Gourmet Ramen Noodles
Vegetables for All Flavors
Vegetables are a staple addition to a serving of ramen noodles. Most are versatile, and go with all varieties of flavors while adding their own. On top of that, they'll add fiber to your meal which will keep you feeling fuller.
All are vegetables you can't go wrong with in any flavor of ramen, so feel free to buy them in bulk to save money.
I recommend sauteing the vegetables before you add them to the ramen. Boiling takes out the most nutritional value, and sauteing will also bring out the flavors of the individual vegetables.
Alternatively, you can save the boiled water by freezing it instead of pouring it out. This will create a nutrient and flavorful vegetable base stock for soups. Continuously cook your ramen and boil your veggies in it every time you make ramen to make it thicker and more nutritious. This is also useful for saving money, or if you prefer soupy ramen, or even if you're just too lazy to be bothered with sauteeing the vegetables beforehand!
Meats and Protein
They don't have to be a luxury add-in and are a good source for protein and is another source of flavor, nutrition and another ingredient to fill you up.
Beef (cubed, ground, sliced)
Chicken breasts or thighs
It is generally recommended you match the meat type with the flavor of the Ramen, but things like eggs, spam, and beans can go with any flavor or even accompany another meat. I mention London Broil specifically because it is a large, cheap cut of meat that is easy to cook.
If your goal is health, stray away from pork (especially the bacon and sausage!) and instead more towards chicken and seafood flavors. Seafood is typically more expensive though.
If you're more concerned about frugality, stick with chicken, eggs, spam and hot dogs. Frozen chicken breasts can be bought cheaply in large quantities, and is a great option for health and flavor variety.
Which Ramen Flavor is Your Favorite?
Herbs & Flavors
Use the flavor packet as a starting point for your experimenting.
Here are some herbs and spices you can use to spice up your Ramen dishes.By all means if you have spice mixes in your cabinet you want to be rid of, go ahead and give it a shot! You might want to blend it a little with some of the flavor packet and try it yourself first, before putting it on your final product.
Lemongrass or lime (lemon juice is a cheap alternative)
Chicken & Beef Flavors:
Lemon, lemon, lemon!
For best and most flavorful results, marinate your meat before cooking it and adding it to your Ramen dish.
Miscellaneous and Tasty Additions
Not vegetables or meats, but more cooking additions you can use to add that perfect touch to your gourmet Ramen masterpiece!
Best recommended with chicken flavors. Cook your chicken with a honey glaze to give it a sweet kick and mix things up!
Other sweet alternatives: maple (beef, pork), brown sugar (beef, pork, shrimp)
Another tasty accompanyment for chicken flavored ramen, and it'll add some more protein as well!
Other recommended nut alternatives: walnuts (especially for shrimp dishes), cashews
I grew up with a dollop of sour cream on beef flavored ramen and it's something I love to this day, especially those times where I'm craving fat but don't want or have salty munchies around.
And I'm not just talking about lemons and limes! Fruits are one of the most underrated sources of flavor and natural sugar I see in Ramen recipes. Use coconut shavings and pineapple juice/fruit to your shrimp Ramen for a tropical flavor!
Other fruits: plum and berries (beef), citrus and/or melons (chicken)
Keep in mind: the more flavors you add the more certain you will have to be that they all work together. Try starting with one or two main flavors and then refining and experimenting from there.
Health & Frugality
Another really awesome factor of "gourmet Ramen" is that when you add more healthy and other foods to it, you don't even need the whole packet of noodles! They're cheap regardless, but thanks to this, my boyfriend and I regularly split a whole single pack of noodles between the two of us, without having to sacrifice flavor and have made our Ramen stock last *double* what it would have.
Calories from fruits and vegetables are "better" for you than calories from carbohydrates because they contain more vitamins and nutrients and less fat. This will generally be a more healthy option for most college students.
However, if you choose to boil the veggies and extras with the noodles, most of that nutrients will be lost due to the process of osmosis, so for the full benefit, drink the water as well, or pull the food out of it and save it to boil with your next dish for more flavor and when you think it's flavorful enough you can use it as a soup stock.
Use only half of the flavor packet. Use it to sautee the veggies and meat before adding it to the noodles, or over the entire boiled dish. Everyone knows that packet is pure sodium, which can be damaging to you, but also, there's no reason for that much of it if you dress up your Ramen with herbs and vegetables!
What about the second half of the packet? I save them in a spice jar that I add other flavors to to make my own unique spice mixes for other dishes.