11 Things You Can Do to Improve a 40-Cent Bag of Ramen

Just because it’s cheap, doesn’t mean it has to taste that way

Photo Sasabune Omakase Modified: Flickr/erin/CC 4.0

A quick stir-fry makes your regular ramen feel much fancier.

In the past few years, ramen has become a super trendy food. Restaurants specializing in ramen are popping up all over the country, and it’s now one of those foods that everyone craves. But we remember a time when ramen was, basically, a poor college student’s food. We look back fondly (but not really) on the times when we lived off pre-packaged, MSG-filled instant ramen. But the difference between then and now is we didn’t know all the potential that cheap ramen has.

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Instant ramen noodles, thankfully, are still very cheap. Generally you can buy one package for around 40 cents, which is perfect for living on a budget. What’s not perfect about cheap ramen is, well, it tastes just like that: cheap. And we all want to feel like we are eating well, don’t we? Luckily, we know of a few tricks that can upgrade the cheap instant ramen into a five-star meal.

First things first; get rid of that flavor packet. Trust us, you really don’t need it and your body will thank you for it anyway.

A lot of the recipes here call for draining the noodles anyway, but if you are making soup still, switch to low-sodium stocks and broths for a flavorful base. The second trick to upgrading cheap ramen is to think outside the box. Sure you could go traditional and mirror restaurant ramen, but there are so many more possibilities. Add something exciting and unexpected for a meal that will be inexpensive, but also satisfying. We’ve gathered up a few examples of how you can do just that.

Add Some Miso Paste

Truthfully, miso paste is pretty expensive. However, a little bit of miso goes a long way, so in the long run you get more bang for your buck. On top of that, miso has a buttery, savory flavor that you can’t really get anywhere else. For example, this miso ramen stir-fry would not taste nearly as good without a good dose of miso.

Roast Some Vegetables

Instant ramen on its own is anything but nutritious. In fact we’d say it’s pretty nutrient-poor. That’s why adding hearty vegetables is the logical next step. For example, this roasted vegetable ramen soup recipe uses some high-fiber, highly nutritious vegetables like broccoli and carrots to make for the perfect meal for one.

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