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Ramen, Heavy on the Healthy

April 17, 2014

Ramen, Heavy on the Healthy

April 17, 2014

Rochelle Bilow, recipe by Alison Roman, photo by Yossy Arefi

Want comfort food? There’s little better than a hot, steamy bowl of ramen, teeming with noodles, heady broth, and plenty of accoutrements. But somewhere between the pork belly and the soft-cooked egg, traditional bowls of ramen can veer off toward mega-indulgence. We’re all about being naughty now and then, but tonight, we’re lightening things up: This vegetarian version of ramen is heavy on the flavor. Onion, carrot, celery, cabbage, and—of course—noodles make this a satisfying meal, while chile paste and garlic ramp up the flavor. Healthy ramen tonight, and all in the comfort of your pajamas? Yup, your night just got a lot better.

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Humble cabbage takes center stage in this vegetarian ramen inspired soup.


  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 1 medium onion, thinly sliced
  • 2 carrots, peeled, thinly sliced
  • 2 celery stalks, thinly sliced
  • 2 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 1/2 head Napa cabbage, chopped
  • 4 cups low-sodium vegetable broth
  • 2 tablespoons (or more) shoyu (Japanese soy sauce)
  • 2 tablespoons unseasoned rice vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons sugar
  • 2 cups cooked ramen or soba noodles
  • Hot chili paste (such as sambal oelek) and fresh cilantro leaves (for serving)

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Heat oil in a large pot or Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add onion, carrots, celery, and garlic and cook, stirring, until softened, 10–12 minutes. Add cabbage, broth, shoyu, vinegar, and sugar and bring to a boil. Reduce heat, cover partially with a lid, and simmer until vegetables are very tender, 15–20 minutes; season to taste with more shoyu if desired. Serve over noodles topped with hot chili paste and cilantro.

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