Spicy miso ramen is one of my go-to recipes when I want something really warm & filling but still healthful and nourishing. The shiitake mushrooms and white miso create deep rich umami flavors in my ramen broth that is both vegan and vegetarian. Chili garlic sauce and fresh ginger add that heat that makes spicy miso ramen so craveable. A bold full-bodied broth is a perfect canvas for more subtle vegetables and proteins.
Playing with colors and textures also makes ramen a really fun dish to customize with your favorite toppings—or just to use up the odds and ends of produce in your fridge.
The texture is really important to me when I dive into a bowl of ramen. Extra-firm baked or air-fried tofu is my protein of choice to add that perfect ‘meaty’ bite scooped up with the rich umami broth. I like crisp-tender spring-green bok choy and fresh bright scallions. And the best part—slippery chewy noodles for slurping up the spicy broth.
Ramen soup is an experience and it is so easy to make at home. A few key ingredients and very simple techniques are all you need to make this dish your own. You can play with the proteins and add chicken breast instead. Change up the veggies, add fresh herbs, and make the spicy miso ramen—as spicy as you like.
What Is Miso?
The star ingredient in this soup, Miso is a fermented soybean paste used in Japanese cooking. It gives a salty umami flavor to recipes. It's made out of a mixture of soybeans, rice or barley, salt, and koji (a mold). It's either smooth or chunky, depending on the variety.
Most miso is made in Japan, but there are actually more than 1,000 types of miso. All of them differ based on their texture, flavor, and color. Most of the miso that is imported into the United States is divided up into two different categories: light (white) miso and dark (red) miso, although you might also find yellow miso as well.
White Miso (Shiro Miso)
This is the sweetest miso variety you will find. It gets its sweet taste because it is fermented for a shorter time and has less salt. It is great in light sauces, and soups, and even as a dairy replacement in mashed potatoes.
Yellow Miso (Shinshu Miso)
With a slightly bolder flavor than white miso, yellow miso is fermented long. Its color can range from light yellow all the way to light brown. People usually use it on soups and glazes.
Red Miso (Aka Miso)
Red miso is fermented for the longest amount of time so it is the saltiest variety out of all three of them. Since it has such a pungent flavor, it's best for hearty soup, braises, or marinades. It has such a strong flavor that it overpowers milder ingredients, so remember that a little bit goes a long way.
Miso Health Benefits
Did you know that miso is really good for you? It is made with soybeans and grain and is packed with nutrients. Miso is a source of vitamin K (blood calcium), protein (muscles), and zinc (immune system).
The fermentation process also gives it nutritious qualities. This process increases the number of probiotics that are good for your gut. Increasing your intestinal flora helps your digestive system and enhances your immune system.
- Ramen Noodles - I love the gluten-free brown rice ramen noodles from lotus foods, but you can use any ramen noodles including Japanese Ramen noodles or even the Instant Top Ramen
- Miso Paste - white miso paste is mild and adds that perfect umami flavor
- Ginger and Garlic- fresh ginger and garlic make this soup flavorful and aromatic
- Chili Garlic Paste - adds a nice spicy touch to the ramen and you can add more or less to taste
- Vegetable Broth - low sodium vegetable broth from better than bouillon
- Tofu - air fried tofu holds up really well in this soup and adds a satisfying texture and protein
- Bok Choy - baby bok choy works great in this recipe as it cooks fast and has a mild taste sweet taste and you simply need to trim the thick stems near the roots.
- Mushrooms - I love adding Shiitake mushrooms but you can add any mushrooms you like
How to Make Spicy Miso Ramen
- Heat a tablespoon of oil in a Dutch oven or a large pot over medium-high heat. Add half of the garlic and saute it for 30 seconds on medium heat (photo 1).
- Add some bok choy and saute for 2 to 3 minutes. Take out the bok choy and save it for later (photo 2).
- In the same pan add another tablespoon of oil and the mushrooms. Cook on medium heat until the mushrooms are soft - about 3 to 4 minutes - stirring frequently. Take out the mushrooms and reserve (photos 3 and 4).
