How to: Spice up your ramen noodles

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Ramen noodles have a reputation for being the poor, starving college students’ go-to food. They can get old and boring after a while, though. But students can make them more interesting and healthy. Ideas like the ones below can help turn an ordinary college meal into something extraordinary.

A package o ramen noodles may seem boring to students but can be spiced up with protein or vegetables. (Joshua Jamias)
A package of ramen noodles may seem boring to students but can be spiced up with protein or vegetables. (Joshua Jamias)

1. Add a different sauce or condiment.

Many different sauces or toppings can change the entire flavor of ramen noodles. Citrus flavors will give the noodles more of a zest, while pepper flakes or hot sauce will give the dish a spicy kick. Garlic can give ramen an Italian taste as well as keep the vampires away — or the annoying kid in class who can’t take a hint. Remember to keep the ideas simple though — the more spices and sauces added, the more room there is for a bad flavor combination.

2. Add vegetables or fruits.

It doesn’t matter what’s available in a student’s apartment; almost anything goes. Vegetables and fruits that are in season tend to be cheaper and provide more options. Whether it be squash or apples, adding vegetables or fruits to ramen will make the dish healthier and add more interesting flavors and texture.

3. Add protein.

Protein can add more variety to any diet. Most ramen packets come with meat flavoring; yet the flavoring still lacks the physical presence of meat. If you prefer vegetarian noodles, tofu is another source of protein that could be added. Whether it be meat, tofu, nuts or eggs, protein is a great addition to ramen noodles. Students like Rebecca Castelo, a psychology major, scramble eggs with their ramen noodles.

4. Use ramen in nontraditional dishes.

Ramen could be an easy substitute for some favorite meals like spaghetti. It could also be added to a casserole. It could even be put between two pieces of bread as part of a sandwich. Rachel Swendsen, a recreation management major, has friends who fry ramen and then crack an egg on it and flip it over so the egg is inside and then eat it as a sandwich. Not all combinations will be winners, but the key is to experiment and see what works and what doesn’t.

5. Be creative, and keep it simple.  

“You don’t have to make it fancy or complicated,” said Sarah Bellini, a BYU nutrition professor. “Be simple with it, and have fun.”

Don’t need to be afraid to fail. Channel your inner Iron Chef and utilize the ingredients already available, mix things up and try a new combination. There is no perfect guide for what does and doesn’t always work with ramen. Many different food items go well with ramen noodles. You never know when you’ll discover a new favorite.

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