Can vegetarians eat ramen noodles? Plain ramen noodles do not contain any non-vegetarian ingredients so it depends on the toppings and seasonings that go into the ramen.
Can Vegetarians Eat Ramen Noodles – Quick Answer
Most ramen noodles are made from wheat flour, salt, water, and kansui (a type of alkaline mineral water), which are all vegetarian-friendly ingredients. However, some brands or varieties of ramen may include other non-vegetarian ingredients such as eggs or meat-based broth, so it is important to check the label and ingredients list carefully.
In terms of flavoring or seasoning, many traditional ramen recipes call for a broth made with pork, chicken, or fish, which would not be suitable for vegetarians.
However, there are many vegetarian and vegan ramen recipes and seasoning options available that use vegetable broth or other plant-based ingredients.
It is also possible to make your own vegetarian or vegan ramen broth using ingredients like miso, soy sauce, seaweed, and mushrooms.
In summary, vegetarians can eat ramen noodles as long as the ingredients and flavoring are free from animal products.
Can Vegetarians Eat Ramen Noodles?
Yes, vegetarians can eat ramen noodles. Most ramen noodles are made with wheat flour, water, salt, and kansui, an alkaline water that gives the noodles their springy texture. These ingredients are all vegetarian!
Check Ramen Ingredients To Confirm If It’s Vegetarian
The typical ingredients that you will find in any instant ramen noodle or traditional ramen noodles are:
- Wheat-based flour:
Plant-based dieters should have no issue consuming these vegan ramen noodles made from wheat flour.
A certain amount of water is added to ramen to hydrate the mixture and to make proper dough.
To enhance ramen’s flavor and strengthen the gluten structures in the dough, earth-based minerals are also used. It also contributes to the yellow color of instant ramen noodles.
Some companies use Kansui (alkaline mineral water) instead of salt. It improves the color, texture, and flavor, just as salt does.
- Cooking oil:
Instant ramens are often flash-fried with palm oil before dehydrating them.
- Potato starch:
Potato starch improves the instant noodles’ gelling properties to make them chewier, smoother, and shinier.
- Baking soda:
Baking soda makes a popular substitute for alkaline salt or kansui.
So, all the ingredients in the noodles are vegan and vegetarian. Then what is the problem in eating ramen noodles as a vegetarian or even as a vegan? Right?
Well, the problem lies in the seasoning packets or flavor packets of instant ramen that accompany the noodles, as I said earlier. Most popular brands do contain animal products like powdered beef, chicken, or shrimp.
You will more likely see some of the following ingredients in an instant seasoning packet, though countless flavor options make it difficult to limit the ingredient list.
- Dehydrated meat: (Non-vegetarian options)
I already mentioned powdered beef, chicken, or shrimp. These are popular options, though you may find some vegetarian flavors instead.
- Yeast extract:
Yeast extract is used to reduce added salt and MSG ( monosodium glutamate) to decrease sodium levels in the broth.
- Onion powder, herbs, and spices:
The broth’s flavor is naturally enhanced with these plant-based additions.
- Dried vegetables:
Dried veggies increase the nutritional value of instant noodles while also adding a pop of color to them.
- Dried soy sauce:
The addition of classic umami broth flavor and some extra salt are done by soy sauce.
- Salt, MSG & TBHQ:
All of these are flavor enhancers and preservatives, but TBHQ and MSG aren’t the healthiest additions to our food.
Sugar enhances the sweetness and balances the salty broth flavor.
So, we have seen that the main ingredient of seasoning packets is dried meat, which creates issues for vegetarians.
Therefore, we can conclude this part by saying that the ramen noodles themselves are vegetarian and vegan, but the little seasoning packets are usually not.
Some vegetarians still buy instant ramen noodles and eat them, throwing the flavoring packets away. They season the plain noodles themselves by adding plant-based flavor according to their taste.
However, you might not be comfortable with this idea.
But no need to be disheartened, my dear! This is not the only way for you to eat ramen.
Though most popular ramen brands are vegan, you can still find some tasty vegan ramen noodles.
Well, I am not telling you to find them yourself. Just stay with me till the end, and I am letting you know.
What Type Of Ramen is Vegetarian?
There are many types of vegetarian ramen, and the exact ingredients and flavorings can vary depending on the recipe or restaurant. Here are some common types of vegetarian ramen:
- Shoyu Ramen: This is a classic Japanese ramen made with a soy sauce-based broth, which is typically vegetarian or vegan. It is often topped with sliced bamboo shoots, mushrooms, seaweed, and green onions.
- Miso Ramen: This type of ramen is made with a miso-based broth, which is typically vegetarian or vegan. It is often topped with tofu, corn, bean sprouts, and other vegetables.
- Tonkotsu Ramen: This type of ramen traditionally uses a pork bone-based broth, but there are now vegetarian and vegan versions available that use a vegetable or mushroom broth instead. It is often topped with spinach, sliced mushrooms, and green onions.
