I really love Ramen. And by that, I mean that I love the pre-packaged, delicious, but oh-so-bad-for-your-health kind that is a guilty pleasure for many people and a staple of living for broke college students. It’s quick, cheap, filling, and decently tasty on cold evenings, so try as I might, I couldn’t break the habit despite knowing bad it is for me. Once I began my new eating resolutions, however, I knew that I would have to walk away. Imagine my joy when, last week, I discovered a recipe that could fill the Ramen-shaped hole in my life! Of course, the original recipe isn’t vegan, and there were some things I wanted/had to change taste-wise, but it’s a really great base recipe and wonderfully versatile.
The first order of business was to get rid of the chicken broth – I brought out my trusty Swanson vegetable broth instead, and it worked wonderfully. Instead of using the processed Ramen noodles, I used organic Udon (hence the “semi-homemade”…I didn’t have time to make my own noodles!), which are ridiculously quick to cook and quite tasty. I also left out the mushrooms; no matter what I do, I can’t get myself to eat a fungus. The very concept grosses me out 😦 I don’t have time to grate ginger, so I usually get mine freshly grated at the market. This time, I unfortunately didn’t have fresh garlic, so at the stage of the process when you’re supposed to cook the grated ginger and garlic in the sesame oil, I put extra oil in the pan, put the heat on low, and added the garlic and ginger, letting the mixture darken and become fragrant.
When the oil and spice mixture was ready, I added the vegetable broth and some spices of my own: cracked black pepper, sea salt, and onion. Yum!
Instead of pre-cooking the Udon first, I added the noodles to the simmering broth, and stewed them in the broth, which was a good choice! The noodles picked up all the flavors of the broth quite nicely. As the noodles cooked, I added one drop of Sriracha to the broth. Yes, just one – adding any more than that with an already spicy soup would have made it unbearably hot 🙂 3 minutes before the soup was ready, I added the kale and carrot shreds so that they would be tender without becoming mushy.
The result was amazing! Hot, spicy, comforting, full of veggies, and lacking the processed taste of the dorm-room version 🙂 The recipe made enough for 3-4 meals, which means I know what I’m having for dinner (and maybe even lunch!) tomorrow 😉 I can’t sing the praises of this meal enough. I am never going back to pre-packaged Ramen.
Oh, and what better way to finish off a good hot meal than with a good cold dessert? I broke out a serving of my favorite vegan gelato, and my day was officially twice as awesome 😀
I’ll be back on Thursday with another post 🙂 Enjoy!