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Quick Vegan Japanese Noodle Soup

Last night I posted a photo of my dinner on Instagram, and a friend asked me for the recipe. I didn't think anyone wants to read a recipe off the Instagram comments, so I am taking this as an opportunity to add something to this poor neglected blog.

This is a super quick, easy dish as long as you have the key ingredients on hand, which I always do. You can also spruce it up for sure.


  • 1.5 tbsp sesame or vegetable oil

  • 1 tbsp toasted sesame oil (optional, but I feel like it really “makes” the dish)

  • 1 tbsp fresh garlic, minced (3 cloves)

  • 2 tbsp fresh ginger, minced (if you freeze your fresh ground ginger, 2 ice cubes of fresh ginger)

  • 5 cups broth or stock

  • 3 tbsp low-sodium soy sauce

  • 1.5 tbsp mirin

  • Black pepper

  • 2 bundles tomoshiraga somen, or whatever noodles you like

  • ½ c fresh shitakes (optional) (expensive)

  • Some greens! Bock choy, chard, or whatever you have on hand (I often just use baby kale or salad greens)

Optional Toppings

  • 3-4 scallions, sliced

  • Fresh jalapeño slices

  • Sesame seeds

  • Red pepper flakes American, if that is what you have on hand. or Ichimi togarashi red pepper flakes (I personally think red pepper flakes are mandatory, but I am a bit of a spice freak)

Protein Options:

  • Tofu. You can toss raw tofu in, but I don't like that. I sometimes make crispy baked tofu. I use this recipe but I omit the maple syrup.

  • Edamame is quick and easy. I keep it in the freezer and boil it when I need it. I prefer it on the side

  • Eggs: In a frying pan Fry 3 eggs to “over medium” consistency. Traditionally you are supposed to use soft-boiled eggs but I usually make this when I’m in a hurry. Put these on top right before serving. Obviously, this makes the dish no longer "vegan" . . .

I keep fresh ginger in the freezer at all times. I get organic ginger, soak it 10 minutes in water, then scrub all the dirt off. Then I throw it in a food processor and pulverize it. Scoop it into ice cube trays and freeze overnight. Then just dump into a freezer bag. This is good for any recipe calling for fresh ginger. Or steep it in hot water, add lemon juice for a delicious beverage.

Get Cookin'

In soup pot, put 1 tbsp sesame oil

Saute the minced garlic and ginger in sesame oil until soft. Do NOT toast the garlic, just soften it

(Aside: I have pre-ground fresh ginger frozen into ice cube trays in my freezer at all times, and I usually forget to get the ginger out of the freezer to defrost it, so I have started sauteing only the garlic. )

Add broth, soy sauce, mirin and shitake. Sprinkle in some black pepper. If you are using frozen ginger cubes toss those in now.

Simmer about 10 minutes for fresh shitake. If they aren't tender in 10 minutes keep checking them every minute or so. (I have been skipping the shitakes lately because they are expensive and I don't always have them on hand)

If you are not using shitake, you still simmer about 10 minutes to make sure the ginger is soft

While this is simmering, chop greens, dice scallions and/or jalapeño (optional)

Boil water in a separate pot. Boil noodles about 3 minutes then drain, or simply use tongs to pull them out and put in a separate bowl.

To the noodles, add 1 tbsp toasted sesame oil and .5-1 tbsp regular sesame oil to noodles and gently toss to coat the noodles in the oil. This is optional, but I find the toasted sesame oil gives it that umami flavor and kind of “makes” the dish. Coating the noodles also prevents clumping

Get your protein ready.

Dinner Time!

Assemble your bowls with the desired noodle-to-broth ratio. Sprinkle a handful of raw greens in. Add any other toppings now and give a quick stir to wilt the greens. Sprinkle on the hot pepper flakes! Add the eggs or tofu last, or serve with a bowl of edamame on the side.

You can bring sesame oil, soy sauce and pepper flakes to the table in case you want to alter it, but I feel like as long as I use that toasted sesame oil on the noodles, it's pretty much exactly how I like it! My sweetheart added some Chinese Chili Garlic Sauce to his. I guess I better freeze some diced jalapeños for future!

This is what I mean by 2 bundles of noodles.
These greens worked well in this dish

I came up with this recipe by looking at this non-vegan one:

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