This vegan kimchi ramen recipe is such an easy recipe for a busy weeknight. It’s loaded with cubed tofu, edamame, and lots of heat, thanks to Mama O’s super spicy kimchi paste.
I could eat this kimchi ramen at least once a week. It’s so easy to make, and you can modify it endlessly depending on what you have in your refrigerator or pantry.
What is kimchi paste?
The base of the broth is kimchi paste–made by Mama O’s–and gochujang. While these are both pastes that use Korean peppers as a base, they have different uses. Mama O’s kimchi paste can be a starter for making your own kimchi at home, while gochujang is a popular condiment used for flavoring dishes and marinating meat.
While you may use Mama O’s kimchi paste and gochujang interchangeably as flavoring ingredients, only kimchi paste can be used as a starter for homemade kimchi.
I double up on both kimchi paste and gochujang in this broth. I use gochujang as the primary soup base and Mama O’s for extra heat.
Dehydrated vs fresh kimchi
In this vegan kimchi ramen recipe, I use dehydrated kimchi. The dehydrated kimchi rehydrates in the broth and still brings a punchy kimchi flavor. Feel free to use fresh kimchi and simply chop it before adding it to the broth.
Whether you use fresh or dehydrated kimchi, be sure to check the ingredients. A staple ingredient in many kimchi recipes is fish sauce and shrimp paste, but there are many vegan alternatives like the dehydrated kimchi I linked above.
How to make this vegan kimchi ramen recipe:
To start, you need just a few ingredients, including:
- Mushrooms: I use cremini, but your favorite variety will work here. Try it with shiitake, maitake, beech, or oyster mushrooms.
- Shallot and scallions: I use shallot and scallion whites to flavor the broth, and the scallion greens are used for garnish with sesame seeds and sesame oil.
- Gochujang and kimchi paste: I use gochujang for its subtle sweetness and salty spiciness. The kimchi paste adds a big kick of heat, but you can omit it if you prefer.
- Kimchi: Use dehydrated or fresh kimchi; just be sure to check the ingredients.
- Soy sauce and sesame oil: I use these to punch up the flavor of the broth.
- Tofu and edamame: Both tofu and edamame load this ramen up with plenty of protein.
- Coconut milk: Because I use a super spicy paste, I cool it down with coconut milk. This is optional and really depends on your heat tolerance.
- Ramen noodles: I use Ocean’s Halo ramen noodles, but use a few instant ramen blocks or try it with udon or even soba.
Ready to cook? Here’s how you make it:
- Step 1: Start by frying the mushrooms and shallot. Once the mushrooms are golden brown, add the gochujang and kimchi paste. I cook it for 1–2 minutes to let it sizzle and deepen in color, similar to cooking with tomato paste.
- Step 2: Once browned, add water and bring it to a boil. Stir in the kimchi, soy sauce, and a touch of sesame oil. Simmer for 20 minutes.
- Step 3: Add the cubed tofu to the broth and cook up the noodles in a separate pot.
- Step 4: Stir in the coconut milk and scallion whites to the broth and cook for 5 minutes. Add the frozen edamame and cook for 2–3 minutes more until bright green. While the broth finishes simmering, combine the scallion greens, a little sesame oil, and sesame seeds in a bowl with a pinch of salt.
- Step 5: Serve it up! Divide the cooked noodles between bowls and ladle the broth on top. Garnish with scallions.
Vegan Kimchi Ramen Recipe
- 2 Large pots
- 1 pound firm tofu
- 1 tablespoon neutral oil
- 8 ounces cremini mushrooms, trimmed and sliced
- 1 shallot, peeled and diced
- ¼ cup gochujang
- 1 tablespoon vegan kimchi paste, optional
- 6 cups water or vegetable broth
- 1 tablespoon dehydrated kimchi or ¼ cup fresh kimchi, chopped
- 3 tablespoons low-sodium soy sauce more or less to taste
- 3 teaspoons sesame oil, divided
- 8.4 ounces ramen noodles or use 4 blocks of instant ramen noodles
- 14.5- ounce can full-fat coconut milk
- 5 scallions, thinly sliced; white and green parts kept separate
- 1 cup frozen edamame
- 1 teaspoon sesame seeds
- Salt to taste
Press the tofu:
- Drain the tofu and wrap it with paper towels. Place on a plate with a heavy-bottomed pan on top. Set aside for 15–20 minutes. Cut into bite-sized cubes.
Cook the mushrooms and shallot:
- Heat 1 tablespoon neutral oil in a large pot. Add the mushrooms and cook, turning occasionally, for 8–10 minutes. Add the shallot and cook for 2–3 minutes until soft. Add a pinch of salt.
Fry the gochujang and kimchi paste:
- Add the gochujang and kimchi paste to the pot. Cook for 1–2 minutes until it begins to deepen in color.
Simmer the broth:
- Pour in the water or broth and bring to a boil. Add the kimchi, 1 tablespoon soy sauce and 1 teaspoon sesame oil. Add the remaining 2 tablespoons soy sauce if needed. Reduce heat and simmer for 20 minutes. Taste and adjust the seasonings.
Cook the noodles and tofu:
- Bring a large pot of water to a boil and cook the ramen noodles according to package instructions. Drain into a colander and rinse. Divide the cooked noodles between four bowls.
- Add the cubed tofu to the ramen broth and continue simmering as the noodles finish cooking.
Finish the broth:
- Add the coconut milk and scallion whites to the broth and simmer for 5 minutes. Taste and adjust seasonings.
- Add the frozen edamame to the pot and simmer for 3–4 minutes more until bright green and warmed through. Taste and season. Turn off the heat.
Prepare the garnish:
- In a small bowl, combine the scallion greens, remaining 2 teaspoons of sesame oil, sesame seeds, and a pinch of salt. Toss to coat.
- Ladle the broth over the noodles. Serve with the scallion garnish on top. Enjoy!