5 Creative Ways to Use Instant Noodles

Take simple and filling instant noodles far beyond your wildest dreams.

Ramen noodles aren't just your college staple anymore. In Kathy Kordalis's new book, Pimp My Noodles, she shows how to make healthy, filling and nutritious meals with instant noodles in just minutes. From buddha bowls to pad thai, get ready to bring these back into your meal plan.

  1. Kale & Noodle Goodness Bowl With Poached Eggs

    kale and noodle bowl with poached eggs
    Photo by Jacqui Melville

    What You'll Need

    Serves 2

    • 3½ oz. sesame noodles, cooked according to the packet instructions
    • Dash of vinegar
    • 2 very fresh medium eggs
    • 3½ oz. tinned beluga lentils, drained and rinsed
    • 1 oz. kale, blanched
    • 2 oz. tenderstem broccoli, blanched
    • 2 oz. red cabbage, thinly sliced
    • 3½ oz. butternut squash, roasted and thinly sliced
    • 1 avocado, thinly sliced
    • Sesame seeds, to serve

    Dressing

    • 3 tbsp tahini
    • Juice of ½ lemon
    • 3-4 tbsp warm water

    Directions

    Step 1: To make the dressing, combine all of the ingredients, adding a little more water if necessary, until it is a thick but pourable liquid.

    Step 2: Add a small dash of vinegar to a pan of steadily simmering water. Crack the eggs individually into a ramekin or cup. Using a whisk, create a gentle whirlpool in the water to help the egg white wrap around the yolk. Slowly tip the first egg into the water. Cook for 3 minutes. Remove with a slotted spoon, cutting off any wispy edges using the edge of the spoon. Drain on kitchen paper. Repeat with the second egg.

    Step 3: On 2 plates, arrange the lentils, all of the prepared vegetables, the noodles and the poached eggs, then drizzle with the dressing and sprinkle with sesame seeds.

  2. Pad Thai

    pad thai
    Photo by Jacqui Melville

    What You'll Need

    Serves 2

    • 5 oz. Thai flat-rice noodles, cooked according to the packet instructions
    • 2 tbsp vegetable oil
    • 1 onion, sliced
    • 3½ oz. tofu, drained and cubed
    • 4 tbsp Pad Thai paste or more to taste
    • 9½ oz. ribbon-cut stir-fry vegetable mix
    • 2 oz. peanuts, chopped, to serve
    • 2 tsp chilli flakes, to serve
    • Lime wedges, to serve

    Directions

    Step 1: Heat a wok over a high heat. Add the oil and swirl to coat. Add the onion and stir-fry for 1 minute or until tender. Add the tofu and stir-fry for 4 minutes, then stir in the paste. Stir-fry for 2 minutes or until fragrant. Add the vegetables and continue to move everything around the pan for another minute.

    Step 2: Add the noodles to the wok. Stir-fry the mixture for 1–2 minutes or until heated through. Top with the chopped peanuts and chilli flakes. Serve with a wedge of lime on the side.

  3. Ramen Burger

    ramen burger
    Photo by Jacqui Melville

    What You'll Need

    Serves 2

    Noodle buns

    • 7 oz. ramen noodles, cooked according to the packet instructions
    • 1 medium egg, beaten
    • 2 tbsp rapeseed oil

    Burgers

    • 2 beef patties
    • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
    • 1 tbsp teriyaki sauce
    • 2 tbsp sesame oil
    • 2 slices Cheddar or Monterey Jack (optional)
    • 2 tbsp mustard relish
    • 2 tbsp wasabi mayonnaise
    • 2 oz. Chinese cabbage, shredded
    • 1 radish, thinly sliced
    • 1 pinch chives
    • Sriracha, to serve

    Directions

    Step 1: Let the noodles cool to room temperature. In a small mixing bowl, stir the egg into the noodles, tossing thoroughly to coat. Divide the egg-dressed noodles into 4 portions, and place each into a round 3½ in. mold. Alternatively, if you do not have any molds, shape the buns using your hands. They will be looser, but delicious all the same.

