Easy Vegan Ramen

RAMEN

1 Tbsp (15 ml) grape seed oil
5 cloves garlic (2 1/2 Tbsp | 18 g), roughly chopped
1 3-inch piece ginger, peeled and diced
1 medium yellow onion (110 g), coarsely chopped
6 cups (1440 ml) vegetable stock
2 Tbsp (30 ml) tamari or soy sauce, plus more to taste
0.5 ounces (14 g) dehydrated shiitake mushrooms
1 Tbsp white or yellow miso paste (ensure vegan friendliness on package - I like this brand* available at Whole Foods)
1 tsp sesame oil (for flavor), plus more to taste
8 ounces (227 g) ramen noodles* (ensure vegan friendliness on package - I like this brand available at Whole Foods)

TOPPINGS optional

1/2 cup chopped green onion, for garnish
10 ounces extra firm tofu, flash “fried”*
Miso-glazed carrots*
Miso-glazed baby bok choy*

Instructions

Heat a large pot over medium-high heat.
Once hot, add oil, garlic, ginger and onion. Sauté, stirring occasionally for 5-8 minutes, or until the onion has developed a slight sear (browned edges).
Add 1 cup (240 ml) of the vegetable broth to deglaze the bottom of the pan. Use a whisk (or wooden spoon) to scrape up any bits that may have stuck to the bottom to enhance the flavor of the broth.
Add remaining 5 cups (1200 ml) vegetable broth, tamari or soy sauce, and dehydrated mushrooms - stir.
Bring to a simmer over medium heat, then reduce heat to low and cover. Simmer on low for at least 1 hour, up to 2-3, stirring occasionally. The longer it cooks, the more the flavor will deepen and develop.
Taste broth and adjust seasonings as needed, adding more soy sauce or sesame oil if desired. Add the 1 Tbsp miso paste at this time.
When you’re 30 minutes from serving, prepare any desired toppings (see notes for miso-glazed carrots, baby bok choy, and quick-seared tofu).
NOODLES: Fill a large saucepan or pot with water and bring to a boil. Once boiling, add ramen noodles (depending on size of pan you may need to do this in two batches) and cook according to package instructions - about 4-5 minutes. Drain and set aside.
Strain broth and reserve mushrooms for serving. (Save onions and ginger for serving as well, if desired, though I discarded them).
To serve, divide ramen noodles between four serving bowls. Top with strained broth and desired toppings, such as carrots, bok choy, green onion, or seared tofu. Serve with chili garlic sauce (found here) for added heat.
Best when fresh, though the broth can be stored (separately) in the refrigerator for up to 5 days, and in the freezer for up to 1 month.

Notes
*If you can’t locate ramen noodles, you can also sub a similar-shaped noodle, such as angel hair pasta.
*For the miso-glazed carrots, preheat oven to 400 degrees F and line a baking sheet with foil. Chop 1 cup carrots into 1/4-inch thick pieces on an angle (see photo). To a small mixing bowl add 1 Tbsp yellow miso paste, 1 Tbsp maple syrup, 1 Tbsp tamari, 1 tsp rice vinegar (or sub lime juice), and 1 tsp sesame oil. Whisk to combine, then add carrots and toss. Arrange on a foil-lined baking sheet in an even layer and roast for 20-25 minutes, stirring once at the halfway point, or until tender when pierced and deep golden brown.
* For the miso-glazed baby bok choy, slice bok choy in half lengthwise and heat a metal or cast iron skillet over medium heat. Prepare the same miso mixture as above (for carrots). Brush mixture over bok choy. Once pan is hot, lay down bok choy cut-side down and sear for 1-2 minutes. Flip and sear on other side.
*To flash "fry" tofu, press extra firm tofu until most moisture is removed, then cut into rectangles (see photo) and add to a plastic bag. Add 1 heaping Tbsp cornstarch and a pinch each salt and pepper. Toss to coat. Heat a metal or cast iron skillet over medium heat. Once hot, add 1 Tbsp grape seed or sesame oil and tofu. Brown on one side for 4-5 minutes, then flip and brown on other side until light golden brown and crispy.