While breakfast burritos take the title of my current favorite thing to cook, vegetable ramen comes in a close second! Ramen is as flexible as it is delicious. You can adapt it to fit your preferences—add your favorite veggies, protein of choice (tofu, egg, meat), and as much broth as you like (I like my ramen as more of a soup!) My recipe below is both kid- and adult-approved! Don't be scared away by the number of ingredients or steps—it is super easy and so worth it!
by McKenzie Ziegler, RDN, CDN, LDN
2 tablespoons sesame oil (can substitute any other oil)
2 tablespoons fresh ginger (about a 2-inch piece; can substitute ½ tsp ground ginger)
8 cloves garlic (can substitute 1 tsp garlic powder)
6 tablespoons soy sauce (low sodium preferred)
¼ cup rice wine vinegar
8 cups vegetable stock (can substitute chicken or beef stock)
1 cup fresh shiitake mushrooms (can substitute button or baby bella mushrooms)
4 eggs (can substitute 1 package extra firm tofu)
2 cup baby spinach
Optional additional veggies: 1 cup bok choy, 1 bell pepper, 1 cup fresh broccoli, 1 cup fresh snow peas, 1 small zucchini
4 (3 oz) packs dried ramen noodles (e.g., Maruchan 3 oz packs; flavor packet removed)
hot sauce, to taste (optional)
1 cup green onions/scallions
2 cup carrots, shredded
1/4 cup sesame seeds, chopped peanuts, or chopped cashews (optional, for topping)
Prep ingredients: grate the ginger, mince the garlic, slice the mushrooms, slice green onions/scallions, and cut carrots into ribbon using box grater or vegetable peeler. If using any additional veggies, slice bell pepper into strips, cut broccoli and zucchini into bite-sized pieces.
Heat the sesame oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add the garlic and ginger (and bell pepper, zucchini, or broccoli, if using) and cook for a couple minutes until soft and fragrant. Stir in the soy sauce and rice wine vinegar and cook for another minute. Add the stock and bring to a simmer. Simmer for 5 minutes.
Add the mushrooms and simmer for another 10 minutes. (Add snow peas, if using.)
Meanwhile, bring a small pot of water to a boil. Add the eggs and cook for exactly 7 minutes for a slightly runny yolk, or 8 minutes for a soft yolk. Remove eggs from the pot using tongs or slotted spoon, and place in a bowl of ice water to stop the cooking process. After a few minutes, peel the shells off carefully and slice the eggs in half, lengthwise. Set aside.
If substituting tofu, transfer tofu to cutting board and press as much water out as you can with paper towels. Slice into 4 equal pieces, then each of those into 3 equal slices. Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat and add a drizzle of oil. Place tofu pieces in a single layer and cook until browned on both sides, a few minutes per side. Transfer to a plate and set aside.
Add ramen noodles to stock mixture and cook 2-3 minutes or according to package instructions. During the final minute, add the spinach (and bok choy, if using) and cook until just wilted. Add some hot sauce, to taste (optional).
Divide the noodles and broth into 4 large bowls.
Top with an egg/tofu pieces, carrots and green onions. Sprinkle with sesame seeds, peanuts, or cashews (optional) and serve immediately.