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Healthier Ramen Noodle Soup

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There weren't a lot of convenience foods like boxed muffin and pancake mix, cup of soup and frozen waffles in our house when I was growing up, but one item I absolutely loved whenever my mom made it for us was instant ramen noodles. She would boil water, toss in the brittle brick of tightly wound noodles, then dump in the contents of that naughty little seasoning pack, which contained among other not-so-good things, the notorious flavor enhancer, MSG. Popular in the 60's and 70's, we know now that MSG is something you and your kids should probably avoid consuming.

This recipe takes the idea of ramen noodle soup to a whole new level. You still get the delicious salty flavor that you're used to from the MSG in the instant variety, but I use nutritious miso to give it that incredible and irresistible umami flavor. Don't forget your seasoning -- a shake of garlic and onion powder adds a ton of added flavor to this dish — and don't be shy about the other ingredients you can add to this soup. Make it your own. I usually lay out a bunch of options, let everyone tell me which ones they want and personalize each person's bowl. I discovered just how much my kids crave seaweed and shiitake mushrooms when I started putting them in my soup and then watched as they shamelessly begged for bite after bite from my bowl.

That's OK. I know that when my kids are making this ramen noodle soup disappear it's filled only with the things they should be eating!

Watch the video for more help with making this recipe!

Healthier Ramen Noodle Soup  (Serves 4)

  • Prep Time: 5 mins,
  • Cook Time: 3 mins,
  • Rating:
    Rate this recipe
There weren't a lot of convenience foods like boxed muffin and pancake mix, cup of soup and frozen waffles in our house when I was growing up, but one item I absolutely loved whenever my mom made it for us was instant ramen noodles. She would boil...

Ingredients

  • 1 32 oz box of chicken stock
  • 1 cup water
  • 2 tablespoons white or yellow miso
  • 2 (3-ounce) packages packaged ramen noodles
  • 4 shiitake mushrooms, sliced thin
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons mirin
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1/4 cup scallions, green & white, sliced

Preparation

  1. 1. In a large saucepan add the chicken stock, water, miso and bring to a boil.
  2. 2. Add the remaining ingredients* and cook for 3 minutes or until the ramen noodles are soft.
  3. 3. Add the scallions and serve.

Accompaniments: Optional additional Ingredients: fresh spinach, nori, wakame, hijiki, arame, chicken, shrimp, cubed tofu

Healthier Ramen Noodle Soup

Nutrition Information

Related Recipes

Comments






  1. Brian

    June 5, 2014 at 4:37 pm

    Thanks for the quick and easy Ramen recipe. I’ll have to try it sometime soon.

    Though your comment regarding MSG is a bit misleading. Please see the cited sources of this wikipedia article regarding this amino acid.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Monosodium_glutamate#Safety

  2. Diana

    March 27, 2014 at 9:25 am

    Great info! Thanks

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  4. Jenny

    December 1, 2013 at 6:53 pm

    Cut the calories and fat by cooking the ramen noodles in a separate pot until they are almost cooked through. Throw out used noodle water. Then place cooked noodles into the miso soup.

    • Mert

      February 4, 2014 at 6:14 pm

      Sorry for the delay in replying. We dtlenieify know what needs to be done from an engineering perspective, and I agree it’s not a difficult implementation. However, the check-in messages that are posted on Twitter and Facebook from Miso are seen by literally MILLIONS of people across these social networks (!!), which is awesome, but changing the copy is not something we take lightly. We know there is work to be done here and we are taking a very strategic approach to make sure that we make the right decisions for all our users. Thanks again for the input and please continue to leave feedback.

  5. Megan

    November 17, 2013 at 4:22 pm

    Yeah, I bought the two packs of ramen and think it’d be helpful if you put other options for noodles in the indgredients list. The ingredients for the noodles don’t sound good.

    • Megan

      November 17, 2013 at 4:23 pm

      to be clear, I mean the ingredients written on the package of ramen noodles, for the noodles (not just the spice pack, and not the ingredients you listed for the recipe) sounds bad.

