5 Delicious Ways to Upgrade Your Next Bowl of Ramen (Yes, Even If It's Instant)

Go ahead, jazz up your dehydrated noodles.

There are lots of reasons you might be eating ramen tonight. Maybe the food budget's tight this week. Maybe you didn't have time to stop at the supermarket, so you're making do with what's in your pantry. Maybe you're in college, so…that's just what you eat. Whatever the reason you're breaking out the ramen, here are five easy tips that will kick your next bowl of homemade noodles up a notch.

Make miso broth.

Flavor packet? Fine. But miso paste is perfection. Next time you make ramen, skip the sodium-filled spice packet and use a spoonful of miso paste to flavor your broth instead. Miso will add a heavy hit of (salty, savory, seriously addictive) umami flavor to your ramen, plus it's a natural source of gut-healthy probiotics. Look for miso paste at Japanese grocery stores, Whole Foods, Trader Joe's, and most mainstream supermarkets.

Stir fry the noodles.

Once your noodles have finished cooking, toss them into a wok or oiled pan and sauté them for a few minutes—add your veggies and protein too—before returning them to the broth. This method is so simple–yet so effective in transforming your meal.

Add extra sauce—and spice.

If you're a condiment hoarder, now is your time to shine. A swirl of soy sauce, sesame oil, sriracha, and/or lime juice will all work wonders. For even more spice, add chili flakes. You can also add peanut butter (don't knock it until you've tried it), fish sauce, ponzu, harissa, bacon fat, or any type of curry. If you're adding something salty like soy sauce, consider cutting back on the spice packet to avoid over-seasoning your dish.

Put an egg on it.

You really can't go wrong here. Drop a hard- or soft-boiled egg into the broth, stir in scrambled eggs, or top your noodle bowl with a fried egg. If you plan ahead, you can cook your eggs in the same pot as your ramen. For hard-boiled, place raw eggs in a pot with cold water, bring them to a boil, then add your noodles. The eggs should be cooked perfectly by the time your noodles have softened (fish them out sooner for soft-boiled). You can also poach eggs in your ramen as it cooks, or beat an egg in a separate bowl before swirling it into the broth for egg drop ramen soup.

Pack it with protein and veggies.

The easiest way to make ramen more filling and nutritious is to add extra vegetables to the broth. Baby spinach, snap peas, shitake mushrooms, sautéed shallots, a handful of cabbage, your leftover frozen peas and carrots—it's all fair game. Same goes for lean protein: Shredded pork or chicken, ground turkey, and stir-fried tofu are all great options.

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