Bring it on. Soup season is here, meal preppers!
I’ve never been a huge Cup of Noodles fan—you know, those instant noodles you can buy for less than $2 at the grocery store. The reason? They’re often too salty and they don’t typically have enough ingredients other than noodles to satisfy me. A little variety goes a long way. Same thing goes for instant ramen. (Have you read what’s in those ingredient packets? Lol! It might be ok once in a while, but again, it’s so salty.)
But I do love a simple, comforting noodle soup that doesn’t involve much cooking, kind of like this meal prep! Consider this my take on a popular shortcut food. It’s a way to meal prep customizable instant noodles, any way you like it!
What you’re looking at is a carefully layered jar with soup stock paste, veggies, tofu, noodles, and cilantro. Just add hot water and BOOM! You’ve got soup. This meal was inspired by The Kitchn and simplified for lazy (or just time-pressed!) cooks all over the world.
Like all Workweek Lunch meals, these instant noodles are easy to change up!
Start with the base for your instant noodle soup
I tested this with several bases (aka stock pastes, bouillon cubes, etc.) and liked the garlic soup stock paste the most. It added the most flavor but didn’t overwhelm the other flavors in the soup. If you’re wondering where to find such a magical item, I found soup stock paste next to the bouillon cubes in my local grocery store. Another bonus? It’s actually vegan and comes in different flavors too.
There are other ways to go, though. Try using any combination of the following:
- Crushed-up bouillon cube
- 2 teaspoons of curry paste,
- Soy sauce mixed with chili garlic sauce
- Miso paste
I would have loved to use miso paste but it only came in a giant tub and I wasn’t sure I wanted that level of investment at the moment. The soup stock paste comes in a much smaller container, and will keep for a while.
I used red curry paste in one of my jars and I can’t say it came out great. I may not have used enough, or maybe I just need to experiment more. It would probably be good combined with a bit of the garlic paste….come to think of it!
What veggies should I add to instant noodle soup?
I recommend using frozen peas, carrots, corn, and sliced mushrooms in this soup as fillers. Other veggies that would work:
- Bok choy, chopped up
- Leftover cooked veggies
- Broccoli, chopped finely
- Cauliflower, chopped finely
- Raw kale or spinach, which will simply wilt when hot water is added
What proteins to use in instant noodle soup?
For protein, I used uncooked tofu, cubed. You can use leftover grilled chicken or cooked beef and pork too! Edamame would also be an excellent choice for this meal; you can even buy that frozen, shelled, so it’s ready to roll like any other frozen veggie.
You can also add a soft-boiled egg to the meal to make it more like a riff on ramen.
Noodle options for this soup
I used Banza chickpea pasta (spaghetti) for these meals and it worked out perfectly.
The sky is the limit with the noodles. You can use your favorite spaghetti, black bean, or edamame noodles or more authentic rice noodles for this soup. Buckwheat (soba) would work, too. There are so many choices, but I tend to like noodles that are more narrow for this particular soup. They fit better in the jars.
All you have to do is cook them according to the package before adding them to the jar or container.
Toppings for instant noodle soup
I used cilantro and chopped green onion (my favorite) as toppings. Crushed nuts, bean sprouts, or lemon/lime wedges would be good too! A dash of hot sauce on top isn’t a bad idea, either.
Containers to use for instant noodle soup
You absolutely don’t need to use a jar for this recipe to work. If desired, use a normal meal prep container! But because the size is different, you’ll just have to get creative with how you layer your soup.
How to store and reheat customizable instant noodles
These instant noodles will keep in the fridge for up to six days. You don’t need to reheat them! You only need to add boiling hot water to the jar, mix it up, and then pour it into a bowl or just eat it right out of the jar. It’s just that easy and magical!
These instant noodles are not freezer-friendly. You can keep them at room temp for 24 hours if you don’t have a fridge (I tested this!).
Check out these other soup recipes you’ll love!