vegan tonkotsu soy milk ramen with chopsticks and soup spoon

    Tonkotsu soy milk broth ramen with mushrooms, green onions, bok choy, nori seaweed, and mayu

    Tonkotsu ramen, a traditional Japanese ramen dish that can easily be made vegan- and vegetarian-friendly with a simple broth that uses dairy-free soy milk to add depth, color, and richness to this classic Asian noodle comfort dish.

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    vegan tonkotsu soy milk ramen recipe text atop bowl of ramen and vegetables

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    Time:75 min (15 prep, 60 cook)
    Calories:463 (per serving)
    Good For:Asian comfort food, lunch or dinner

    What is Tonkotsu?

    Tonkotsu is a Japanese style of broth that is traditionally made by simmering pork marrow bones for hours on end, which gives the broth a milky texture and nearly-white color. Please note that this is different than tonkatsu, a Japanese term that’s only one letter off and instead refers to a pork cutlet that is breaded and fried.

    How to Make Tonkotsu Broth Vegan or Vegetarian

    The challenge in making tonkotsu vegan or vegetarian lies in replicating that fatty composition and signature color. Luckily, we stumbled across a brilliant solution to that problem on another food blog. Marc, the ingenious blogger from No Recipes, describes a way to make tonkotsu broth using soy milk as the base. We followed his recipe and it was every bit delicious as the pictures suggest.

    While Marc’s version was absolutely amazing, it did include some obscure ingredients and had some steps that required a lot of work. We came up with a simpler version of the recipe, which we think gets you almost as much deliciousness but with half the work.

    When choosing a soy milk to use, try to find a unflavored soy milk that has a lower sugar content, but isn’t completely sugar-free. The brand we use contains a touch of sugar, and that little bit of sweetness helps to round out the flavor of the broth.

    The most challenging ingredient to find will probably be the dried mushroom powder, but it is worth looking for as it will definitely up the deliciousness of the broth if you can get your hands on some. Dried mushroom powder is a great flavor enhancer which will boost the umami, or savory, flavor in the broth. However, if you are not able to find it in any of your local Asian grocery stores, it may be omitted from the recipe as the kombu (a type of Japanese seaweed) and shiitake mushrooms will help provide some of that umami flavor.

    vegan tonkotsu ramen ingredients konbu and dried mushroom on cutting board

    tonkotsu ramen dried kombu and shiitake mushrooms

    Ingredients

    Supplies

    vegan tonkotsu soy milk ramen bowl without broth

    tonkotsu ramen vegetable toppings sitting atop bed of ramen noodles

    How to Make Tonkotsu Ramen - Step by Step

    Tonkotsu Broth

    Step 1. Combine the soy milk with 6 cups of water in a large pot. Add the strip of kombu and dried shiitake mushrooms, then heat on medium low until steaming. Do not allow to boil.

    Step 2. Let it sit while you prepare everything else, but remove the kombu approximately 15 minutes in, before it starts falling apart.

    Step 3. Skim off foam or film that develops on the surface of the broth and discard. If you’ve left the konbu in too long and it starts falling apart, you may also need to strain the broth to remove the pieces.

    Step 4. Add cubed tofu.

    Step 5. Season to taste with Bragg's Liquid Amino, dried mushroom powder, and salt. Let soup cook for another 5 minutes before serving.

    vegan tonkotsu boiling soy milk ramen on stove with mushroom

    Tonkotsu ramen broth - soy milk with mushrooms

    Beech Mushrooms

    Step 1. Combine mushrooms and julienned onions in a large saute pan with some cooking oil.

    Step 2. Saute over medium high heat approximately 6 minutes or until onions turn brown.

    Step 3. Season to taste with salt and pepper, then remove from heat and set aside.

    vegan tonkotsu ramen preparation sauteing mushrooms on stove

    Tonkotsu ramen beech mushrooms simmering on stovetop

    Bak Choy

    Step 1. Place in a large saute pan with some cooking oil.

    Step 2. Cook over medium heat with lid on pan approximately 5 minutes or until bok choy begins to soften.

    Step 3. Remove lid and allow moisture to cook off.

    Step 4. Season to taste with Bragg’s Liquid Amino and pepper, then remove from heat and set aside.

    vegan tonkotsu soy milk ramen bok choy on stove for a little green to noodle dish

    Tonkotsu ramen baby bok choy greens add crunch and color to ramen

    Assembly

    Step 1. Prepare ramen noodles according to package instructions.

