When the summer humidity finally lifts and we are graced once again with sweater weather, our kitchens tend to become busier. With the myriad of crockpot meals, casseroles, soups, and chilis that fall brings, one of my favorite meals is ramen bowls.
Versatile and timeless, ramen has always been cheap and easy to prepare, making it a staple in many households and college dorm rooms. Don’t we all have memories of feeling very grown-up while microwaving ramen in our first apartment or dorm room? Spoiler, we weren’t that grown-up. We’ve become more sophisticated since the early aughts (right?) and luckily our ramen bowl recipes have had a major glow-up too.
Ramen bowls are in heavy rotation in my household; we’ve been obsessed for several years. My favorite ramen bowl was during a family vacation in Anna Maria Island, Florida. My husband and I served up scrumptious ramen bowls with fresh shrimp, red snapper, radishes, red bell peppers, and cilantro to his fam. It was a freakin’ hit.
There are varying degrees of nutrition and levels of difficulty in the different types of ramen bowls that can be found throughout the interwebs. Most of them stray significantly from authentic ramen bowls, however, they still have a space in the culinary world. Since travel plans have been put on hold indefinitely, we suggest you put on an episode of Samurai Gourmet and enjoy a comforting ramen bowl.
Whether you need dinner on the table in less than 30 minutes or are ready to plummet headlong into the world of homemade stock, we’ve narrowed down our top ramen bowl picks.
Food Network’s super savory ramen bowl recipe calls for bacon, shrimp, and everyone’s favorite mushroom, lentinula edodes, otherwise known as shiitake. Toss out the flavor packet and add chicken broth, soy sauce, and Worcestershire sauce to make the base of this mouth-watering bowl of goodness. Top it off with shrimp and chives and you’ll have a hearty ramen bowl in half an hour that will leave you happy and full.
The Minimalist Baker has tons of delightful plant-based recipes, including this Easy Vegan Ramen bowl recipe, which features crispy tofu, miso-glazed carrots, baby bok choy, vegan noodles, and a delectable base of ginger, tamari sauce, and sesame oil. This recipe calls for at least an hour of simmering to deepen the flavor profile, but two or three hours would be even better.
Spicy ramen bowls are not for the faint of heart (which I usually am), but count me in when curry is involved. Little Spice Jar’s hybrid ramen bowl recipe calls for a fancier noodle—yakisoba or udon—and a combination of chili, red curry, white miso paste, and coconut milk. Two ingredients will be getting an ice bath: bok choy and the ramen egg (soft boiled egg). Top it all off with cilantro, scallions, and sesame seeds.
Shoyu is Japanese for soy sauce and is the most common type of ramen you would find if you ever made your way to Tokyo. If you have three days and access to an Asian market (or Amazon) this Bon Appetit ramen bowl recipe is brimming with pork shoulder, spareribs, and ramen eggs and is sure to tantalize your taste buds. Perfect your ramen egg making skills and enjoy this filling ramen bowl. After all your hard work, you deserve it!
The Taming of the Spoon’s miso ramen bowl recipe combines two of my favorite things: roasted vegetables and ramen. The recipe calls for butternut squash, but I would likely add roasted root vegetables like sweet potatoes, carrots, or parsnips, perhaps. It takes about 40 minutes all said and done to make this bowl, but it’ll be well worth the wait. Add smoked nori, lime juice, and scallions to the caramelized vegetables and enjoy this colorful bowl.
The Chunky Chef’s ramen bowl recipe is a quick bowl that doesn’t skimp on flavor. Ginger, lemongrass, and mirin heighten this bowl’s flavor profile, and the toppings of shredded carrots, bean sprouts, radishes, and bok choy enhance the nutritional value. You can switch up the meat as the glaze goes well with pork or beef, or go a different route altogether and use tofu and veggie stock to make this bowl veg-friendly.
Let’s Dish has a wintery ramen bowl recipe that has you break out the slow cooker and let everything marinate for eight hours. There is a prep time of 20 minutes, which includes chopping veggies and searing the beef. Searing the beef isn’t completely necessary, but it will definitely add flavor. Throw everything in the slow cooker in the morning and go about your day and you’ll come back to an ambrosial bowl full of melt-in-your-mouth beef and crunchy snow peas.
The Happy Pear’s vegan ramen bowl recipe claims to be tasty, easy, and budget-friendly. The twins, Steve and Dave, are charming and lightning-fast cooks who finish this ramen bowl in just a little over five minutes on their Youtube video. It may take the regular home cook a bit longer (around 15 minutes) to finish this simple yet scrumptious bowl that contains oyster mushrooms, fennel, red cabbage, and bean sprouts.
Food Network’s ramen bowl recipe, courtesy of Three’s Bar and Grill, is an advanced recipe that takes about four hours and 15 minutes to prepare. The recipe calls for kimchi shiitake mushrooms, braised pork belly, and a traditional ramen broth. Perfect for a cold weekend night.
Cooking Light spotlights this ramen bowl recipe, which is a combination of miso soup and ramen. You’ll get a savory flavor from the white miso paste, fresh ginger, kale, bacon, and shiitake mushrooms. This recipe will take around 20 minutes and will warm you up nicely.