Make Ramen (relatively) Healthy!

Picture of Make Ramen (relatively) Healthy!
Ramen noodle soup is a delicious staple for poor college students (and those feeling nostalgic), but have you looked at the nutrition facts lately? Ramen usually contains such delightful ingredients as MSG, oodles of salt, fat, empty carbs, and not a vitiman in sight.

But it's so delicious you say? (I have one word for you, Scurvy).

So here's how to make your ramen (relatively) healthy while simultaneously not bankrupting yourself.
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Step 1: Gather the necessary goods

Picture of Gather the necessary goods
This meal has the advantage of being fast, dirt cheap, vegetarian and reasonably nutritionally sound.

You will need:
-One package of Ramen noodles (either standard or organic varieties will do).
If you are a vegetarian the "Oriental" flavor of ramen sometimes contains no animal ingredients, it depends on the brand (Oriental Ramen is not vegan but the Thai Kitchen brand in the picture usually is!).
-About a rounded 1/2 cup of a variety of frozen vegetables.
Some I have used in the past include: chopped spinach, green beans, peas, chopped carrots, corn, edamame. If you have fresh veggies on hand, those work even better.
-Soy sauce and/or miso
-an egg

-Garnish: sliced garlic, green onion, cilantro, pepper, hot sauce

Step 2: Quick, go boil some water!

Picture of Quick, go boil some water!
Boil yourself 2 cups of water to cook the noodles.

I probably don't need to say this, but you never know: open your package and find the little seasoning package and pull it out *before* you dump the noodles in. Seems self evident, but fishing a melting seasoning packet out of boiling water is not fun. So look before you dump.

Here's the unconventional part:

Once your noodles are a little over halfway cooked, (still al-dente) dump the cooking water out and drain the noodles. Put another 2 cups of water on the stove.

(Hey you just discarded a lot of gross starch and a fair amount of fat!)
uberross6 months ago
You seem very biased about Ramen on this part of the instructions. I know it's unhealthy, but the way you write these instructions kinda makes a person feel like they're not eating right and it seems intended to scold a person for eating something that they only have enough money to afford for a while (mostly college kids). The parentheses parts definitely seems biased. The directions are great, but they shouldn't be intended to make someone feel bad for eating something and trying to make it healthier.
If you're vegan you'll be leaving out the *egg* as well (tofu works nicely, though. I usually saute mine beforehand with a bit of garlic and onion). Also, the Top Ramen brand Oriental and Chili flavors appear to be vegan.
I freeze my tofu and then cut them in 1cm slices and put them in the soup. Freezing changes the texture of the tofu and so it becomes really spongey and takes up the soup really especially well with those strongly flavoured instant noodles...unhealthy but it tastes good!
I have it from a good veggie friend of mine that she trusts only the Top Ramen brand (Nissin) Oriental as far as veggie goes (I'll take your word for it on vegan; I'm a meat eater, so I'm just passing along wisdom!).
sorry caityjay - rather than trust your "veggie friend" try reading the label; beef flavoring is included.
b5200 meowzebub3 years ago
 that's maruchan brand not top ramen.   Maruchan oriental = beef extract,  top ramen oriental = vegan.  Believe me.  I'm vegan and I've been hunting for top ramen brand for about a year because all the stores around me switched to all maruchan and the beef and chicken top ramen flavors for some reason. Luckily for me I was recently I was at a store out of town and they had it so I stocked up.
hooooooorrraaaaaay for meat!
SeaLion2 years ago
This actually works with any noodles, not just ramen. I've been using plain dried noodles and did almost the same thing as this all along before finding this...though I tend to poach the egg rather than do egg ribbons...
ClayOgre2 years ago
Back in my college days, I would add some refried beans to the ramen, making sort of a bean soup with noodles. You had to eat it fast, if it cooled off and sat, it got kinda gnarly.

Another thing I still like to do, is to add some peanut butter and some cayenne pepper, and then try to stir the PB in as much as possible, then add some veggies. You get this sort of psuedo Thai thing going on.
chef56 ClayOgre2 years ago
coppersnip3 years ago
I sometimes turn the noodles and vegetables down to a simmer (just at the low setting) and add the egg whole. I put the lid on and check it every few minutes. poached egg ramen yummy. the egg yolk still comes out runny but as long as it's heated through it's fine
DrBschdn5 years ago
If you look closely, Oriental-Flavor Maruchan Ramen (pictured in the instructable) contains beef extract. I always remembered it being vegetarian, though. Perhaps they changed the recipe recently.
Minke DrBschdn3 years ago

I used to get confused by that as well but I think that they have one that is Oriental Flavor and one that is called Oriental and one of those is vegan, the other is not.

They also had come out with a "healthier" version of Ramen called Choice Ramen and the chicken and beef ones were vegan but then after a while they changed the recipe so that they were not vegan anymore.

