5 Cheap and Easy Top Ramen Recipes

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4 bowls of soup

When you are on a tight budget, Top Ramen and other instant noodle soups are a dinner godsend. They usually cost less than a bag of chips, take about 10 minutes to cook, and bring all the comfort of a hearty bowl of soup. The problem is they are jam packed with sodium, carbs and not much else, ensuring that you will be hungry in the short term, and terribly bored of them in the long term.

Here are five recipes comprised of cheap, readily available ingredients that will make your bowl of instant noodles a chic, hearty gourmet meal with hardly any additional cook time.

When you are on a tight budget, Top Ramen and other instant noodle soups are a dinner godsend. They usually cost less than a bag of chips, take about 10 minutes to cook, and bring all the comfort of a hearty bowl of soup. The problem is they are jam packed with sodium, carbs and not much else, ensuring that you will be hungry in the short term, and terribly bored of them in the long term.

Here are five recipes comprised of cheap, readily available ingredients that will make your bowl of instant noodles a chic, hearty gourmet meal with hardly any additional cook time.

1. Hearty Traditional Ramen

Hearty Traditional Ramen

If you really love the taste of instant ramen and don't need too much in the way of variety, then this recipe is for you. Incorporating vegetables counters the saltiness and adds a few nutrients to your dinner. And the egg provides an inexpensive and easy source of protein to keep you full.

If you really love the taste of instant ramen and don't need too much in the way of variety, then this recipe is for you. Incorporating vegetables counters the saltiness and adds a few nutrients to your dinner. And the egg provides an inexpensive and easy source of protein to keep you full.

How to Cook Stir-Fry Noodles

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Step 1

Bring water to a boil.

Step 2

While waiting for the water to boil, wash the bok choy and slice off the bottoms.

(Image: Mary Dacuma)

Step 3

Once the water is boiling, throw in the noodles and bok choy.

(Image: Mary Dacuma)

Step 4

Fry the egg to your desired level of doneness to use as a garnish on top of the soup.

Tip

Not a fan of fried egg? Simply wait for the last minute of cooking, then crack an egg into the soup and stir. You'll get an egg drop soup with thickening wisps of yolk throughout.

Step 5

When the noodles are done, stir in the seasoning packet and put the soup in a bowl. Lay the egg on top, and garnish with the sliced green onions.

(Image: Mary Dacuma)
2. Spicy Thai-Inspired Ramen
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Thai ramen noodles

I got this idea from fellow eHow Editor Elizabeth Biscevic, who puts peanut butter in her ramen for a creamy, filling Thai-inspired soup. As a spice lover, I added some heat and a little bit of lime for brightness. You can adjust the levels of both to your taste.

I got this idea from fellow eHow Editor Elizabeth Biscevic, who puts peanut butter in her ramen for a creamy, filling Thai-inspired soup. As a spice lover, I added some heat and a little bit of lime for brightness. You can adjust the levels of both to your taste.

How to Cook Stir-Fry Noodles

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Step 1

Boil noodles according to package directions.

(Image: Mary Dacuma)

Step 2

When the noodles are nearly done, stir in the peanut butter and seasoning packet.

(Image: Mary Dacuma)

Step 3

Put the soup into a bowl. Stir in a tablespoon of sambal oelek to taste, then more if you want additional heat. Squeeze the lime juice into the soup and top with the diced red bell pepper.

(Image: Mary Dacuma)
3. Cold Asian Noodle Salad
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Cold Asian Noodle Salad

If it's too hot for soup, this noodle salad is the way to go. It's full of crunchy vegetables for nutrients and texture. Moreover, it keeps in the fridge for 1-2 days so you can make a larger batch and save some for later.

If it's too hot for soup, this noodle salad is the way to go. It's full of crunchy vegetables for nutrients and texture. Moreover, it keeps in the fridge for 1-2 days so you can make a larger batch and save some for later.

How to Cook Stir-Fry Noodles

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Step 1

Boil noodles according to package directions, without adding the seasoning. Drain and set aside.

(Image: Mary Dacuma)

Step 2

In a separate bowl, combine the seasoning packet, sesame oil, rice vinegar, and ginger to make the dressing. Whisk with a fork until combined.

(Image: Mary Dacuma)

Step 3

Combine the noodles and sliced vegetables in a bowl. Pour the dressing over the top and stir until it's incorporated well into the salad. You can serve immediately or keep it covered in the refrigerator for up to two days.

(Image: Mary Dacuma)
4. Chicken Curry Ramen
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Chicken Curry Ramen

This recipe is a great way to use up leftover rotisserie or any other cooked chicken. This soup also calls for coconut milk, usually found in the baking section or Asian section of your grocery store. I wouldn't substitute anything else. Not only does it thicken the soup, but it also gives it a more authentic flavor. You can always use the leftovers to cream your coffee or top your desserts.

This recipe is a great way to use up leftover rotisserie or any other cooked chicken. This soup also calls for coconut milk, usually found in the baking section or Asian section of your grocery store. I wouldn't substitute anything else. Not only does it thicken the soup, but it also gives it a more authentic flavor. You can always use the leftovers to cream your coffee or top your desserts.

How to Cook Stir-Fry Noodles

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Step 1

Boil the noodles according to package directions. Then add curry powder, chopped ginger, and seasoning packet.

(Image: Mary Dacuma)

Step 2

Pour the coconut milk into the broth. Stir to combine.

(Image: Mary Dacuma)

Step 3

Pour the soup into a bowl. Add the chicken and serve.

(Image: Mary Dacuma)
5. Lemon-Herb Chicken Ramen
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Lemon-Herb Chicken Ramen

For a totally different twist on ramen, try this recipe inspired by the French poulet roti (roast chicken). You definitely want to use leftover roast chicken for this one. And if you can find it, use the Roast Chicken flavored instant noodles as well. This soup has a nice rustic, earthy savoriness, elevated by fresh thyme and bright lemon.

For a totally different twist on ramen, try this recipe inspired by the French poulet roti (roast chicken). You definitely want to use leftover roast chicken for this one. And if you can find it, use the Roast Chicken flavored instant noodles as well. This soup has a nice rustic, earthy savoriness, elevated by fresh thyme and bright lemon.

How to Cook Stir-Fry Noodles

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Step 1

Boil the ramen according to package directions and add the seasoning packet.

Step 2

While the ramen is cooking, shred the chicken with two forks or by hand.

(Image: Mary Dacuma)

Step 3

When the ramen is finished, pour it into a bowl. Stir in the chicken, shredded carrots and lemon juice. Pull the thyme leaves off the sprigs and into the bowl. Serve and enjoy.

(Image: Mary Dacuma)

Tip

Raw shredded carrots add a nice textural contrast to the tender noodles and chicken. If you prefer your carrots softer and sweeter, throw them into the boiling water just before adding the noodles.