Ramen tastes excellent, and it’s a wonderful meal when prepared correctly. Unfortunately, people too often eat ramen on its own out of the package. It’s fine, but plain ramen isn’t the healthiest food, and it’s usually not substantial enough for an entire meal.
Adding vegetables to ramen is a healthy way to make the meal heartier and keep you feeling fuller. The combination of cooked vegetables and flavorful ramen noodles is something people across the world enjoy. In Japan, people have been eating ramen with vegetables for centuries.
Some veggies are better suited for a hot bowl of ramen than others. Ideally, the vegetables will soak in the rich broth to enhance the flavor of the entire dish. As a result, eating vegetables becomes more fun, and you add variety to what could otherwise be a simple meal.
Here are eleven delicious vegetables you can add to ramen to elevate your ramen-eating experience!
Cabbage isn’t something a lot of Americans eat, but it goes very well with a steaming bowl of ramen. In fact, cabbage is a mainstay in many Asian noodle dishes because it adds some needed crunch and fiber to the ramen.
It’s also a great choice because it’s cheap! You can pick up cabbage at your local grocery store for a fraction of the cost of other vegetables. It’s good for you and low in calories.
Dice up the cabbage as you wait for your water to boil. How long you cook the cabbage depends on how crunchy you like it. If you want it crisp, add it to the broth once the noodles are almost done cooking. Then, give it a minute or so in the pot before serving it.
The cabbage will get softer as you eat your noodles, so you’ll get a good range of textures in the dish.
Broccoli is another great vegetable that you can add to ramen. It’s very healthy and full of nutrients. You can chop up some broccoli florets and add them to your ramen as it cooks on the stove or even in the microwave.
The heads of your broccoli florets are terrific at soaking up broth, so each bite of the vegetable is full of flavor. For parents, combining broccoli and ramen is a great way to get your kids to eat more veggies.
Cauliflower is similar to broccoli, only with a slightly different flavor profile. Some people prefer the mild taste of cauliflower over broccoli. The cooking and preparation are identical, but cauliflower can be a bit messier.
This isn’t the best choice for people who want colorful vegetables in their ramen, so chop up some fresh green onions to sprinkle on your noodles before serving.
There’s something so comforting about combining carrots with broth or soups of whatever kind. They go great in ramen too, but you’ll need to cook the carrots a bit longer to get them softer.
Don’t cook them too long, or they’ll lose all of their rich taste. You want to boil them long enough so the edges are soft but the inside remains crunchy.
5. Bean Sprouts
Not everyone loves bean sprouts, but if you do, they’re fantastic in a bowl of hot ramen. You can almost turn your ramen into a restaurant-quality dish. You’ll feel like your noodles are straight from a Japanese noodle house.
If you’ve ever eaten pho or Japanese ramen, you know bean sprouts are common in noodle dishes. They give a great crunch and don’t overwhelm the flavor of dishes.
Spinach is a healthy vegetable to add to ramen and cooks in seconds! You won’t add much time to your cooking time because it wilts and folds beautifully into the dish once it touches the hot soup.
In addition, spinach is great for you and packs a ton of iron and other nutrients. It doesn’t have that strong a flavor but adds complexity to the noodles and broth.
7. Snap Peas
Snap peas are a good option if you want something green with some crunch. All you need to do is drop in some fresh snap peas once your ramen is done cooking.
You never want to add them in too early, or they become soggy, making the fibers harder to bite through. Snap peas add a pop of color to ramen, which makes the dish more fun and healthier to eat.
8. Bok Choy
Bok Choy is another Asian vegetable that’s becoming more popular in the United States as people discover how delicious and healthy it is.
It’s a delectable veggie because it’s crunchy and full of water on the stem, but the tips of the vegetable are rich green with nutrients like spinach. You get the best of both worlds with bok choy.
You don’t need to cook bok choy that long because you’ll want some healthy crunch when you pick up a piece of your ramen. Also, the vegetable pairs well with the soggier noodles, so only add them to the ramen when it’s almost finished cooking.
9. Enoki Mushrooms
Not every grocery store will carry enoki mushrooms, so you might have to take a trip to an Asian market in your area.
Enoki mushrooms are lovely vegetables to add to ramen because they’re delicate with a mild flavor. Even people who don’t typically like mushrooms enjoy eating enoki mushrooms.
Enoki mushrooms are thin and come clumped together. However, you can drop a bunch of the mushrooms into the hot soup, and eventually, they’ll start to come apart into manageable bites.
10. Chili Peppers
Looking for a little bit of spice in your next bowl of ramen? Try adding some fresh chili peppers to your broth to make it spicier.
You can either slice Thai chili peppers or crush them with a mortar and pestle. Smashing the seeds inside brings out the heat more than chopping them, so eater, beware! Instead, try adding one chili at a time to get to your preferred heat level.
Not everyone loves onions, but people who enjoy eating them go crazy over having them in ramen.
Onions are versatile because they can either be crunchy or soft in a soup. Onions add and deepen the flavor profile of any broth they are in, so it kicks your ramen game up a notch.
Slice the onions thinly into long strips. Drop them in the soup and cook them as long or as quickly as you like before eating.
Some people cook instant noodles in the microwave, which makes adding vegetables more complicated. If you want the best results, you should cook your ramen on the stove using a pot that has a cover so that your veggies cook according to your desired texture.
If you want to cook the vegetables in the microwave, make sure they’re submerged in the broth to help them cook. Microwaving dry vegetables can ruin them, and sometimes they have a weird texture when they come out.
Overall, veggies are the perfect addition to any bowl of ramen. Add some of your favorite vegetables to your next pack of instant noodles. You can also try adding those veggies you don’t usually eat to find new combinations you love!