How to: Spruce Up Your Top Ramen!

This post is for my college students, budgetnistas, and top ramen lovers.

I got you!

There was a time when top ramen was one of my favorite things to eat and cook. It was easy, quick, delicious (what is it about MSG and high sodium?) and – most importantly – cheap! Now that I am older, a bit wiser about my food options, and have a little more pocket change, my homemade top ramen escapades are fewer and farther in between. Sad, I know. However, I thoroughly enjoy going to authentic ramen spots. In fact, that might be my go to choice. But that’s not what this post is about! When I am trying to save some coins and don’t have much in the fridge – or when I’m just feeling nostalgic – I like to spruce things up by adding variety to the traditional top ramen recipe. Adding

greens and veggies to my ramen let’s me enjoy it without feeling any guilt about lack of nutrients. Trust me on this one.

First, I look in my fridge and cabinets to find whatever I have lying around. A lot of times, we have more to cook with than we actually think. For me, it’s usually the following items. For the recipe, you can use:

  • 1 red or yellow onion
  • herbs like garlic, green onions, parsley, basil
  • salt, pepper, crushed red peppers, and other seasonings to taste (I personally don’t use the top ramen packet)
  • 1/2 cup of chopped sweet peppers (red, yellow, orange, and/or green)
  • a can of black beans or chick peas
  • mushrooms
  • 1 cup of chopped spinach, kale, or broccoli
  • olive oil (or whatever oil you’re working with)
  • optional: 1/2 of an avocado (no hipster or millennial jokes please!)

I recommend trying some (or all) of these items to spruce up your ramen with more nutrients, add flavor and variety, and make it more pleasing to the eye! If you don’t have the items above, no worries! You can try any available veggies, greens, and other things in your fridge that you think would be great in a stir fry. Just use what you’re working with. The point is to spruce up the ramen and try something new. So don’t be shy, experiment!

Now I usually like to cook my ramen the traditional way with a nice savory broth\ but I also love a good stirfry. I’ve added details for both styles below.

Stir-fry style:

Directions:

  1. Slightly cook your top ramen in a pot of boiling water under medium heat. The key word here is slightly. Cook for about 3-5 minutes so that the ramen becomes tender but not fully cooked. The ramen should not be translucent, that’s how you know you’ve let it cook too long. There’s also no need to add seasoning yet because we’re going to save that for later with the stir fry. Once cooked, drain the ramen and set aside.
  2. Add oil to a nonstick pan over medium high heat
  3. Add your onions, peppers, and herbs and cook til slightly brown
  4. Add beans, greens, and mushrooms. Add your your salt, pepper, crushed peppers, and other seasonings to taste.
  5. Let simmer but stir occasionally to ensure everything cooks and is seasoned evenly.
  6. Add your ramen and stir until golden brown. Add more seasoning if you prefer.

Broth style:

Directions:

1. Select and prepare your veggies of choice. Chop as desired. I like to add onions, garlic, kale, red, green, or yellow sweet peppers, chickpeas or beans, and sometimes, mushrooms.

2. In a pan, use olive oil to stir fry your veggies for 5 minutes, or until slightly (but not fully) tender, lightly seasoning.

3. Bring a pot of water to boil and add your ramen, lowering the heat. After a few minutes, begin to add your vegetables. Add your preferred seasonings to taste. For added spice, I like to add jalapeno peppers or one of my favorite hot sauces (i.e. habanero sauce or sriracha)

4. Optional: Boil 1 egg and slice in half to add to your ramen. Trust me, it’s so good!

Enjoy! Let me know what you think in the comments below.

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