The Quest for Vegan Ramen

Itís popular with many for its flexibility and affordability. But is it possible to enjoy vegan Ramen?

Generally speaking, most types of ramen are vegan as long as you donít use the flavoring packets. Many of those contain animal byproducts, making them unsuitable for strict vegans. However, according to the Nissin companyís website, both the Oriental and chili flavors of Top Ramen contain no animal products in their seasoning pouches.

This is good news for those on a plant-based diet looking to stock up on. Ramen makes for great road trip, hotel, hiking and emergency storm food. Itís also great for a quick, no fuss snack. Many people even use ramen as a cheap food resource for impromptu meals that prepare in less time than traditional pasta. And many of those meals are restaurant worthy.

The only challenge is finding a grocery store that carries vegan ramen in one of the two flavors mentioned above. Some grocery stores only carry Maruchen, or if they do carry Top Ramen, itís only available in non-vegan flavors. (Most reading Iíve done on the Maruchen brand indicates that their Oriental flavor now contains beef byproducts. However, that may have changed and I welcome any additional information to the contrary.)

If you donít mind paying a bit more, both of these flavors are available on Amazon by the case, and can be stored for storm preparation or road trips. The other solution is speak with the manager at your favorite grocery store and see if they will be willing to order one or both of these flavors for you by the case. Of course, you could always season it yourself and buy whatever brand is on sale, but for most people the point is convenience.

LOOKING FOR APPEALING RECIPES FOR VEGAN RAMEN?

Believe it or not, there are a few ramen recipes online that take both veganism and flavor into account. This fast and easy ramen and tofu lo mein recipe is made with frozen stir fry vegetables, making it a breeze to whip up after a long day at work. Iím also a fan of cabbage ramen noodle salad, which is easily made vegan depending on your choice of ramen flavor.

Matt Fischer, an aficionado of ramen, features a recipe for ramen stir fried with spinach, garlic and sesame seeds on his website. As long as you choose one of the vegan ramen flavors, this dish will be completely free of animal products. I love the fact that this recipe uses garlic and one of my all-time favorite frugal health foods, spinach.

As someone who enjoys the traditional bowl of Japanese ramen with bits of seaweed, mushrooms, greens and other fun soup garnishes, I found this budget veggie recipe for vegan ramen appealing. While it uses the frugal food strategy of incorporating whateverís on hand, it keeps a firm eye on nutrition.

For just plain tasty fun, peanut butter lovers will want to use this college resource for ramen ideas and scroll down to the unusual-sounding recipe entitled Divorced and Hopeless ramen. Donít let the name fool you. If you love noodles with Asian peanut sauce, youíll love this recipe for vegan ramen. Basically, you take a package of the chili-flavored Top Ramen and cook as normal.

Afterward, drain off enough water so that the liquid level in your bowl of noodles is a little less than half as high as your stack of ramen. Then, add in a wad or two of creamy peanut butter and mix until you have the consistency of peanut sauce you desire. If it isnít spicy enough, give it a squirt or two of Sriracha sauce and mix the whole thing up again with your fork. I like to also add some chopped, frozen broccoli into the mix while I’m microwaving the noodles. It adds a bit of green which keeps the nutrition factor high.

Clearly, making a meal of vegan ramen doesnít have to result in plain noodles with no flavor or visual appeal. There are number of ways you can affordably prepare vegan ramen at home, and several of these ramen recipes are even suitable for dinner.

Photo Credits: I Love Egg, Amazon,and Arndog

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