There are times when you need a hot, comforting soup, and you need it right away. You come home exhausted on a chilly day, or you’re coming down with something and the last thing you feel like doing is standing and chopping. That’s when this ramen noodle vegetable soup comes in handy.
It’s a satisfying soup that requires no chopping other than a couple of scallions. The clever hack here is using a bag of frozen mixed Asian vegetables. They taste surprisingly fresh and stay nice and crisp in the soup if you’re careful not to overcook. The bonus is that the ingredients are so very inexpensive, yielding six generous servings for less than the cost of a quart of take-out soup.
If you have a cold or are generally under the weather, this is a perfect way to get a good few servings of a soothing soup. Normally, there are few things I love to make more than creative plant-based soups — even ones that call for lots of chopping! But there are times, like when I had a massive head cold recently — that I thanked my lucky stars for this soup.
Ramen noodles are now readily available, even without the ready-made soup mix, in the Asian foods section of well-stocked supermarkets (sometimes labeled chuka soba). They’re an appealing addition to simple soups. To make this a more substantial soup, do add the optional tofu.
- 6 cups water
- 1 large or 2 regular-size vegetable bouillon cubes
- 5-ounce package curly ramen noodles (chuka soba)
- 16-ounce bag frozen mixed Asian vegetables
- Several slices fresh ginger, or 2 teaspoons grated fresh or jarred
- 7 to 8 ounces firm or extra firm tofu (about a half of a tub), diced
- 2 scallions, thinly sliced
- 2 big handfuls baby spinach or other baby greens
- 2 tablespoons soy sauce, or to taste
- Freshly ground pepper to taste
- Combine the water and bouillon cubes in a small soup pot and bring to a slow boil.
- Add the noodles, vegetables, and ginger and return to a slow boil. Turn the heat down and simmer until the noodles are al dente, about 5 minutes. The vegetables will be just done at this point as well.
- Reach into the pot with a pair of kitchen shears and cut the noodles here and there — they’re very long! Add a little water if the soup has gotten too crowded.
- If using tofu, add it at this point along with the scallions and greens; cook until the greens are just wilted.
- Stir in the scallions and greens; cook until the greens are just wilted. Season with soy sauce and pepper to taste, then serve at once.