The term, "ramen," has crawled out from under its sad reputation in America as a college student's idea of a cheap dinner. Ramen, real ramen - springy, handmade noodles, complex, simmered-for-days broth - is hitting its stride right now with authentic (and whimsically inauthentic) ramen joints popping up in cities all across America. None in your neighborhood yet? Improvise with the packaged variety! Alternatively, you can also buy packages of curly "Chinese egg noodles" or "chuka soba," which are very similar to ramen noodles.
Start by tossing the flavor packet away. Cook the noodles in your favorite store-bought chicken or veggie broth (or better yet, homemade stock) as the package directs, but jazz up your meal-in-a-bowl with some of these fresh and fabulous add-ins.
Quick-Cooking Veggies: shredded carrots, spinach, frozen peas, frozen corn, shredded cabbage, sliced mushrooms, beansprouts, canned bamboo shoots (rinsed and drained), thinly sliced chili peppers
Related: Warm-You-Up Chicken Soup Recipes
Leftover/Pre-Cooked/Quick-Cooking Proteins: cubed tofu, cooked slices of pork, shredded rotisserie chicken, cleaned shrimp, egg (crack it right into the simmer broth as the noodles cook)
Related: 16 Healthiest Food Swaps
Easy Stir-ins to Amp up Flavor (season to taste): Miso paste, wasabi paste, Asian hot sauce (such as sriracha or chili-garlic sauce), sliced scallions, grated fresh ginger/ground ginger, soy sauce, toasted sesame oil, togarashi (Japanese seasoning mix), cilantro, kimchi, Thai curry paste, unsweetened coconut milk
Too many options making your head spin? Try one of these tasty combos:
1. Carrots + scallions + rotisserie chicken + kimchi
2. Tofu + spinach + mushrooms + soy sauce
3. Thinly sliced Serrano chilis+ lime juice + fish sauce + unsweetened coconut milk + Thai red or green curry paste + cilantro
4. Cooked pork + canned bamboo shoots + togarashi + wasabi paste + grated ginger
5. Miso paste + sesame oil + bean sprouts + spinach + egg
6. Poached egg + sesame oil + shredded cabbage + frozen corn + ground ginger + Sriracha