  6. Aya

    November 5, 2013 at 3:03 pm

    Mirin is also labeled rice wine vinegar at most supermarkets, I have also found rice noodles at Trader Joe’s in the fridge section, great option and was GF. I halved this and used half a pack of rice noodles. Other half is for Pad Thai, baby!

  7. Emily

    September 22, 2013 at 9:54 pm

    Just to piggyback on others’ comments about finding the ingredients–I couldn’t find either Miso or Mirin at any of my local grocery stores. Finally went to the nearest Asian market and found both, although I had to ask. It was also a fun experience–my son was fascinated by the live fish, crabs, and frogs! (and so was I, a little…)

  8. Isabella

    March 4, 2013 at 2:43 pm

    I am currently looking around for spice recipes to replace a ramen seasoning packet and that is how I came across your page. Yours is not the first recipe suggesting the use of chicken stock…the problem is, this too contains MSG.

    • JB

      March 7, 2014 at 3:41 pm

      You may have to look around a bit, but I’ve been able to find MSG-Free Chicken Stock and use it.

    • David

      June 14, 2013 at 4:19 pm

      You can get MSG-free chicken stock.

  9. Emily

    November 3, 2012 at 5:45 pm

    This is the second recipe I have tried from your site, and it is delicious! I love the versatility that this recipe has. I have never cooked with miso but will be making variations of this soup to use it up. The soup was pretty salty, but maybe I can dilute it or use a little less miso next time? I appreciate all the comments about finding healthy noodles, as well as suggestions for what to put in the soup. Beyond the ingredient list, I added a little bit of seaweed and small cubes of firm tofu, plus a few drops of siracha. Next time I will try to add more greens or other veggies. Thanks for a great cooking resource!

  10. Karlaekz

    September 28, 2012 at 11:24 am

    This* aghh hate swype on my phone anyways everyone should make this!

  11. Karlaekz

    September 28, 2012 at 11:23 am

    Made thus with pho noodles instead and garlic cloves instead it was so yummy!

  12. Katie at Mom's Kitchen Handbook

    August 29, 2012 at 8:23 am

    Love this recipe…I’m going to try your broth with my kids who are nuts for ramen. Conventional brands are a no go, but I find if I buy the organic brands, it’s a guarantee that they are free of MSG and other mystery ingredients, and are usually air-dried instead of deep fried.

  13. Barbara

    August 26, 2012 at 9:02 pm

    I just tried this recipe and it is wonderful! I used 2 T of Minute Miso. I didn’t have mushrooms or scallions, but used a leftover leek, some bits of carrot and daikon radish, and shavings of dried beef. My husband and I both loved the flavor, and felt good knowing how much healthier it was than using the packet that came with the ramen. I’m looking forward to trying different variations. Thank you Catherine!

  14. bmaryry79

    August 23, 2012 at 9:29 pm

    I am so excited to try this recipe. I’ve been craving Ramen Noodles, but knowing there is MSG in them I’ve had to forgo them. Now I can make my own.

  15. Marie

    June 26, 2012 at 11:46 pm

    I’ve been to four Asian stores in our area and only two of them carried miso. However, all the miso I’ve seen so far have listed alcohol as one of the ingredients. Would love to try this recipe but worried about the alcohol content. It should be minimal since it was listed as the last ingredient. Do all miso have alcohol in them?

    • catherine

      June 27, 2012 at 12:11 pm

      Miso is fermented soybeans so there are trace amounts of alcohol as a result of the fermenting process. Some brands add a little alcohol to enhance the flavor, and there are some brands that do not list alcohol as an ingredient. The alcohol is a very small amount and cooks out when you cook with miso.

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  18. Suzanne

    May 8, 2012 at 5:53 am

    Just made this using a pint of leftover MSG free egg drop soup combined with homemade chicken stock and the organic brown rice ramen from Whole Foods. Excellent! Thank you!

  19. Monica

    April 12, 2012 at 6:05 pm

    As a recovering Top Ramen addict, and pregnant mom to be, any healthy change to my beloved noodles is welcome. I had never even considered making my own, so thank you for this great idea/recipe.

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  21. rachel

    March 11, 2012 at 1:46 pm

    i made this today with soba noodles and it was a hit! thanks!

