The word ‘ramen’ most likely brings up images of a foam food cup filled with steaming noodles.
To many people outside Japan, ramen means a quick and easy meal.
Unfortunately, instant ramen noodles are not as nutritious as they seem.
They may contain protein and carbohydrates but are low on calories.
Ramen also typically has much sodium, which can cause problems.
However, traditional ramen is cooked by hand and served fresh in Japan.
Prepared this way, it contains many nutritional elements like bone broth.
Read on to find out the best substitutes for ramen noodles and why you should consider switching.
What is Ramen Noodles?
Ramen is Japan’s big bowl of noodles.
A meal-in-one, it typically contains noodles, meat, and vegetable leaves.
All the elements of a full meal poured into a steaming bowl of comfort.
The noodles themselves are made from flour and water, of course, but the Japanese also add kansui.
Kansui is a type of alkaline water containing sodium carbonate.
This makes the noodle distinctive from other noodles but is also the source of the excess sodium.
The broth is traditionally made from stock based on chicken or pork.
This gives the soup a rich, hearty flavor that is rich in protein and other nutrients.
Leafy vegetables and boiled eggs are often added as toppings to ramen noodles.
5 Best Substitutes for Ramen Noodles
The healthiest substitute for ramen noodles is to make it yourself; this way, you can control what goes into your body.
However, what to use in place of the high-sodium ramen?
Read on for the best alternatives to Ramen Noodles.
1 – Udon
Udon is another kind of noodle originating from Japan, like ramen.
It is made from wheat flour, water and salt, and contains less sodium content than ramen.
The noodles are pretty thick and often flat, though you can find them rounded also.
Traditionally, udon is prepared with a soup much like ramen, and there are many different styles.
A common dish is Miso Nikomi Udon- udon noodles simmered in miso broth with chicken and vegetables.
A simple way to eat udon is in Kake Udon – a noodle soup made from dashi, soy sauce and mirin.
You can make udon noodles at home or get them store-bought to replace ramen in any recipe.
2 – Soba
Authentic soba noodles are healthier than ramen, as they are made from buckwheat flour.
Soba noodles are brown and thin like spaghetti.
Because they are made from buckwheat, they are gluten-free and contain a lot of protein and fiber.
Soba noodles have a taste described as earthy, with a slight, nut-like flavor.
Also originating from Japan, these noodles are served everywhere, from fast food to expensive restaurants.
Soba can be easily swapped in for ramen in any recipe you make.
Soba is perfect if you are searching for a healthy alternative to ramen, so it is suitable for all diets unless you have buckwheat allergies.
Be sure to get authentic soba, though, as some brands will mix white flour into the product.
3 – Rice Noodles
As the name implies, rice noodles are made with rice.
Rice grains are ground up to make the flour, and sometimes tapioca or corn starch is added.
Rice noodles are somewhat transparent and have a chewy texture.
You’ve probably eaten a form of rice noodles before if you’re a lover of Asian cuisine.
Dishes that use rice noodles are the world-famous Vietnamese pho and pad thai.
There are different versions of this noodle depending on the rice used.
Rice noodles are gluten-free and vegan, making them suitable for all diets.
Keep a careful watch on the noodles cook time when you prepare them, as they can become mushy.
4 – Chinese Egg Noodles
These noodles are similar to regular white noodles, but with egg included.
This makes them more nutritious than plain noodles made with white flour.
The egg adds protein and some fats, which changes the structure and taste of the noodle.
Chinese egg noodles have a springy feel, chewy texture, and a richer flavor than plain noodles.
You can make these noodles at home with ingredients you probably have already.
The egg in the dough makes it more robust, so these may be even easier to make than regular noodles.
You can also buy these at most stores, and most Asian markets will have these in stock.
Just be sure to use them all up once you open the packaging.
5 – Green Bean Noodles
These are made from green beans, soy sauce, and a bit of flour.
This gives them a springy texture similar to other Chinese noodles.
They have a pale beige color with a neutral taste, allowing whatever you use it in to take center stage.
No matter what you make with these noodles, they can be swapped in for ramen noodles in any recipe.
Use these to make a healthy and low-carb version of ramen.
These noodles carry the added bonus of being more flavorful than ramen and containing less sodium, so you can skip on adding more seasoning if needed.
Instant ramen noodles are a convenient and tasty way to get a quick bite in.
In fact, they are so delicious that they have become the no.1 currency in prisons.
However, this popular food contains more sodium than we need in our diet, so try a healthier option.
There is nothing like having a good, home-cooked meal to fill you up and boost your body’s health.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Can I substitute pasta for ramen?
Yes, you can substitute pasta for ramen. It won’t have the same flavor, but it will provide a similar texture.
You can use any type of pasta that you like, such as spaghetti, macaroni, or fettuccine.
Just be sure to cook it al dente so that it doesn’t become mushy.
You can also season the pasta with salt, pepper, or other herbs and spices to give it some added flavor.
Is there a healthy alternative to ramen?
Yes, there are several healthy alternatives to ramen. One option is whole wheat noodles, which have been shown to have more fiber and vitamins than traditional white flour noodles.
You can also use shirataki, a type of low-calorie noodle made from the root of a konjac plant.
Other options include soba noodles, which are made from buckwheat, and glass noodles, made from mung bean starch.
What Chinese noodles are similar to ramen?
Chinese noodles that are similar to ramen include yi mein, a type of egg noodle, and Hong Kong-style wonton noodles.
Yi mein is thicker than ramen, but it can make for a delicious substitute. Wonton noodles are also similar to ramen, with a thinner texture and slightly chewier taste.
Are ramen noodles unhealthy?
It depends on the type of ramen you are eating. Traditional ramen noodles, which are made from white flour, can be unhealthy due to their high fat and sodium content.
But there are some healthier alternatives available, such as whole wheat or buckwheat noodles, which provide more nutrients and fiber.
Additionally, if you’re looking for an even healthier option, look for ramen made with shirataki noodles. These are low-calorie and contain very few carbohydrates.