Zucchini Noodle Ramen
Published Jan 05, 2017, Updated Jul 24, 2023
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Vegan zucchini noodle ramen bowls with marinated tempeh in a quick-cooking miso mushroom broth. This ramen is savory, healthy and absolutely delicious. 17 grams of protein per bowl! Vegan and gluten-free.
Would you believe that my first ramen experience was last year? And I’m talking real-deal ramen, because I definitely had instant ramen noodles (we called them Oodles of Noodles) growing up, but that doesn’t count. At this point, I’ve had ramen twice and both times were at authentic spots in Brooklyn, NY. Both were delicious and I immediately decided I wanted to try making a healthy and quick-cooking ramen bowl at home.
A little experimenting and I came up with a delicious creation that starts with a savory mushroom, miso broth with carrots and bok choy. Once the broth has finished simmering, each bowl is loaded with zucchini noodles, bok choy, strips of pan-seared tempeh, nori, green onion and a sprinkle of sesame seeds.
Zucchini Noodles in Soup
This was my first time using zucchini noodles in soup so I wasn’t sure how they hold up in broth, but they work perfectly. Because you add them in right before serving the ramen, they don’t have time to get mushy and they still have a little crunch, just like al dente noodles.
What really makes these ramen bowls is pan-seared tempeh! It adds a robust flavor from the tamari ginger marinade, gives the soup a meaty texture and adds a ton of protein, which makes the zucchini noodle ramen meal-worthy. Without the tempeh, the bowl wouldn’t be very filling!
Why I love Tempeh
I know I’ve mentioned it before, but tempeh is one of my fave plant-based protein sources.
Yes, it’s loaded with muscle-building protein, but tempeh has a host of other nutritional benefits as well. It’s a fermented food like kombucha, kimchi and sauerkraut so it has heaps of good bacteria that is super important for gut health. It’s also high in the mineral manganese which is involved in the production of bone mass and digestive enzymes. Lastly, tempeh has been shown to help lower cholesterol and increase bone density. (source)
If you’re new to tempeh and not quite sure where to find it in the grocery store, there are two main spots to look. The first is in the produce section and the second is in the section right near the yogurt. Some large grocery stores will keep it in the refrigerated area of the natural food section with other meat substitutes so be sure to check there as well. The most readily available brand (and the brand I use regularly) is Lightlife. They offer several different varieties, but my favorites are the original, wild rice, garden veggie and the three-grain. They’re all organic and non-gmo! Any of the varieties will work for this zucchini noodle ramen recipe!
More Tempeh Recipes
Zucchini Noodle Ramen Bowls
- 1 teaspoon coconut oil
- 1 clove of garlic, minced
- 3-4 baby bok choy, about 1-2 cups chopped (save a few full leaves)
- 3 shiitake mushrooms, stemmed and sliced
- 1 cup grated carrots
- 1 teaspoon fresh grated ginger
- 2 Tablespoons white miso
- 1/4- 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
- 1/4 teaspoon Chinese five spice
- 32 ounces 4 cups vegetable stock or broth
- 2 cups water
- 1/2 Tablespoon tamari, if needed
- 3 zucchini, spiralized with the C blade
- 4 small nori sheets, I used seaweed snacks
- green onions, sliced
- 1 teaspoon sesame seeds
- sriracha or chili garlic sauce, to taste
- Make marinade by combining tamari, ginger, garlic, sesame oil, maple syrup, apple cider vinegar and red pepper flakes in a shallow container. Cut tempeh into thin slices and add to the container with the marinade. Toss to coat tempeh and set aside. Let the tempeh marinate anywhere from 30 minutes to overnight.
- Once tempeh has marinated, you’re ready to start the broth. Add 1 teaspoon of coconut oil to a large pot over medium heat. Add garlic and sauté until fragrant. Add shiitake mushrooms and chopped bok choy and sauté a bit longer — about 5 minutes. Add carrots, ginger, miso, Chinese five spice, vegetable stock and water into the pot and bring mixture to a boil. Once boiling, reduce heat and let simmer for 15-20 minutes.
- While broth is simmering, add 1 teaspoon coconut oil to a large skillet over medium heat. Once oil is hot, add marinated tempeh to the skillet and pour any remaining marinade into the pot with the broth for extra seasoning. Cook tempeh for 3 minutes on each side or until all the pieces are a little brown. Remove from heat and set aside.
- Divide zucchini noodles evenly among 4 bowls.
- Once broth has simmered, taste and add tamari if needed. Ladle a little over 1 cup of warm mushroom broth into each bowl. Arrange extra bok choy leaves and a nori sheet around edges of the bowls. Place a few slices of tempeh in each bowl; top evenly with green onions and sesame seeds and serve immediately. Top with Sriracha or chili garlic sauce, if using.
Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.