Recipes and Food
3 Recipe Hacks to Transform Instant Ramen Noodles
Plain instant ramen may seem boring, but it provides the perfect canvas for culinary creativity. Adding fresh, frozen, and even dry pantry ingredients to instant ramen bumps up the nutritional value and flavor profile of your soup. Below are my three favorite recipes to get creative with ramen noodles.
Let me start by confessing that I have eaten a lot of ramen noodles in my day as a graduate student. And even now, I can’t resist indulging in a big noodly bowl of ramen for lunch on cool or rainy days. I’ve found that getting a little creative with my ramen goes a long way. I love playing around with new flavors, adding vegetables and herbs from the garden, or just tossing in a few frozen vegetables into my soup. Start with an inexpensive pack of ramen noodles and mix and match vegetable and sauce combinations to make your perfect bowl.
For these recipes, I generally use a neutral flavor of ramen — like a soy sauce or oriental flavor. But you can use whatever flavor you like or whichever kind you already have on hand. Each of these recipes is ready in about 10-15 minutes, so a quick bowl of hot noodle soup will be ready in no time. Below are my favorite ramen hacks, and I encourage you to have fun getting creative and adding your favorite veggies to the mix.
Loaded Vegetable Ramen
Have you ever noticed the dried, dehydrated, barely there teaspoon of peas, carrots, and corn that comes in your Instant Ramen flavor packets? Why do they even bother with such a tiny amount of vegetables? This loaded veggie ramen adds real and satisfying amounts of fiber-rich vegetables to your soup. I like to toss in frozen vegetables at the end of the cooking time so by the time my soup is finished, the veggies are hot and cooked all the way through.
- 1 3 oz. package of ramen noodles
- ½ cup frozen peas and carrots
- ½ cup frozen sweet corn
- ¼ cup fresh parsley, chopped
- Sriracha, optional for spice
Prepare ramen noodles according to package instructions. When the noodles are almost finished cooking, add in the frozen peas, carrots, and corn. Cook on low heat until the vegetables are thawed and the soup is hot. Top with fresh parsley, sriracha, and enjoy.
Thai Basil Ramen
I love the flavors of a warm noodle soup loaded with fresh basil and bean sprouts. As a graduate student in Los Angeles, I loved going to Vietnamese restaurants for giant bowls of pho soup on the weekends with my friends. If I couldn’t afford it, I’d try to re-create pho at home with some basic ingredients. This recipe is great with beef ramen, and works even better if you happen to find some of these instant pho packets at your local market. Just like at a restaurant, load up the Thai basil, fresh lime juice, bean sprouts, and sriracha to your heart’s content.
- 1 3 oz. package of beef ramen or this 2-ounce package of pho instant soup
- 1/2 cup fresh Thai basil leaves
- ½ cup mung bean sprouts
- 1 lime, juiced
- 1 green onion, sliced
- Sriracha (optional for spice)
Prepare ramen or pho noodles according to package instructions. Add in the fresh basil leaves, bean sprouts, and freshly squeezed lime juice to the soup. Top with chopped green onions and sriracha to taste.
Peanut Ramen Noodles
Next time you want thick and creamy peanut noodles, skip the takeout and try this ramen hack instead. These peanut ramen noodles have a rich and flavorful sauce, and are topped with crushed peanuts for an extra crunch. Add in a handful of greens, onions, and a squeeze of fresh lime juice for brightness and flavor.
- 1 3 oz. package of ramen
- 2 tbsp. peanut butter
- 2 green onions
- 1 cup fresh greens (spinach or kale)
- ½ lime, juiced
- 1 tbsp. crushed peanuts
- Sriracha, optional for spice
Prepare ramen noodles according to package instructions. Once finished cooking, leave the noodles in the pot and discard all but ½ cup of the broth. Mix in the peanut butter, green onions, fresh greens, and lime juice. Stir until the greens have wilted. Top with crushed peanuts, sriracha if you like it spicy, and enjoy.