Indulge your ramen noodle cravings with this vegetarian ramen noodle soup with shiitakes and bok choy.
If you wanted to label me as a food snob, I suppose you wouldn’t be all that off. I will happily pay exorbitant amounts of money for heirloom beans or locally and sustainably caught fish. I turn up my nose at anything made with Hershey’s chocolate (tastes like chalk!) in favor of artisan, bean to bar chocolate (which I'll happily drive almost an hour out of my way for). And although there’s only three real foods I dislike (red apples, papaya and sea urchin), there’s a laundry list of processed foods I wouldn’t be caught dead eating - baked chips, non-premium ice cream, condensed soup, velveeta and chicken nuggets to name a few.
That said, there are plenty of junk foods I adore. My clients and long-time readers are familiar with my concept of worth it splurges - foods that may not contribute much nutritionally, but are worth the splurge because of the joy they bring to your life. While most of my worth it splurges are "gourmet", I have plenty of junk food not-guilty pleasures!
Like cheese puffs. I don’t care what they do to give it that crunch, and I don't want to know, because they make me happy. After a long, eventful weekend out of town, there’s nothing quite like a spicy chicken biscuit from Bojangles on the way home. And then there's ramen noodles, the 80 cent meal that got me through college. My favorite way to cook them was to drain out most of the water then mix in the spice packet to make it saucy rather than brothy. So good!
I haven’t had cheap ramen in years. Nowadays, there's so many delicious and much healthier alternatives. We've got a great little ramen shop that opened downtown. Then there's Lotus brand, which makes awesome ramen with whole grains like millet and black rice. It's my go-to whenever I'm sick with a cold. And of course, now I make my own every so often. But I won’t lie, if there's ever a zombie apocalypse, that’s what you’ll find me looting for (along with the peanut butter!).
The key to good ramen is making a delicious broth. I infused mine with the flavor of dried shiitake mushrooms, but feel free to use any type of dried mushroom you can find. You'll also want to be on the lookout for whole grain ramen noodles, which have a springier, chewier texture than regular spaghetti. I couldn't find them the last time I went to the store, so I tried this trick from Serious Eats and cooked whole grain spaghetti with baking soda. Weird, but it actually kinda worked!
For additional protein, feel free to add chicken, shrimp, tofu or edamame to this soup.
Vegetarian Ramen Soup with Shiitakes and Bok Choy
If you can't find whole grain ramen, try cooking whole grain spagehtti or angel hair in 4 quarts of water mixed with 4 tablespoons of baking soda. Weird, but works. Adapted from Serious Eats.
- 3 tablespoons avocado oil or expeller pressed canola oil
- 1 medium yellow onion, diced
- 1-inch piece of fresh ginger, peeled and minced
- 4 garlic cloves, minced
- 8-10 cups of water
- 2 ounces dried shiitake mushrooms
- 2 tablespoons soy sauce
- 1 tablespoon miso paste
- 12 ounces whole grain ramen or whole grain spaghetti
- 1 lb baby bok choy, stemmed and leaves separated
- 1/2 cup kimchi (optional) plus 4 tablespoons liquid
- 4 soft-boiled eggs, for serving
- Heat oil in a large pot on medium high heat. Add onion and saute until starting to brown, 5-7 minutes. Add ginger, garlic, water, and dried mushrooms. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, cover and simmer 30 minutes.
- While simmering, cook noodles in boiling water until al dente. Drain and set aside.
- When broth has simmered for 30 minutes, stir in soy sauce and miso. Season with salt to taste. Add boy choy, cover and simmer 5 minutes until crisp-tender. Stir in noodles, kimchi and liquid if using. Serve with soft boiled eggs.
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