Ramen almost always starts with broth made with pork or chicken in addition to dried bonito flakes. That makes most brimming bowls off limits for vegan diners, but fortunately there are a growing number of eateries making plant-based broth and loading up bowls with noodles, veggies and tofu. Check out these nine places to get a hearty bowl of vegan ramen.
Uncle2215 West 32nd Avenue
Plant-based ramen hunters needn't miss out on the fun at the always-packed Uncle in West Highland. The house veggie ramen starts with miso broth made with vegan dashi and a blend of several miso pastes. Noodles, garlic oil, watermelon radishes, arugula, scallions and sesame seed build layers of flavor, and shiitake, oyster and portabello mushrooms add meaty texture. A dash of smoked salt finishes the dish Add your choice of soft or fried tofu to top it off — but make sure you ask your server to leave the egg off to make it vegan.
Osaka Ramen2611 Walnut Street
Osaka Ramen offers both traditional and modern takes on ramen, along with a variety of small plates. To make the vegetable ramen vegan, skip the egg and sub rice noodles for the usual ramen noodles. Instead of a thin broth, the kitchen makes a thick Thai green-coconut curry broth, then adds tofu, hon shimeji mushroom, garlic, spinach, pickled vegetables and scallions.
Tokio2907 Huron Street
Tokio is the answer to late-night vegan ramen cravings, staying open until 1 a.m. The Ramen Air, as the bowl is called, comes with vegan broth that's cooked for four hours and thickened with soybean milk. The noodles and broth are loaded down with a filling combo of carrots, bamboo shoots, wood ear mushrooms, spinach, bok choy, pickled ginger, green onion, tofu and dry chile threads.
Sera’s Ramen Enclave3472 West 32nd Avenue
The noodle bowls at Sera’s Ramen Enclave are inspired by owner Sera Nguyen’s childhood in Vietnam and her travels in Asia. Nguyen makes a roasted black garlic miso broth for the eatery's veggie ramen, then loads the bowl with shiitake mushrooms, sweet greens, seasoned bamboo shoots, fried tofu, edamame, chives and sesame seeds. If you like your ramen spiked with spice, top your noodles with the house chile paste.
Tycoon Ramen & Sushi Bar338 East Colfax Avenue
Tycoon-Ramen on Facebook
Tycoon makes several ramen options as well as soups, salads, sashimi and poke. The vegan ramen is among the spot's most popular options, made with mushroom soy broth. Instead of wheat noodles, Tycoon uses shirataki noodles, which are made from konjac (a root vegetable). Toppings include a variety of steamed veggies and enoki mushrooms.
Goed Zuur2801 Welton Street
Goed Zuur is known for sour and wild ales on tap, but on Sundays the small kitchen busts out its off-menu ramen, which sells out quickly. The mushroom ramen is made with red miso-lemongrass broth, noodles, seaweed salad, marinated vegetables, kimchi and fresh mushrooms. Leave off the soft-boiled egg to make the ramen vegan.
Ajinoya Ramen1390 South Colorado Boulevard
Ajinoya Ramen does a contemporary take on traditional Japanese cuisine. The simple menu consists of a handful of ramen bowls, poke and a few rice dishes. The veggie ramen comprises vegetable broth, ramen noodles, tofu, broccoli, carrot, bean sprouts, bok choy and green onions.
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Corner Ramen1629 East Bruce Randolph Avenue
Besides a handful of ramen options, Corner Ramen serves appetizers, poke bowls, and sake The vegetarian ramen consists of tofu, spinach and mushrooms in a creamy broth. Order without the poached egg to make it vegan.
Menya Ramen & Poke1590 Little Raven Street
Menya Ramen has six locations around Colorado, including LoHi, Capitol Hill and Aurora. Two of the house noodle bowls can easily be made vegan by skipping the egg. Udon noodles come in a soy broth thick with seaweed and veggies, and the Yasai ramen bowl contains noodles and veggies in a seaweed broth. To go along with the ramen, order a marinated seaweed salad, edamame with sea salt or spicy kimchi.
Note: When ordering at any of these restaurants, always mention that you're looking to keep the dish vegan to ensure any necessary substitutions are made.