  22. Kristin

    February 16, 2012 at 10:28 am

    I had a really Hard time finding the miso paste here in Louisville. Finally went to the Asian market and got it. My kids all love this meal. I looked at the label for the miso paste and found out it has MSG! Yikes. Is there a brand that makes miso paste without MSG?

  23. michelle

    February 9, 2012 at 11:39 pm

    A friend of mine just sent me this link which shows what happens inside your intestinal tract when you eat packaged ramen noodles. Just a teaser in my opinion. I wish they had more info. Enjoy.
    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/02/09/ramen-digestion_n_1263825.html?icid=maing-grid7|maing8|dl14|sec1_lnk3%26pLid%3D134120

  24. MamaJ

    February 7, 2012 at 3:16 pm

    Oh, and a tblsp of chili sauce (sirracha). Omg! Yum

  25. MamaJ

    February 7, 2012 at 3:14 pm

    Sadly, most of your recipes still don’t make it into my toddler but mommy and daddy LOVE them! I doubled the stock and seasoning and made this w a bag of chopped up Asian “slaw” mix and a bag of baby spinach, a little shredded rotisserie chicken and fresh lo mein noodles. Such a versitille idea!! Thank you!

  26. Kim

    February 3, 2012 at 10:18 pm

    Made this last night and we all loved it-even my super picky boys! We always scramble an egg into our ramen so did the same. Delish! Would love a way to cut the sodium still as I found it too salty for my taste. Thanks for your amazing meal ideas. LOVE your recipes!!

  27. Jadah

    February 2, 2012 at 8:12 pm

    We cooked ours with brown rice spaghetti noodles. Pre-packaged top ramen is definitely not healthy. I was addicted to that stuff from childhood through college. :-)

  28. Mary

    February 2, 2012 at 7:56 pm

    Ok find the stuff and made it and then looked at the miso and it is 720mg of sodium per Tbl! Did I get the wrong stuff? I know this is healthier version and I am not being critical just wondering if I bought wrong stuff? It was like a paste? Boys love it though!

    • catherine

      February 2, 2012 at 8:45 pm

      Yes, miso is high in sodium, but a little goes a long way and it is a great source of Manganese, Vitamin K, Vitamin B-12, and Protein!

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  30. Aline

    February 1, 2012 at 8:06 pm

    I must confess I love Instant Ramen and this was almost as easy to prepare and so rich and delicious and comforting… Children were asleep, while hub and I devour it. I can’t wait to prepare for them as well. I used vegetable stock that I had at home and real onion and garlic (just browned a little in olive oil) since I did not had the powdered ones. It worked great. Thanks!

  31. Yvette

    February 1, 2012 at 12:22 pm

    Made this for dinner and the whole family loved it. My 10 month old ate it up and my hubby loved it too. My super picky 4 yr old didnt eat it but he’ll eat the soup with rice. Thank you for this healthier version of one of my faves! (Just added a tad more soy sauce and onion powder) I used organic udon noodles and diffferent veggies in it. Love this because I know the soup is so versatile- my son will especially like this w/ tofu and rice.

  32. Mary

    February 1, 2012 at 8:30 am

    I am so glad to find this. And so funny you just posted. We recently began giving my boys Ramen Noodles and they want them now for lunch. I was not happy knowing all the sodium and fat. I will make a batch of this and try.

    Question: Where do I find Mirin?

    • catherine

      February 1, 2012 at 12:59 pm

      Mirin is sweet rice wine and can be found in the Asian foods aisle of your local grocery!

  33. Melissa Herrmann@ Kids in the Sink

    January 31, 2012 at 9:10 am

    What a great idea! And I’m sure my homemade vegetable broth would work wonderfully in this! Mushrooms sounds like such an interesting flavor combo with this.

  34. Amy Wong

    January 31, 2012 at 12:22 am

    Hi all! Def lots of “instant” noodles out there in any Asian market to choose from. Fresh or pre-packaged, just read ingredient list & pick. It’s one of my default quick meals which my kids & I love. I add tofu, greens of any type that is available in fridge, radish, sliced boiled eggs, basically whatever is available. Delicious everytime.