    Step 2: Add the oil to a skillet and set over a medium-high heat. Once the oil begins to shimmer, place the noodle buns into the pan in their molds (if using) and use a small ramekin to press them down. Cook until the bottom is a dark golden brown. Flip both of the noodle buns, and cook until a dark golden brown on both sides, then carefully remove from the molds.

    Step 3: Season the beef patties with salt, pepper, teriyaki sauce and sesame oil. Wipe out the frying pan and cook the patties over a medium-high heat for about 4 minutes on each side until medium rare, or to your preference. Top with a slice of cheese, if using.

    Step 4: Assemble the burgers, starting with the ramen bun, followed by the mustard relish, burger patty (cheese side up), wasabi mayonnaise, cabbage, radish, chives and Sriracha. Top with the other ramen noodle bun.

    Tip: For a quick wasabi mayonnaise, mix 1 tsp wasabi with 3 tbsp mayonnaise.

  4. Lemongrass Larb

    lemongrass larb lettuce cups
    Photo by Jacqui Melville

    What You'll Need

    Serves 2-4

    • 5 oz. dried rice vermicelli noodles, cooked according to the packet instructions
    • 1 tbsp vegetable oil
    • 1 tbsp ginger paste
    • 2 tbsp lemongrass paste
    • 2 garlic cloves, crushed
    • 1 long red chilli, deseeded and chopped
    • 14 oz. beef mince
    • 2 tbsp honey
    • 2 tbsp fish sauce
    • Juice of 1 lemon
    • ½ small bunch fresh mint, leaves picked
    • ½ small bunch fresh coriander (cilantro), leaves picked
    • 4 little gem lettuce, leaves separated
    • Lime wedges, to serve

    Directions

    Step 1: Heat the oil over a medium heat in a 20 cm (8 in) frying pan (skillet). Add the ginger, lemongrass, garlic and chilli and cook for 4–5 minutes or until fragrant.

    Step 2: Add the beef mince to the pan and increase the heat to high. Stir-fry, breaking up with a wooden spoon, for 5–6 minutes or until browned. Add the honey and fish sauce. Stir-fry for 4–5 minutes or until the beef mixture is golden and cooked. Stir in the lemon juice, mint and coriander.

    Step 3: Divide the beef mixture among the lettuce cups. Top with the noodles and serve with lime wedges.

  5. Noodle Chorizo Frittata

    noodle chorizo frittata
    Photo by Jacqui Melville

    What You'll Need

    Serves 2

    • 70 g (2½ oz) egg noodles, cooked according to the packet instructions
    • 1 tbsp olive oil
    • 120 g (4 oz) chorizo, chopped
    • 2 tbsp sun-dried tomato paste
    • 100 g (3½ oz) spinach
    • 5 medium eggs, beaten
    • salt and freshly ground black pepper
    • 3 spring onions (scallions), chopped
    • 2–3 tbsp crème fraîche (optional)
    • handful of fresh parsley, chopped

    Directions

    Step 1: Preheat the oven to 180°C (350°F/Gas 4).

    Step 2: Heat half the oil in an ovenproof frying pan over a medium-high heat and cook the chorizo for 10 minutes. Then add 1 tablespoon tomato paste and cook for another minute. Combine the chorizo with the noodles in a bowl. Add the remaining oil to the pan, then cook the spinach until wilted.

    Step 3:Season the beaten eggs with salt and black pepper, then add them to the pan along with the cooked noodles and chorizo mix and the spring onions. Cook without stirring for 3–4 minutes. Dollop over the crème fraiche (if using) and the reserved tomato paste. Transfer to the oven and cook for a further 5 minutes, or until the top is set. Sprinkle the parsley over the top of the cooked frittata and serve straight from the pan.

  6. Photo by Jacqui Melville

    Recipes excerpted with permission from Pimp My Noodles by Kathy Kordalis, published by Hardie Grant Books August 2017.