I practically lived on ramen noodles my freshman year in college – for 10 cents per bag, there is no better way to get a cheap meal. But after a short while, the same old soup staple can get incredibly repetitive and unappetizing. To balance the tantalizing price and so-so taste, here are some ways to disguise the basic dish.
1. Hearty Ramen Soup. a healthier, more fulfilling take on the original. Make the package of noodles as directed (with the flavor packet and all), and then add peas, chopped carrots, cubed chicken and sliced celery. Serve with bread or crackers and eat up!
2. Pasta, in half the time. Boil the noodles and drain excess water, and then pour marinara sauce over the dish. Add some parmesan and a little garlic, and you’ve got a mini-Italy meal in less than 5 minutes. Mix it up with other pasta sauces too: alfredo or pesto (my personal favorite).
3. Raw Ramen Salad. My aunt makes this dish and it’s always a hit at family gatherings! Add one package of crushed raw noodles to 4 cups of shredded lettuce, 1 or 2 shredded carrots, 4 sliced green onions and cut almonds. Mix them all together with balsamic or Asian-inspired salad dressing and sprinkle some sesame seeds on top.
4. Ramen Trail Mix. Crush a package of noodles and fry them in a pan with a bit of vegetable oil. Cook until they’re brown (be careful not to burn them!), put ‘em in a bowl, and then add pieces of dried cranberries, almonds, and anything else you want and you’ve got the perfect late-night snack!
5. Greek Ramen Salad. Mix together diced tomatoes, onions, red peppers, black and green olives, and feta cheese, and pour the assortment on top of boiled Ramen noodles. Add ½ cup canola oil and ½ cup citrus juice in a bowl with a little bit of salt and pepper to create a dressing, and pour atop the veggies and noodles to create a cool Greek-inspired salad.