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Ah, ramen noodles, the staple of every college kid's diet, and a quick, easy, and often boring meal in general. As someone who loves food, has studied culinary arts, and has worked in the food service industry for a while now, I generally try to cook nice meals for myself. But when life gets in the way, I'm on a time crunch, or I'm just feeling kind of lazy, I do like to whip up some ramen and think about how unhealthy I'm being.
I tend to justify my ramen eating habits by adding a lot of different ingredients to the noodles. This doesn't necessarily make it that much healthier, but it does add a lot more flavor to an otherwise salty mess. Plus, it’s just really fun to create new recipes and try out different combinations of foods that you might not think would pair well together. There are no doubt some pretty gross food choices out there, but I promise these ones will have you feeling like a chef in no time. Here are my three go-to ramen recipes!
*PSA: The first step to each of these recipes is to DITCH THE SEASONING PACKET. It's packed with sodium and other processed ingredients that make ramen so unhealthy. It's so much better to add real ingredients to give the meal its flavor!*
1. Chicken & Veggie Ramen
This is the recipe I use the most often since I generally have these ingredients in my house already. It's pretty basic, adding just enough texture and flavor to a plain bowl of ramen noodles. I add seasoned chicken breast (cooked on the stovetop and seasoned with herb blends), steamed vegetables like corn, carrots, peas and green beans, and red pepper flakes to finish. The red pepper really gives the whole dish a kick of flavor and heat without being overpowering.
2. Egg & Spinach Ramen
I make this occasionally when I want more of a heartier meal, but don’t have (or want) to add meat to whatever I’m eating. The egg on top of the noodles just feels heavier to me, but it's an awesome recipe no matter what mood you’re in. For this one, I either fry an egg or soft boil one, depending on my mood/time frame. Both are delicious paired with the noodles and some spinach, too! Sometimes, when I want a little more flavor I'll even add some hot sauce or buffalo sauce on top. It's super good.
3. Brunch Ramen
Okay, this one probably sounds kind of weird, but I swear it's good (to me at least). I decided to make this one day when I woke up late and couldn't decide if I wanted breakfast or lunch. I combined the two and was really pleasantly surprised! I ended up finding some hash browns, which I cooked on the stove and added to the noodles along with some bacon. You could also use diced potatoes in place of hash browns and add on even more ingredients like diced peppers, onions, spinach, etc. Think breakfast omelette without the egg! Actually, I also think a fried/poached/soft boiled egg would probably taste pretty great in this dish too, but I haven't tried that yet. This one definitely can't be very healthy for you, but it tastes awesome so who cares, right?
The fun thing about easy dishes like these is that you can feel like you’re making something super intricate or sophisticated just by adding a few more ingredients to a really basic meal. That’s what I love so much about food, you can experiment to your heart’s desire, adding or subtracting whatever you want to create a personalized dish that caters to your favorite flavor palettes. There are really no rules when it comes to being creative in the kitchen, so whip up some new meals and see what you can come up with- you might be surprised!