12 Surprisingly Delicious Ways To Use Basic Ramen
Ramen is one of the most basic foods there is, and we mean that in the best possible way. It can run the gamut from the no-frills version that sustains college kids everywhere to the rich, layered umami bombs that have people lining up around the block at trendy restaurants all over the globe.
If you haven’t had the pleasure of slurping up a bowl of delicious ramen yet, you’re seriously missing out. It’s a traditionally Japanese dish, in which springy, wheat-based noodles are submerged in a meat-based broth with a whole host of possible additions including boiled egg, sliced meats, bean sprouts, seaweed, and scallions. Or, in its store-bought form, it’s a square of dried noodles that comes with an optional flavor packet that only requires the addition of water. Either way, there are devotees across the globe for these little noodles.
And just because ramen is traditionally known for its performance in soup, you shouldn’t count it out for playing a supporting role in a variety of other dishes. There may be countless delectable ways to use ramen, and we’ve rounded up twelve of the meals that can benefit most from its addition here.
2. Salad Garnish
As long as we’re thinking outside the box, why do the noodles necessarily need to be cooked? Two packages of crumbled up ramen are delicious atop this Crunchy Asian Ramen Noodle Salad with Napa cabbage, edamame, mango, and an Asian honey vinaigrette. (Image: Gimme Some Oven)
3. Shepherd’s Pie
We’re going to an entirely different continent for this one, so buckle up! A traditional British shepherd’s pie has ground beef, onion, and peas, and is topped by a layer of mashed potatoes browned by the oven, but you can replace those potatoes with ramen, which will provide a perfectly crisped-up topping to your Ramepherd’s Pie.
(Image: Serious Eats)
We don’t want to point fingers, but this may just be the item that marked the peak of the ramen craze. Chef Keizo Shimamoto premiered the Ramen Burger, a hamburger with Asian flavors and a ramen bun, at Smorgasburg, but lucky for you, it’s simple enough to make at home. (Image: Kelly Siew Cooks)
5. Mac and Cheese
Ramen’s a simple food, so let’s not overthink it; why not pair it with another college student staple — mac and cheese. This Spicy Ramen Noodle Mac and Cheese simply replaces the traditional elbow pasta with ramen noodles, then adds jack cheese and sriracha for an extra kick! (Image: The Spice Kit Recipes)
Don’t forget about breakfast! Fun fact: the frittata was originally created in Italy as a way to reuse leftover pasta, so it makes perfect sense to try it with another noodle, like this BLT Frittata with Ramen Noodles! (Image: Soup Addict)
7. Chicken Wings
If it sounds weird to you, just imagine the ramen as a substitute for a coarse grain like cornmeal, which we commonly use in the breading for fried food. The dried noodles provide a unique, surprisingly delicious crust for the moist meat inside these Ramen-Crusted Chicken Wings. (Image: Pop Sugar)
8. Snack Mix
The beauty of adding dried ramen noodles to a snack mix is that you can add whatever you want to make it your own, but we recommend this Crunchy Ramen Snack Mix with cayenne, wasabi peas, peanuts, and cornflakes. It’s eclectic, but it works! (Image: The Candid RD)
This is a great take on a traditional spaghetti and meatballs, and all it takes is a few tweaks, like adding soy sauce and Panko breadcrumbs to the meatballs (also try incorporating the ramen’s flavor packet, to bring things full circle!) and topping with a honey-soy Asian glaze instead of the traditional marinara for these Teriyaki Meatballs and Ramen. (Image: The Daily Meal)
10. Lettuce Wraps
When making these delicious Ramen Lettuce Wraps with chopped chicken, shredded carrot, ginger, and honey-soy sauce, you can decide whether to cook the noodles or leave them dried for added texture. (Images: 4 Little Fergusons)
11. Noodle Pancakes
These Asian Style Noodle Pancakes are almost a riff on latkes, with cooked ramen instead of shredded potato, bound together with egg, shredded zucchini and carrot, and finished with a rice vinegar dipping sauce. (Image: Aunt Peg’s Recipe Box)
12. Cold Salad
Sure, dried ramen makes a great garnish, as we mentioned before, but it’s also great in the salad itself, cooked and chilled like in this Broccoli Ramen Noodle Salad, where it brings together all the other elements, from the broccoli slaw to the green onions to the almonds. (Image: O Happy Day)
Could you ever have imagined that ramen would be so versatile? We bet you’ll think twice the next time you see a regular old ramen packet as your mind fills up with options on how to incorporate it into a new and exciting dish!
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