In our house, we’re crazy about ramen bowls. They’re one-dish meals that are healthful, versatile, and easy-to-make. What’s not to love?
The cheapest and easiest noodles to use in ramen bowls are the eponymous ramen noodle bricks that you can find in any grocery store for about 20 cents each. (Just be sure to throw away the seasoning packet — nasty stuff in there!) When I have rice noodles on hand, I use them instead of the ramen noodles, and I’ve also been known to use leftover linguine or angel hair pasta.
For the broth, you can go with adding a regular vegetable soup base (I like Better than Bouillon brand) or even miso paste to water. We’re tom yum soup fanatics, so more often I will season my broth with a great tom yum soup base I found that contains no animal products.
The vegetables and other ingredients you add to your bowls are only limited by your imagination (or, more accurately, what’s in your fridge). Usually I add some diced extra-firm tofu (sautéed when I have the time, or just simmered with everything else when I’m in a hurry). I’ve also been known to add pieces of vegan sausage (as I did here) as well as meatballs when I have them on hand.
I add whatever veggies I have on hand, whether fresh or frozen. These bowls are also a great way to use up small amounts of leftover vegetables.
One of my favorite additions to ramen bowls are Asian dumplings. I live in a rural area, so until recently, if I wanted Asian dumplings, I’d have to take a road trip to a city with an Asian market. But the nice people at Nasoya sent me samples of their organic Nasoya Vegan Dumplings to try for this post. I’m also happy to report that my local Food Lion now carries these dumplings (they’re in the fresh produce section next to the tofu), so I can now enjoy organic vegan dumplings anytime! Click here for coupons to give them a try — they’re available in two flavors – Tofu Vegetable and Thai Basil Vegetable.
Below is my recipe for Dumpling Ramen Bowls. They can be made super-quickly if you use the simmer-everything-together method, or you can take a few extra minutes to saute some of the ingredients separately (such as the dumplings) and add more flavor to the final result. I especially like to use my electric wok when I make these bowls because I find that it makes it easier, whichever method I use.
Here’s a recipe using my preferred method in which I saute a few of the components first:
Dumpling Ramen Bowls
2 teaspoons neutral vegetable oil
1 package Nasoya Vegan Dumplings
1 ½ cups sliced shiitake mushrooms
2 tablespoons low-sodium soy sauce
3 cups water
2 teaspoons vegetable soup base or tom yum soup base
2 packages ramen noodles or rice noodles
1/2 cup shredded carrots
2 cups fresh baby spinach or baby bok choy
1 cup cooked broccoli florets (or other cooked vegetable, optional
2 diced vegan sausage links or 1 cup diced extra-firm tofu, optional
Sriracha, to taste, optional
Thai basil leaves or cilantro, optional garnish
Black sesame seeds, optional garnish
Heat the oil in a wok or large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the dumplings and stir-fry until nicely browned on both sides, about 2 minutes per side. Add a splash of water, if needed to keep the dumplings from sticking. Remove the dumplings from the wok, and set aside. Reheat the wok or skillet over medium-high heat. Add the mushrooms and a splash of soy sauce and stir-fry for 1 to 2 minutes to brown nicely and soften. Remove the mushrooms from the wok and set aside. Bring the the water to a boil in the wok or medium saucepan. Stir in the soup base until blended. Add the ramen noodles, carrot, and remaining soy sauce and reduce the heat to a simmer. Cook until the noodles are tender, about 2 minutes. Add the spinach and stir gently until the spinach is wilted.
Divide the noodle mixture into large soup bowls, arranging the carrots and spinach on top of the noodles. Return the dumplings and mushrooms to the wok and heat until hot. Arrange the dumplings and mushrooms on top of the noodles, next to the spinach and carrots. Add the cooked broccoli and vegan sausage and stir-fry for a minute to heat through. To serve, drizzle each bowl with sriracha, if using. Taste and adjust the seasonings, if needed. Garnish with basil or cilantro and a sprinkle of sesame seeds, if using.
Makes 2 to 4 servings
NOTE: For the quick, no-oil, Simmer-Everything-Together Method, use the above ingredients (except the oil) and proceed as follows:
Heat the water in a large saucepan. Add the soy sauce and vegetable soup base or tom yum soup base and bring to a boil. Add the Nasoya Vegan Dumplings and return the water to a boil for 2 to 3 minutes. Add the ramen noodles, mushrooms, and reduce the heat to a simmer. Cook until the noodles and dumplings are tender, about 2 minutes. Add the carrots, and spinach and stir gently until the spinach is wilted. Taste and adjust the seasonings, if needed. Stir in any additional cooked veggies, tofu, or other ingredients, as desired.
Divide the soup into bowls, arranging a few of the dumplings on top of each serving. Drizzle with a little sriracha, if desired. Garnish with a few Thai basil or cilantro leaves and a sprinkle of sesame seeds, if using.