- Tsukemen: This type of ramen features cold noodles that are dipped in a separate bowl of hot broth. The broth is often vegetarian or vegan, and the toppings can include boiled eggs, bamboo shoots, and green onions.
- Vegan Ramen: This is a type of ramen that is specifically made without any animal products. The broth is usually made with vegetable stock, miso, or soy sauce, and the toppings can include tofu, vegetables, and seaweed.
It’s important to note that not all ramen restaurants may have vegetarian options available, so it’s always a good idea to check the menu or ask the server about the ingredients.
Additionally, some types of ramen may contain hidden non-vegetarian ingredients such as fish sauce or bonito flakes, so it’s always a good idea to double-check.
Look For Vegetarian and Vegan Ramen Noodles Brands
Take a browse through our list to enjoy a warm bowl of ramen without any worries.
- Nissin’s Top Ramen (Soy Sauce Flavor and Chili Flavor)
- Annie Chun’s Spicy Miso Ramen and Shoyu Ramen
- Sahmyook Spicy Ramen
- Mike’s Mighty Good Vegetarian Coconut Lemongrass Ramen
- Nongshim Soon Veggie Noodle Soup
- Ocean’s Halo Organic and Vegan Beef Noodle Bowl
- Noma Lim Fresh Traditional Ramen Noodles and Miso Ramen Broth (sold separately)
- Thai Kitchen (Spring Onion, Garlic & Vegetable, and Thai Ginger flavors)
You May Read:
Cruelty-Free Vegan Instant Ramen Options
Check out these vegan ramen brands. You can also eat them if you are a vegetarian.
- Dr. McDougall’s Right Foods Chicken-Flavor Vegan Ramen
- Koyo Ramen (garlic pepper, tofu miso, and shiitake mushroom flavors)
- Crystal Noodle Soup
- Lotus Foods Rice Ramen and Rice Ramen Soup Cups
Homemade Vegetarian Ramen Noodles Recipe
Here’s a simple Veg ramen noodles recipe:
- 1 tablespoon of grapeseed or avocado oil
- 1 3-inch piece ginger (peeled and diced)
- 5 roughly chopped cloves garlic
- 1 medium coarsely chopped yellow onion
- 6 cups vegetable stock
- 0.5 ounces dehydrated shiitake mushrooms
- 2 tablespoons of tamari or soy sauce
- 1 tablespoon of yellow or white miso paste (make sure it is vegan friendly)
- 8 ounces ramen noodles (ensure vegan-friendliness on the package)
- 1 teaspoon of toasted sesame oil for flavor
- 1/2 cup chopped green onion
- 10 ounces extra-firm tofu (flash-fried)
- Miso-glazed carrots
- Miso-glazed baby bok choy
- Keep a large pot over medium-high heat, and add the oil, garlic, ginger, and onion when it becomes hot.
- Saute for 5 to 8 minutes by stirring it occasionally until the onion develops browned edges.
- Now, add 1 cup of the vegetable stock to deglaze the bottom of the pan. Use a whisk to scrape up any bits that may have stuck to the bottom. It will help improve the flavor of the broth.
- Add the remaining 5 cups vegetable stock, tamari or soy sauce, and mushrooms and stir it. Now bring it to boil over medium heat.
- Then lower the heat and cover the pan. Simmer for at least one hour by stirring 2 to 3 times occasionally. The longer you cook it, the more the flavor will be intense and deep.
- Taste the broth, adjust seasonings as needed, and add the miso paste at this moment.
- Now it’s time to prepare the noodles. Take water in a big saucepan and bring it to a boil. Add the noodles and cook for 4 to 5 minutes, following the package instructions. Set the noodles aside after draining the water.
- Strain the broth and reserve mushrooms for serving.
- Take the ramen noodles in a serving bowl and top with strained broth and the toppings.
- You may consider serving with chili garlic sauce for added heat.
Can vegetarians eat chicken-flavored ramen noodles?
No, vegetarians cannot eat chicken-flavored ramen noodles as they contain chicken flavoring, which is made from chicken extract or chicken fat.
Can vegetarians eat shrimp ramen noodles?
No, vegetarians cannot eat shrimp ramen noodles as they contain shrimp, which is an animal product. Shrimp is not considered vegetarian as it is a type of seafood that comes from a living creature.
Is Nissin ramen vegetarian?
Some of Nissin’s ramen products are vegetarian-friendly, while others are not.
For example, Nissin Top Ramen Soy Sauce and Chili flavors are vegetarian-friendly as they do not contain any animal products.
However, some other flavors such as Nissin Top Ramen Chicken and Beef flavors are not vegetarian as they contain chicken and beef flavors respectively.
Nissin also offers a line of Cup Noodles Very Veggie that is specifically marketed as vegetarian and contains various vegetables in the cup along with vegetarian seasoning.
Is Shin Ramyun vegan?
Shin Ramen’s Spicy Veggie Ramen is vegan and safe for vegetarians and vegans to consume.