Craving some cozy, vegetarian comfort food? Whip up this light, easy and delicious tofu ramen!
I had such high hopes for a headline with this one. Want to hear my first option? It’s so punny I can hardly stand it. TO-PHO.
Get it? Like tofu and pho? But then I quickly realized this recipe isn’t for pho, it’s for ramen, and my heart crushed. Since I’ve been up for hours writing, I gave up quickly and stuck with easy tofu ramen.
I promise people pay me to write sometimes. I know it’s summer and you’re googling cherry recipes, zucchini noodles and all of the tomato-based dishes you can muster, but I’ve always danced to the beat of my own drum and think people – probably crazy ones – are craving a recipe for ramen when it’s 560 degrees outside.
See, for me, ramen (and pho, for that matter) aren’t seasonally sensitive. When I lived in DC, I ate pho all the time, even in the DEAD of sweat-your-face-off-hell-on-earth-month (aka August). Some foods just inspire and ignite feelings of comfort, and for me, that’s always going to be Asian soups. They’re just simple. The flavors come from the fresh ingredients – the spicy chilis that grow along the sloping hills, the veggies and herbs that you can basically pluck from the side of the road.
That’s one thing I miss so much about Southeast Asia. The freshness. It’s farm-to-fork before that concept was a buzzword in the US. It’s simply how they live. Most of the families living in the rural countryside villages of Myanmar, Indonesia, Thailand, Vietnam, Cambodia and China don’t have the resources to buy processed food from the store. I mean, most of them don’t have four walls on their homes, indoor plumbing or electricity, so the last thing they’re going to spend money on is tomatoes pumped with GMO’s. The food they eat is the food they grow. The meat they eat is raised right outside of their door.
They’ve been living the way we’ve been trying to for decades without a second thought. It’s a hard life – one that requires understanding, empathy, patience and courage – but a simple one. One I think we could all learn so much from.
But, that’s a different story for a different day. Today, we’re going to chat a bit more about this ramen. As most of you know, I’m a vegetarian now (formerly a vegan), so clearly my ramen is completely meat-free. But guess what, you don’t miss it. The spiciness of the kimchi and chilies, as well as the herbaceousness of the cilantro paired with the crispy baked tofu more than make up for the flavor (and texture) you’d get from meat.
Plus, now you can eat heaps more without the guilt. Which, honestly, is all I care about.
Easy Tofu Ramen
Serves about 4.
Prep time: 15 minutes
Cook time: 20 – 30 minutes
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 1 medium red onion, sliced and chopped
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 tablespoon minced ginger
- 1 quart low-sodium vegetable broth (homemade or store bought)
- 3 – 4 tablespoons soy sauce, divided (I used low-sodium)
- 12 ounces ramen noodles
For the tofu:
- 1 package extra-firm tofu, drained and pressed
- 2 tablespoons hoisin sauce
- 2 tablespoons spicy Asian chili sauce
- 2 tablespoons soy sauce
For the toppings:
- 2 jalapeños, seeded and sliced
- 1 cup kimchi, divided
- 1 cup bean sprouts
- Fresh cilantro
- Sriracha for garnish
For the soft boiled eggs:
- 4 eggs
- Cut the tofu into bite-size pieces. In a bowl, whisk the hoisin, spicy Asian chili sauce and soy sauce together. In a large ziplock bag, mix the tofu pieces and the marinade together. Chill for at least 1 – 2 hours.
- Once marinated, preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Scoop the tofu out of the marinade and place in the baking dish, careful to evenly distribute the tofu. Drizzle 2 – 4 tablespoons of marinade over the tofu and bake for about 25 – 30 minutes, stopping to toss the tofu after 10 minutes so it evenly bakes.
- In a large Dutch Oven over medium heat, add the olive oil. Add in the garlic and cook for about 1 minute, or until slightly fragrant. Add the onions and cook over medium-high heat for 2 – 3 minutes. Stir in the ginger, broth and soy sauce. Reduce heat to low, cover and let simmer for about 10 – 15 minutes.
- Bring another small pot (about 4 – 6 cups) of water to a rapid boil. Add the ramen noodles and cook for about 4 – 6 minutes, or until soft. Drain and set aside.
- To make the soft boiled egg, fill a saucepan with a few inches of water (enough to cover an egg) to a rapid boil. Reduce the water to a rapid simmer and gently (VERY GENTLY) lower the eggs into the water. Cook the eggs for about 5 – 6 minutes. Remove with a slotted spoon and then immediately rinse in cold water. To peel, wrap in paper towels and gently tap the egg with the back of a spoon to crack it. Gently peel.
- When ready to serve, spoon the broth into four bowls. Add in the ramen noodles and top with a few tablespoons of jalapeno, 1/4 cup kimchi, 1/4 cup bean sprouts, fresh cilantro, 2 soft boiled eggs and a heap (like 2 – 4 tablespoons) of crispy tofu.
Nutritional information per serving:
Fat: 17.5 grams
Carbohydrates: 21 grams
Fiber: 1 gram
Protein: 17.2 grams