- Add the remaining oil, ginger, and garlic paste. Saute it for a minute or until it is fragrant (photo 5).
- Add the chili garlic sauce and broth. Bring to a rolling boil (photo 6).
- Add your favorite noodles to the broth. Follow the directions on the package for cook time (photo 7).
- After the noodles are completely cooked, turn off the heat and add the miso paste and water to the noodles and broth (photo 8).
- To serve it, ladle the broth into a large soup bowl (photo 9).
- Add the noodles to the bowl of broth with a pair of tongs (photo 10).
- Top with the sautéed bok choy, mushrooms, and tofu (photo 11).
- Garnish with scallions, red chili flakes, or chili garlic paste (photo 12).
Garnish with fresh cilantro, sprouts, lime wedges, and sriracha, and get ready to dig in!
Here are my tips to make the best homemade ramen soup:
- Use fresh ginger and garlic that add a burst of flavor to this soup
- Save the stems of shiitake mushrooms and use them to make homemade broth
- Do not overcook the Bok Choy, the crunch in the stems adds a nice satisfying texture to this soup
- Try the Hikari Organic White Miso Paste - It's vegan and you need just a little bit to pack in the deep flavors. It is sold in Asian grocery stores, some US grocery stores, and also on amazon
- To prevent any lumps, make sure to dissolve the miso paste in some warm water before adding it to the soup.
- Lastly, remember to stir in the miso after you have turned off the heat. You do not want to cook it to preserve all of its nutrients
This spicy miso soup is really versatile and you can change it up to your liking:
- I like to use millet and brown rice noodles from lotus foods. They are gluten-free and also healthy and available at whole foods, Costco, and Amazon. You can easily substitute them with your favorite brand of ramen noodles. If you have the Instant Ramen packets in your pantry, try this recipe with those noodles.
- I love the meaty shiitake mushrooms in this soup. You can add your favorite type of mushrooms. If you are not a big fan of mushrooms add other veggies like broccoli, zucchini, carrots, etc.
- Don't have bok choy? Add any greens you like - spinach, chard, kale just to name a few!
- If you enjoy seafood or meats, add some chicken or shrimp to this ramen soup. Simply saute the chicken or shrimp along with the ginger, garlic, and chili garlic sauce. Cook for a few mins and then add broth and cook everything together. Top the ramen soup with a soft boiled egg and nori sheets.
- If you are not into spicy foods, add less chili garlic sauce or skip it altogether. The soup is still so flavorful and delish.
I made this soup using Lotus foods brand organic millet and brown rice noodles but you can use any ramen noodles that you want.
I added bok choy and shiitake mushrooms but you can add other veggies or types of mushrooms. Try adding some snow peas or corn kernels for more color and texture.
Store the leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. It tastes the best hot off the stove. When you want to reheat the soup, I suggest heating it on the stove again.
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Spicy Miso Ramen Soup Recipe
- 2 tablespoons oil
- 1 tablespoon garlic minced
- 1 lb baby bok choy
- 8 oz shiitake mushrooms de-stemmed and thinly sliced
- ½ cup scallions
- red chili flakes
- chili garlic sauce
- Bake or air fry tofu using these directions.
- Heat 1 tablespoon of oil on a dutch oven or a large pot. Add half of the garlic and saute for 30 seconds on medium heat. Add bok choy and saute for 2 to 3 minutes. Take out the bok choy and reserve.
- In the same pan add 1 tablespoon of oil and mushrooms. Cook on medium heat until the mushrooms are soft about 3 to 4 minutes stirring frequently. Take out the mushrooms and reserve.
- Add remaining oil, ginger, and garlic paste. Saute for a minute or until fragrant. Add chili garlic sauce and broth. Bring to a rolling boil.
- Add noodles and cook until the noodles are cooked through and soft. Follow the directions on the package for cook time.
- Once the noodles are cooked, turn the heat off. Mix together miso paste and water and add to the noodles.
- Ladle broth in a large soup bowl. Add the noodles over using a pair of tongs and top with sauteed bok choy, mushrooms, and tofu. Garnish with scallions. Add red chili flakes or chili garlic paste to taste and serve hot.