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Instant Noodles 2.0: Simple Ways To Up Your Ramen Game

There’s no point wasting our time denying the truth: ramen is a staple in college. First of all, they’re noodles – who doesn’t like noodles?! Second, they can be ready in minutes, saving precious moments that could otherwise be spent sleeping or procrastinating. Finally, they’re cheap. As a college student, this is crucial as we generally don’t have the income to buy the highest quality, nutritious food for every meal. Hence, instant ramen.

Personally, I’m partial to Maggi, an Indian version of instant noodles with a flavor packet containing turmeric, chili powder, and other South Asian essentials. We all know this isn’t the most nutritious meal, but what can you do when you’re out of time and on a budget? I am definitely guilty of taking a night off from preparing ‘real’ food for instant noodles, so here are a few ways I genuinely try to pack more nutrients into your ramen so you don’t feel like a potato for the rest of the day.

#1: Pico de gallo / chopped vegetables

We’ve all heard the hacks about putting some vegetables in your ramen, but that can feel like a lot of work. A simpler version of this involves buying some pre-made pico de gallo that primarily consists of chopped vegetables and adding a couple spoonfuls of this to your ramen. I know it might sound a bit weird, but even my mom is a fan of this hack! It may take a bit of experimenting to find what ramen flavor works with the different vegetables, but I highly encourage you to try this – it adds some truly nutritious quality to your food. 

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#2: Use your own spice mix 

Instead of using the mystery spices packed into the small container that comes with your noodles, make your own spice mix so you know exactly what you’re putting in your body! I suggest chili powder, salt, pepper, turmeric, and garam masala for a South Asian twist. 

#3: Cheese

That’s it. For a twist on the usual mac and cheese, go for ramen with cheese instead. Make sure to cut up your cheese or use shredded cheese before you mix it with your ramen so it melts evenly. This might not be the healthiest option, but it definitely packs more nutrients than your usual ramen dinner!

#4: Use chicken/vegetable broth instead of water

This is super simple because you have to boil some water to re-hydrate the noodles anyway. Using some chicken or vegetable broth instead of water is a super-easy way to pack in a few nutrients you wouldn’t have otherwise into your instant ramen. If you keep some of this broth with you anyway for any meals you make, this is especially simple. If you’re not the biggest fan of the taste of chicken broth, I highly recommend vegetable broth. You can even make your own vegetable broth with parts of vegetables you would have otherwise thrown away! 

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#5: Scallions / green onions!

Spoiler alert: this is amazing. This method is probably the lowest effort, but it makes such a difference! This is my most-used hack, and I recommend it to absolutely everyone. If you’re feeling especially lazy, take some scissors and cut up some spring onions straight into your ready-made ramen. Scallions have a fresh tang and make instant noodles feel like you put some effort in. It’s also a simpler hack than the first one because it tastes like you put more vegetables and fresh ingredients in than you actually did. 

Samhita Sen

UC Berkeley '22

Samhita (she/her pronouns) is a third-year student at UC Berkeley double majoring in Media Studies and Sociology. At any given moment, she may be desperately trying to get her work done at the last minute, carelessly procrastinating by watching Claire Saffitz or Ashley (aka bestdressed) on YouTube, joyfully sleeping at odd hours, or spending time with people she loves.
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