.
- Set the timer for the noodles and drain them in a colander
- While you’re waiting for all of this stuff to boil, get the nutritional yeast mixed in with the soy sauce, sesame oil and cayenne pepper. Toss the cooked, chopped seaweed in the mixture. If it feels pasty, sticky and kind of dry, take a few tablespoons of the noodle water and make it until it is a thicker sauce. I like my noodles thickly sauced, not like in a soup, so add / experiment with noodle water as you see fit.
- You can choose to cook the vegetables as well – spinach, mushrooms, zucchini and carrots, or just add them raw for the crunch in the noodles. As you wish. If you are using bamboo shoots (usually from a can), you don’t need to cook them, you can throw them on top.
- When the noodles are done, drain them well, and then put them in the bowl and IMMEDIATELY toss it in the mixture to coat the noodles.
- Add in the cooked or raw vegetables.
- Garnish with cayenne pepper pinches, green onions, basil (yes, basil.. I strangely like the fresh taste of basil on top of this)
- If you are using nori seaweed flakes, you can also toss them on top. You don’t want to be cooking nori flakes or strips because they’ll disintegrate in the water. You can just add them as-is. You can also take regular sushi nori seaweed sheets and rip them up with your hands on top of the noodles.
If you want to make it vegetarian, you can also add soft-boiled egg on top
I make my soft-boiled eggs by bringing a pot of water to a boil, putting the eggs gently in there, turn it down from super boil to just a boil, and then leaving it for 5 minutes boiling, and turning off the stove to let it sit for another minute.
Then run it under cold water, peel it and put it on top of the ramen.
I like a very very dry noodle, not soupy. So I don’t really make it saucy or soupy… but you can if you like it like that.