  35. hans lienesch

    January 30, 2012 at 11:03 pm

    I run a blog (www.ramenrater.com) where I review instant noodles every day. I’m up to 650+ unique varieties. As far as healthy additions, try cheese and broccoli – makes the broth creamy and adds vitamins and protein!

  36. Gogo18

    January 30, 2012 at 9:22 pm

    Hi Catherine. I’m a vegetarian,would it be okay to sub vegetable broth or will I lose the flavor? Thanks for the great recipes!

    • catherine

      January 31, 2012 at 1:32 pm

      It will be a different flavor, but it will still work!

  37. AlisonInSydney

    January 30, 2012 at 5:21 pm

    I agree, everything in baby steps. For a family who’s using prepackaged soups, small steps count toward big changes. For folks worried about the ingredients in this recipe, make the chicken stock yourself and freeze it. It’s super easy to boil a chicken with some herbs until it’s cooked through, save the stock use the cooked chicken pieces in another dish. You’ll have zero sodium that way. Substitute unhealthy noodles for a healthier version — check out your local Asian grocer – they will definitely have whatever kind of noodle floats your boat. Add more green ingredients as people embrace the new dish. Many years ago, that family would have been ours, and now we never use premade stock, fried noodles, or flavor packets.

  38. Brandy Roberts

    January 30, 2012 at 3:34 pm

    I’m def going to try this with Angel Hair RICE noodles! I had no idea that Ramen was so bad! (Deep Fried??) I don’t eat Ramen in my house, but I did as a kid, and do still crave it from time to time…This sounds delicious! Thanks!

  39. Mina Bellia

    January 30, 2012 at 3:27 pm

    You are amazing, and thank you for sharing all your wonderful recipes Catherine! I think it’s just silly how people nit pick and freak out over an ingredient or two. C’mon people….if you don’t like something, substitute or leave it out, geez…

    • Jenny

      January 30, 2012 at 6:08 pm

      Totally agree. It is really generous that Catherine develops and tests these recipes and then choses to provide them for free on her website. I have found lots of good ideas on this site.

  40. Joy

    January 30, 2012 at 2:23 pm

    ps. I do love the idea of setting out all the toppings and letting everyone make it their own way!

  41. Joy

    January 30, 2012 at 2:22 pm

    Unfortunately, I’m going to have to agree with Alissa on this one. I’m shocked to see ramen noodles on your “healthy” list. It’s not just the sodium count or the other junk that’s in the flavor packet that is bad for you. The noodles themselves are deep fried fat, flour, and sugar. I agree that this recipe makes them healthier, but definitely still not healthy. I was thinking you were going to have switched out the regular ramen noodles with something like angel hair pasta. The recipe sounds good, but I’m definitely going to try it with regular pasta instead of deep fried ramen noodles.

    • Jenn

      January 30, 2012 at 4:02 pm

      I’m not so sure the recipe implies you use the same packaged ramen & just toss the seasoning packets (though that in itself is a much healthier option), but that you buy (or make, if you really want to be healthy) the noodles. I buy fresh, refrigerated ramen noodles from an Asian grocer near me, and the ingredients are: wheat flour, liquid whole egg, potassium carbonate, water, cornstarch & salt. They are also most definitely not fried in anyway. I haven’t eaten packaged ramen in years, but often eat authentic Japanese ramen and have never seen them deep fried….or maybe you’re specifically referring only to the packaged ones? Either way, homemade ramen is usually a long, laborious process, so I appreciate a quick & easy way when I need a fix!

    • catherine

      January 30, 2012 at 3:36 pm

      Just for you, Joy and Alissa I changed the name to “Healthier” Ramen Noodles. Everything in baby steps. For people giving their kids ramen noodle packs several days a week, I wanted to offer a variation getting away from the MSG packs. There are several brands of noodles of Ramen noodles on the market like Kame that don’t deep fry their noodles and you can absolutely use angel hair pasta!

      • Alissa

        January 30, 2012 at 8:10 pm

        Catherine, thanks so much your reply and the change! I totally appreciate that for many people, finding an easy way to skip the flavor packet is an improvement, but for me trans fats are even more of a no-no than msg and sodium! That being said, I haven’t bought ramen noodles since college and am not up to date on the different varieties, so hopefully people are finding the ones that are not fried in trans fats :) Thanks again for all of your recipes, I use your site all the time and feel bad that one of my first comments was a negative one!

