December 21, 2018 by Nicole Collins
Baby, it's cold outside.
It's dark outside too.
And, I am over it.
Today marks the first day of winter, and I'm already ready for it to be over. It's the darkest day of the year too. Have I ever told you that I'm afraid of the dark?
But, on the bright side, tomorrow will be brighter. Literally. Day light starts getting longer minute by minute tomorrow, so I'll take it. And, every day through winter is one day closer to spring.
This cold weather season has been a doozie already. I got the sickest I think I've ever been on Thanksgiving. I had a horrible head/chest cold for a solid two weeks before antibiotics kicked in and magically healed me. And, it's been going around. My mom had it last week (not my fault!), most of my office has had a version of it (also not my fault...I think they gave it to me), and the bestie's kiddos have had it (definitely not my fault).
While I was sick, I didn't have much of an appetite. All I wanted was some ramen noodles and grilled cheese. Can you believe I have some of the best ingredients ever spread between 2 pantries in my kitchen, and I had not one pack of ramen noodles.
I didn't have any chicken broth either. Just some fancy bone broth that is honestly a little scary to me when I'm not sick, let alone when I have no appetite.
So, the moment my meds kicked in and I entered the world for the first time after a week, I went straight to the store to buy some soup ingredients. And, that's how we ended up with today's recipe!
Today, we're making Veggie Ramen!
I don't know why soup is so comforting when you're sick. Maybe it's the warm liquid heating your whole body as it gently strolls down your throat. I don't know what it is, but this soup is EXACTLY what I needed to help get me back on the path to good health.
We start by making a quick mushroom broth by soaking some dried shitake mushrooms in some boiling water. Then we add that to some vegetable stock that's been infused with garlic, onions, ginger, and soy sauce; and we let it simmer away for a short 20 mins. You'll really be surprised by how much flavor you get in just 20 mins!
We finish the soup broth with some fresh spinach and a little sambal olek. Sambal olek is an Asian chili paste that you can find in the Asian aisle of the grocery store. It's nice and spicy, but we're not using enough to make our broth spicy. It just helps to round out the flavors a little bit. If you want a spicier broth, feel free to add more!
After our soup broth is finished, we pour it over some ramen that's been cooked in a separate pot, and we top it with lots of fresh crispy veggies. The cold matchstick carrots, crunchy mini sweet peppers, and sliced green onions add a nice textural balance to the soft ramen and the warm broth.
Then for the final finishing touch, a gooey soft boiled egg nestled right on the side adds a little extra protein and a lot of extra luxuriousness to the soup. If you want to keep this soup vegan, just ditch the egg!
The soup broth is nice and rich and full of umami flavor. The crunchy veggies help to add some heartiness to the soup. And, the perfectly cooked ramen gives you that comforting noodle that every good soup needs.
So, if anyone needs me I'll be in front of the space heater with a heat lamp blasting me while covered up with a blankie and chugging a bowl of hot soup. K? K...
Alright guys, only 4 days til Christmas! And, we've got some edible arts and crafts that's sure to spread some yuletide cheer coming up on Christmas Eve!
'Til then...let's eat!
Serves: 4 Print
2 cups boiling water
8 dried shitake mushrooms
1 tbsp coconut oil
8 oz baby bella mushrooms, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 inch knob ginger, minced
½ onion, finely chopped
4 cups unsalted vegetable stock
1 tbsp soy sauce
salt, to taste
1 tsp sambal olek
2 handfuls of fresh baby spinach, about 2 cups
1 cup matchstick carrots
4 mini sweet peppers, sliced
2 green onions, dark and light green parts only, chopped
2 packs ramen noodles, seasoning packet removed
Make a mushroom broth: Place dried shitakes in a small saucepan. Top with 2 cups of boiling water. Allow mushrooms to soak for 30 minutes. Remove mushrooms from the broth, and chop in to bite sized pieces.
Make the soup: In a large stockpot, heat coconut oil over medium high heat. Add onions and both chopped mushrooms, and saute for 3-4 minutes until the onions start to soften. Add garlic and ginger, and saute for 1 more minute, until fragrant. Add vegetable stock, mushroom broth, and soy sauce. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium low, and simmer for 20 minutes.
Meanwhile, make the soft boiled eggs: Bring a small saucepan of water to a boil. Add both eggs, and boil for exactly 7 mins. Remove eggs from boiling water and place immediately in a bowl of ice water. After 2-3 mins when the eggs are cool enough to touch, carefully peel the eggs and cut them in half.
Make the ramen: In the same pot used to soak the mushrooms, cook the ramen according to package directions.
Finish the soup: After the soup has simmered for 20 minutes, add a generous pinch of salt and the sambal olek. Stir well. Add in the spinach, give it a stir, and boil for another 3 mins. Remove from heat. Divide ramen evenly between 4 bowls. Top with soup broth, carrots, peppers, and green onions evenly divided between 4 bowls. Top with half of a soft boiled egg. Serve immediately.
*I buy dried shitakes from the Asian Market. I store the mushrooms in a freezer bag in the freezer to keep them on hand indefinitely, as well.
*Sambal Olek is a chili paste that you can find in the Asian section of the grocery store.
*If you want to soup to be a little spicier, add up to a tbsp of sambal olek.
*If you're making this in advance, wait to soft boil the eggs and cook the ramen until you're ready to serve. The soup base can stay in the fridge for a week.