I does, however, not actually contain any Orientals, so that's a plus.
I am surprised, no one got this joke - funny
I overheard a little girl ask in a supermarket, "what's oriental flavor?" The preoccupied woman with her, didn't respond. I said, "it's made from orientals; they dry them and grind them up for flavoring." She then went back to the woman (her mom?) and asked, "what are orientals?" Apparently the woman hadn't paid any more attention to my reply than to the little girl's original question. She said, "Oriental is another word for Asian, like your friend Tiffany." I quickly left the area. True story.
or any flavors... without the seasoning! thats where all the saltt is
Robyntheslug (author)  DrBschdn5 years ago
yes the Maruchan is very un-veggie. The thai kitchen brand I show makes vegan rice ramen though!
What I do to get a vitamen or two in my ramen-put the water the package calls for in your pot. I peel and chop one carrot, add it, and dump in some fozen peas. (I guess you could just add frozen veggies, instead). Sometimes a drained can of mushrooms, whatever I have. THEN, turn the burner on, and follow the package directions. The veggies will be perfectly cooked.
Your version sounds tasty, true. But this is an easy and fast way to add a little something to your ramen to make it a smigeon healthier.
Shandikool4 years ago
what kind of vegetables?
ugh... what if you... don't have flavoring for the ramen? n.n
bruce866 years ago
You do realize the majority of the fat is in the noodles, probably even some MSG. Ever handle the noodles before? they are greasy.
Robyntheslug (author)  bruce866 years ago
There is no MSG in the noodles that I have, but there is a ton of fat! That's why you dump the water when you boil the noodles. When you boil them, a lot of the fat floats to the top of the soup and you can just pour it out before you add the seasoning and more water.
Whats so bad about MSG? As long as you don't grow a 11th toe from having a bit, its fine. There's actually a lot of it in tomatoes.
yes, there is MSG naturally in tomatoes, and indeed in the brain, but that is not precessed free glutamic acid- the MSG used in food, and the bad kind. Glutamate is the main neurotransmitter in the brain, and this particular ingredient is known as an "excitotoxin," because it swamps the brain with neurotransmitter and causes massive neuron death in the basil nuclei. no, the blood- brain barrier doesnt protect you from this, especially not when blood sugar is low (which is when you are hungry). MSG has been known to cause not only retinal damage, but also brain lesions, and has been connected with parkinson's and alzheimer's. that's what is bad about it.
Sylkhr pfef92094 years ago
It's true, we always check packages of food to see if it has MSG, if it has MSG, my mom won't buy it. What's also crazy is you can buy it as a spice at the grocery store. As said, it messes up your brain, and we all want to keep that, don't we?
Sylkhr Sylkhr4 years ago
what happened to my text, it's tiny!?
Too much can cause eye damage(At least in lab rats). Some people get sick from a slight amount. So if you're not one of those that get sick, and don't get too much, there really is nothing wrong with it.
I was exaggerating when I said "As long as you don't grow a 11th toe from having a bit", instead of "getting sick", but yeah. As long as you aren't eating a pound of it a week, its not bad.
Sandisk1duo4 years ago
try ramen noodles with butter, it's soo good!
Some people, particularly those who pine for the luxury of a gas stove, would feel reluctant to boil 4 cups of water to make 1 dose of ramen. I use maybe 1/2 cup of water, and see very little grease on top, during the boil. That is until I add a dollop of tasty butter, which I'm often wont to do. I usually only have recourse to ramen when I'm painfully hungry and in a hurry to chow down. In such a state, I find I crave fat and starch. I like the idea of adding goodies, though. I'm partial to peas, for their pea-ness.
haha he said pea-ness
Reminds me of that "pen is stuck" sign on that printer :P Quick someone find the link! lol
Sylkhr Azayles4 years ago
have you ever heard of "pen island"?
Well, what would you say?
But pea-ness is just so much more to the point, though.
grundisimo4 years ago
not to be rude or anything but i have tried this and it is disgusting (stupid stir fry). you are probably better off (even if it does have a kabillion calories) eating the ramen plain
I have an addon to this: The spice packet is all salt. So's vegetable boullion. Why not use either canned vegetable broth (less good) or make your own (better) and freeze portions of it? Recipe's simple. 4 cups of water, 3 carrots chopped coarse, 3 celery stalked chopped coarse, 1 white onion chopped coarse, 1/2 a red bell peppper (the jarred roasted kind are AWESOME) chopped coarse, 2 cloves of garlic chopped to quarters, and a few branches of fresh oregano, to taste. Bring them to a boil, then lower the heat to low and simmer, covered, for an hour. Strain the veggies, pressing them to remove the liquid, then either use or portion into 4 microwave safe containers and freeze for up to 6 months. The boil time takes a while, but the broth is good, multipurpose, and easy to do, not to mention incredibly healthy. Personally, though, I save myself the issue of the seasoning packets at all and toss mine, strained, in home made thai chili peanut sauce. Ramen lacks protein, the peanuts make it a bit fuller of a meal, especially with a bit of steamed broccoli added to the mix.
I am surprised no one asked you but could you say how you make your thai chili peanut sauce? Please. I had Ramen in Japan last year and have tried many times to duplicate it's spiciness.

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