Cheap, sodium-rich, and… cheap. Instant ramen can be many things, but the last thing we’d call instant ramen is versatile. Yet it can be that and then some. After you’re done laughing, give us a chance to prove otherwise. Heck, you might even want to try one of these at home.
Asian Noodle Salad
Photo: Rasa Malaysia
When our best friend made this meal, we thought it was sarcasm on a plate. Who makes processed noodles the basis for salad? Turns out this dish is more common around the country than we ever expected. It’s also easy-peasy to throw together. Packaged slaw, edamame, and DIY vinaigrette is the answer to your next potluck. You’ll be the person who brought the salad that people actually ate!
Essentially, we’re swapping out beans ‘n rice for ramen. It’s a fun fusion and look how cool it looks on Instagram! Bonus: it’ll pair fine with whatever you roll it with, because these oodles of noodles should absorb any saucy flavors going on. Customize away, but maybe amp up the spice and throw in a crunchy veg for contrast.
Photo: Serious Eats
A little grossed out, yet oddly intrigued, we are conflicted by ramen as a dough substitute. Somehow, it seems to make sense. While we know a few people who never even finish their crust, most of us inhale slices like it’s no biggie. Think of it this way — it’ll handle whatever toppings you place without getting all flimsy; and flimsy crusts are no bueno.
Ramen Krispy Treats
Photo: Joy the Baker
Stereotyping ramen as savory is automatic. So what happens when we want to venture into sweeter territory? Krispy treats happen. Part gooey marshmallow, part crunchy noodle, all delicious. And cheaper than using foods that pop or snap. Personalize them with cookie cutters for all the compliments.
Photo: Persephone Magazine
The photo on those noodle packages always show soup, but a dry dish is less messy and just as satisfying. In lieu of a seasoning packet, why not try hoisin sauce? Again, this is what you make of it, so go Swedish Chef and clean out the fridge. Or be more refined with just enough ingredients to make it interesting. Include a green and vegetable component to give it class. Some cooked, chopped chicken is also a safe protein to work with. Don’t limit yourself.
Ramen Grilled Cheese
Ramen as slices of bread? Yes, it is possible. Just use an egg to bind the ramen noodles after cooking and let it chill, and you can create your own ramen buns by simply pan-frying them afterward. Grilled cheese is the easiest meal ever and great for ramen, but the possibilities are endless with this starting point. Ramen burgers, ramen club sandwiches… you name it.
Ramen Spanish Tortilla
Photo: Serious Eats
This is our mic drop moment. Although eggs are generally associated with breakfast, this Spanish tortilla is welcomed at lunch or dinner. Like a filling omelet, the heft of the dish would normally be from diced potatoes. Al dente ramen, eggs, seasoning, and sliced onion gently cooked in a pan will fill your belly with starchy goodness. All that’s missing is some Tapatio (or would it be Sriracha?).