    Step 2. Place noodles in a large bowl, then add broth with tofu.

    Step 3. Top with beech mushrooms, bok choy, raw enoki mushrooms, and a dollop of mayu.

    Step 4. Garnish with sliced green onion, black sesame seeds, and a few pieces of seasoned nori.

    Variations & Substitutions

    As with most soup-type dishes, there are many items that you could add to this recipe or swap the bok choy or beech mushrooms for. Keep in mind that the broth and mayu are incredibly flavorful together, so it is best to choose ingredients that won’t clash with the soup itself. Here are some good suggestions:

    • Straw mushrooms
    • Oyster mushrooms
    • Choi sum
    • Cabbage
    • Corn
    • Cooked bean sprouts
    • Soft-boiled egg

    It is also common to serve ramen dishes with kim chee or potstickers on the side.

    Vegan Tonkotsu Ramen
    Prep Time
    15 mins
    Cook Time
    1 hr
    Total Time
    1 hr 15 mins
     

    Tonkotsu ramen, a traditional Japanese noodle dish that can be made vegan with a soy milk broth that adds depth, color, and richness to a rather ordinary ramen bowl.

    Course: Main Course, Soup
    Cuisine: Japanese
    Keyword: japanese noodle soup, tonkotsu ramen
    Servings: 6 servings
    Calories: 463 kcal
    Author: Stacy
    Ingredients
    • 32 fluid oz. plain soy milk
    • 4”x2” strip konbu
    • 3 dried shitake mushrooms
    • 2 Tbsp Bragg’s Liquid Amino
    • 1 tsp dried mushroom powder
    • 6 servings fresh ramen noodles (or Rice Ramen, for vegans)
    • 4 bundles baby bak choy rinsed and cut into bite sized pieces
    • 10 oz. beech mushrooms with bottoms trimmed off and rinsed
    • 6 oz. enoki mushrooms with bottoms trimmed off and rinsed
    • 1/2 medium onion julienned
    • 14 oz. firm tofu cubed
    • green onion sliced
    • black sesame seeds
    • 2 packages seasoned nori
    Instructions
    Tonkotsu Broth
    1. Combine the soy milk with 6 cups of water in a large pot. Add the strip of kombu and dried shiitake mushrooms, then heat on medium low until steaming. Do not allow to boil.

    2. Let it sit while you prepare everything else, but remove the kombu approximately 15 minutes in, before it starts falling apart.

    3. Skim off foam or film that develops on the surface of the broth and discard. If you’ve left the konbu in too long and it starts falling apart, you may also need to strain the broth to remove the pieces.

    4. Add cubed tofu.

    5. Season to taste with Bragg's Liquid Amino, dried mushroom powder, and salt. Let soup cook for another 5 minutes before serving.

    Beech Mushrooms
    1. Combine mushrooms and julienned onions in a large saute pan with some cooking oil.

    2. Saute over medium high heat approximately 6 minutes or until onions turn brown.

    3. Season to taste with salt and pepper, then remove from heat and set aside.

    Bak Choy
    1. Place in a large saute pan with some cooking oil.

    2. Cook over medium heat with lid on pan approximately 5 minutes or until bok choy begins to soften.

    3. Remove lid and allow moisture to cook off.

    4. Season to taste with Bragg’s Liquid Amino and pepper, then remove from heat and set aside.

    Assembly
    1. Prepare ramen noodles according to package instructions.

    2. Place noodles in a large bowl, then add broth with tofu.

    3. Top with beech mushrooms, bok choy, raw enoki mushrooms, and a dollop of mayu.

    4. Garnish with sliced green onion, black sesame seeds, and a few pieces of seasoned nori.

    Recipe Notes

    Variations & Substitutions:

    As with most soup-type dishes, there are many items that you could add to this recipe or swap the bok choy or beech mushrooms for. Keep in mind that the broth and mayu are incredibly flavorful together, so it is best to choose ingredients that won’t clash with the soup itself. Here are some good suggestions:

    • Straw mushrooms
    • Oyster mushrooms
    • Choi sum
    • Cabbage
    • Corn
    • Cooked bean sprouts
    • Soft-boiled egg

    It is also common to serve ramen dishes with kim chee or potstickers on the side.

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