Everybody loves a tasty bowl of stir fry. It’s hot, it’s fresh, and just like a pizza, it’s whatever you want it to be. It can be spicy, tangy, savory, or even sweet. It all depends on what you’re in the mood for.
At the same time, the typical ramen stir fry isn’t exactly the healthiest of options. It’s loaded with fat, and it’s so loaded with sodium that you might as well shake a salt shaker over your tongue.
It doesn’t have to be that way. Here’s how to make a healthy ramen stir fry that still satisfies your taste buds.
Ramen Stir Fry – Delicious, but Problematic
We all know that ramen stir fry is delicious. But how does it fit into a healthy diet? For starters, let’s acknowledge the obvious; a lot depends on the other ingredients in your recipe. A bowl that’s full of fatty ingredients and light on veggies is different from a low-fat veggie stir fry.
That said, a lot depends on the noodles you’re using. Let’s take a look at some of the more popular noodle brands, and compare them to Mike’s Mighty Good.
- A cup of the leading instant chicken flavored ramen contains 290 calories, 12 grams of fat, and 1,180mg of sodium.
- A cup of Mike's Mighty Good chicken flavored ramen contains 210 calories, 8 grams of fat, and only 780mg of sodium.
Mike’s Mighty Good has fewer calories, less fat, and less sodium. If you dig into the numbers, our ramen also has fewer carbohydrates and higher levels of protein.
We’re able to do this by steaming our noodles instead of frying them, which keeps down the fat content and provides a more authentic texture. We also use a more complex blend of spices than the leading brands, so we don’t need a ton of salt.
The right noodles don’t guarantee a healthy ramen stir fry. But they’re a great place to start.
How to Make Ramen Stir Fry Healthier
So, how do you make your ramen stir fry healthier? You can start with the ramen. Look for a ramen like Mike’s Mighty Good, with low sodium and no unnecessary oil.
Sodium isn’t always a bad thing. In fact, it’s one of the essential electrolytes that powers your muscles, nerves, and brain. Without sodium – or calcium, or magnesium – your nervous system would literally cease to function. A little bit of sodium is a good thing!
Unfortunately, most Americans are getting far more sodium than is good for them. A lot of that sodium comes from processed and pre-packaged food. The FDA has even asked food manufacturers to voluntarily use less sodium in their recipes.
When you think of salty foods, you probably think of the usual suspects: potato chips, pretzels, and other snacks are notoriously salty. But instant ramen also has a lot of salt, carried inside the little flavor packet. As we discussed, the leading brands provide more than half of your daily recommended sodium in a single serving. With that much salt in one meal, it will be hard to keep your sodium intake in line.
We’re not just talking about your health. Most manufacturers use salt because it’s cheaper than other spices. Instead of a complex flavor, you’re just getting a packet of salt, and maybe some garlic powder.
Mike’s Mighty Good flavor packets are loaded with a complex blend of herbs and spices. Instead of a bunch of salt, you’re getting the rich, nuanced flavor profile you deserve. The result? A ramen packet with 40% less sodium than the big “grocery store” brands.
When you think of a ramen pack or cup, you probably don’t expect a lot of oil. It’s a bunch of dried noodles, with a packet of powdered spices. How would there be oil?
Big, commercial ramen brands have one goal: to make their noodles as cheaply as possible, and sell them at the lowest possible price. To make more money, they want to use the fastest cooking process, which is flash frying. The noodles are boiled for just a few seconds, then dried for packaging.
But some of the cooking oil remains in the noodles. When you cook them, some of it leeches out into the broth. This can mix with your other ingredients and alter the flavor. The oil in the noodles also ruins the texture. It’s flat and chewy, instead of bouncy like a traditional noodle.
Mike’s Mighty Good noodles are steamed, like the ones at a traditional noodle bar. When you boil them, there’s no oil to ruin your overall flavor profile. You also won’t be getting unnecessary fat in your meal.
Healthy Ramen Stir Fry Recipes
If you’re using Mike’s Mighty Good ramen, you’re already well on your way to a healthy ramen recipe. But ramen alone doesn’t make a satisfying meal. Here are some ways to take your favorite college food to the next level.
Kung Pao Ramen Stir Fry
Kung pao ramen stir fry is a tasty, nutritious recipe with a spicy, tangy vibe. The base is a fried chicken garlic pack, but the protein isn’t chicken; it’s tofu. You fry the tofu in soy sauce, and fry up a separate blend of garlic, onion, red chili flakes, and red peppers. Add your noodles to the spicy pan at the last minute, and fry for a couple of minutes. Mix it together, and top it with chopped green onions.
The key to this recipe is the Chinese vinegar, which you add along with the noodles. This gives it a bit of bite, which is softened by a sprinkling of sesame seeds. This is a more complex dish, but it’s dripping with flavor.
Mongolian Beef Noodle Stir Fry
If you love Mongolian beef, then Mongolian beef noodle stir fry will be right up your alley. This is a king-sized recipe for two people, based around two cups of Mike’s spicy beef ramen noodle cups. Slice a 1-pound steak against the grain, and fry it in some vegetable oil, along with some garlic, ginger, soy sauce, and a healthy dose of brown sugar.
Add some broccoli and a chopped carrot, and you’re ready to serve up one of the world’s classic stir fries.
Ramen Beef Stir Fry
Ramen beef stir fry is a simpler recipe. You chop up a steak, add some broccoli florets and some chopped garlic, pour in some soy sauce, sesame oil, and white wine vinegar, and let it sear. Add a cooked packet of beef ramen noodles, and stir in the spice packet.
Let it cook for a few more minutes, and you’ll be left with a dark, thin sauce that clings to the noodles. Delicious!
Veggie Ramen Noodle Stir Fry
Vegetarians and vegans can also enjoy a great ramen stir fry. The veggie ramen noodle stir fry is a great example.
Like any good vegetarian recipe, the key is a blend of different flavors that create a more complex profile. The main attraction is a mix of bok choy and green onions, along with minced garlic and chili paste. Additional sweet chili sauce provides its own note, and a splash of soy sauce for savor. By the time you add the noodles, your mouth will already be watering.
The Final Word
Ramen stir fry doesn’t have to be unhealthy. With the right noodles and ingredients, it can be as healthy as anything else in your diet. Not only that, but you don’t have to sacrifice flavor to get a healthier bowl. If anything, a healthier ramen stir fry is a tastier ramen stir fry!