        • Meredith Stevens

          January 30, 2012 at 8:28 pm

          You could also use Rice noodles or Udon noodles if you could not find anything other than the packaged ramen. You could even use tofu and eat it as a straight soup without the noodles.

  42. Dana

    January 30, 2012 at 2:21 pm

    LOVE THIS! We just bought Ramen at the store and would love a healthier version. Can I find miso in the asian section of the grocery store? Do you know if they sell it at Trader Joe’s? Thanks!!!

    • catherine

      January 30, 2012 at 3:28 pm

      You can find miso at grocery stores in the refrigerator section and in health food stores in the asian section as well. Sadly, they don’t carry it Trader Joes, though.

      • Pauline

        January 31, 2012 at 11:18 am

        Was just at TJ’s this morning and they have miso in the soup aisle. Looks like it’s dried and in packets.

  43. Jules

    January 30, 2012 at 2:17 pm

    I just made this for my 2 year old and he slurped it right up. I reduced the amount of miso and also used low sodium chix brother. I added peas and corn, 2 of his fav veggies. Thanks for posting!

  44. Alissa

    January 30, 2012 at 1:41 pm

    Hi Catherine, have you read the ingredient list for just the noodles? I am generally a huge fan of your recipes and your use of real ingredients, and am therefore surprised that you would promote a recipe as “healthy” and only containing ingredients that are good for your kids when packaged ramen noodles are made with trans fats and other additives. Here is a streamlined list: Enriched Flour, Partially Hydrogenated Vegetable Oil, Salt, Sodium Tripolyphosphate, Potassium Carbonate, Sodium Carbonate, Sodium Alginate, Tocopherols. I hope you’ll reconsider this post as it stands out as being inconsistent with the rest of the great recipes on your site, and I’m afraid you’re encouraging parents to feed their kids a highly processed ingredient that should be used extremely infrequently, if at all!

    • diane

      February 3, 2012 at 3:18 pm

      I’ve heard that the ramen noodles (in the packaged soup) are fried. Are these the same noodles your using? If not, where in the store do you find them?

      • catherine

        February 3, 2012 at 3:57 pm

        Some brands are deep fried, so I try to find brands, like Kame, that are not. Your local grocery may carry the non-fried kind, but I sometimes go to the Asian grocery to find them!

    • Scott

      January 30, 2012 at 4:28 pm

      What about the excess sodium in the chicken stock and soy sauce? Should probably specify that low sodium or no sodium versions of those would make this healthier. Also some suggestions to liven it up a bit and get some more balanced nutrition in their tummies, add some kale or edamame. You said you make it custom for who is there, which is great, but many readers might appreciate the extra suggestions.

  45. Jennifer @ Kiddie Blanket

    January 30, 2012 at 12:43 pm

    I’m going to try this! I haven’t used the seasoning pack in quite a while. I’ve been using soy sauce and sesame oil instead. Love the addition of Miso! I can imagine this brings it to a whole new level!

  46. Jadah

    January 30, 2012 at 12:18 pm

    You are awesome! I just emailed my friend for a ramen recipe because I was craving it. “Healthy” ramen- I’m sold! Love your site. Brown rice pudding is a hit in our family.

  47. LauraV16

    January 30, 2012 at 10:37 am

    Cut up baby bok choy is also a great addition. Looking forward to trying this even though I am not a fan of miso.

  48. tracy

    January 30, 2012 at 9:12 am

    I made this last night and it was a hit with my littles.

  49. Sarah Jackson

    January 30, 2012 at 8:30 am

    I am so excited to make this!! I’m 9 months pregnant and craving Asian food big time, but live in Germany with not a lot of options. Hopefully my toddler will love it too! Thank you so much for another healthy recipe!

  50. lj

    January 30, 2012 at 8:21 am

    they sell large quantities of the noodles in wholefoods instead of buying the ramen… i usually use a tbspn of braggs and my son LOVES them but this is much better! going to try!