If you’re looking for vegan ramen, congratulations! It’s surprisingly easy to find. In and of themselves, traditional ramen noodles are vegan. They’re just wheat, salt, and water.
That said, there are some things you might want to look out for. To begin with, the broth might contain meat ingredients. For another thing, some ramen products use lactose, which is derived from cow’s milk.
Here, we’ll talk about what goes into ramen noodles, and whether or not they’re vegan. We’ll also talk about Mike’s Mighty Good’s vegan flavors, and what you can do with them. Let’s get started!
Wait – Don’t Ramen Noodles Have Eggs in Them?
No. While eggs can be used as a ramen ingredient, the noodles themselves contain only three ingredients in ramen bar noodles. The main ingredient is wheat flour. The second is a bit of salt.
The third ingredient is kansui, which is a special kind of alkaline water that turns the noodles in ramen restaurants yellow. This color doesn’t come from eggs, although it has contributed to the myth that ramen noodles contain eggs.
Another reason for the confusion is that Japanese cuisine uses a lot of egg noodles. If you’re familiar with Japanese cooking, you come to expect egg noodles in most dishes.
Furthermore, traditional ramen noodles are hard to prepare from scratch. You have to mix the dough by hand, then pull it out until it’s stretched into a long, thin strand. The recipe might be simple, but the process itself is difficult. Ramen chefs train long and hard to become masters of ramen production.
By contrast, egg noodles are easy to prepare at home. They’re made with flour, salt, water, and eggs, and the egg acts as a binder. Simply put, they’re easy for a novice to form into a noodle shape. As a result, if you visit someone in Japan and eat homemade noodles, they’re almost certainly egg noodles. But if you went to a ramen bar (or bought ramen off the shelf), you’d get proper ramen noodles.
Finally, egg noodles and ramen noodles have a virtually identical taste and texture. It takes a discriminating palate to tell the difference. For all of these reasons, many people just assume that ramen noodles are egg noodles.
With all of that being said, you can use egg noodles as a substitute for ramen in a pinch. They won’t be vegan, but your recipe will come out just fine.
What’s in the Package?
Now that we’ve talked about what isn’t in ramen noodles, let’s talk about what is in them. We can’t speak for all manufacturers. For example, Mike’s Mighty Good contains no lactose, but many brands do. Here’s what you’ll find in a Mike’s Mighty Good ramen packet or cup.
Mike’s Mighty Good Noodles
First things first. Let’s talk about the Mike’s Mighty Good noodles themselves. What goes into them, and how are they prepared?
It all starts out with wheat flour, which is entirely vegan. This wheat flour is combined with water, which is also vegan. The water will ultimately be removed as part of the drying process.
There’s also salt, which is a standard ingredient in any ramen noodle. Salt is obviously vegan, and contributes to the noodles’ flavor. It also assists the dough’s natural gluten with binding the dough together. Mike’s Mighty Good uses organic wheat salt, with an alkaline composition that turns the noodles very slightly yellow.
Finally, Mike’s Mighty Good uses potato starch in our recipe. This isn’t used in traditional ramen, but it’s important here for a couple of reasons. First, it helps the dough to stay bound during the production process. We’re not making these noodles by hand, after all! The dough has to be cohesive enough to be prepared in a ramen noodle machine.
Second, fresh-made ramen doesn’t have to be dried, but packaged ramen does. The starch helps the noodles maintain their texture when you boil them. Needless to say, potato starch is also vegan.
Mike’s Mighty Good Flavor Packets
Besides the noodles, your ramen will also come with a flavor packet. All our ramens come with not only a dry flavor packet, but also a packet of delicious oil which helps to create a ridiculously rich broth. Here are some of the ingredients that do and no and do not go into our flavor packets.
- Dried broth or powdered meat – You have to be careful here. Obviously, beef, chicken, and pork ramen won’t be vegan. Unless the flavoring is artificial, it will have to be derived from an animal. However, some things you might think are vegan actually aren’t. Mike’s Mighty Good makes four varieties of vegan ramen.
- Salt or TBHQ – These both serve the same purposes. They make the broth taste saltier and enhance the flavor. They also act as preservatives. While all three of these ingredients are vegan, MSG and TBHQ come with some health concerns. Even salt can be bad in large quantities. Mike’s Mighty Good ramen uses 40% less salt than big commercial brands, and contains no TBHQ.
- Herbs and spices – Ramen can use just about any spices. Garlic and onion are common, but the sky is the limit. You’ll find all kinds of seasonings, but all of them are plant-derived, so they’re all vegan.
- Dried vegetables – Once again, this can be just about anything. Depending on the recipe, you’ll find a variety of veggies. Because they’re all vegan, you have nothing to worry about.
Mike’s Mighty Good Vegan Ramen
As we mentioned, Mike’s Mighty Good produces four different varieties of vegan ramen. Before we wrap up, let’s talk about some of those!
Mike’s Mighty Good Vegetarian Vegetable Ramen is a mild, slightly-spicy ramen that contains zero animal products. The broth has a rich umami flavor, with just enough kick to keep things interesting. It tastes great all by itself, but it goes best with bok choy, shiitake mushrooms, Napa cabbage, red pepper, and fried garlic.
Mike’s Mighty Good Vegetarian Kimchi Ramen is a spicy ramen that’s similar to the basic vegetable ramen. However, it has extra kimchi that kicks the heat up to another level. It goes great with shiitake mushrooms, green onions, or avocado.
Mike’s Mighty Good Vegetarian Miso Ramen is a milder, more soothing ramen. It’s satisfying with just the flavor packet, with a umami flavor and seaweed bits in the broth. It also pairs well with mild ingredients like shiitake mushrooms, seaweed, tofu, or shallots.
Mike’s Mighty Good Vegetarian Soy Sauce Ramen combines the salty, savory flavor of soy sauce with a guilt-free vegetable stock base. It has a slightly sweet note that goes well with tofu, seaweed, onions, and bok choy. Meat eaters will also love it with chicken or pork.
So, Are Ramen Noodles Vegan?
They can be. The noodles themselves are always vegan, at least as long as you’re eating proper ramen. However, the flavor packet can contain meat ingredients or dairy.
Then again, there are also plenty of vegan ramens available. As you’ve seen, Mike’s Mighty Good offers four different varieties. They’re all delicious, and they fit right in with your vegan diet.
Vegan Ramen Recipes
We have tons of tasty recipes using our vegan ramen flavors on our recipe page. Check out a few of our favorites below, and search “vegan” on our site to find more.