RECIPES: Easy Miso Ramen Soup and Asian Ramen Spinach Salad



At our house, we have soup and salad night once a week per my husband's decree. It keeps us eating healthy. But sometimes, my daughter and I are not so enthused about soup and salad night. I tend to eat salad at lunch, so when dinner comes around I could eat my own arm off. And my daughter prefers warm, comfort food after a long school day. Who can blame her?

So one night, I was in charge of soup and salad night, and I LOVE Asian inspired salads. And I do love soupy Asian noodle bowls. So I came up with this combo. These recipes were adapted from the Epicurious database, but I changed them both quite a bit. The nice thing is that they have similar ingredients, so you can get more mileage out of your grocery trip.

Easy Miso Ramen Soup and Asian Ramen Spinach Salad
Ingredients:
10 oz. dried ramen noodles (3-4 ramen soup pouches with the seasoning packets discarded)
1/2 cup canned bambo shoots, drained and rinsed
1/2 can baby corn, drained and rinsed
2 1/2 oz. baby spinach leaves, ripped and torn into rough pieces
1 Tbsp. sesame oil
1 clove garlic, crushed
salt to taste
8 1/2 cups vegetable broth
3 tsp. fish sauce
1 Tbsp. soy sauce
4 Tbsp. fresh miso paste
1 stalk green onion, finely chopped
6 white tops of scallions, chopped
4 tsp. chili oil or Siracha (otional)

Directions:
Make the noodles:
Boil a large pot of salted water. Add the ramen noodles and corn kernels and cook according to package directions, usually about 3 minutes).  Drain and set aside.

In a small sauté pan, heat the sesame oil and cook the crushed garlic until softened. Add the torn spinach leaves and cook until wilted. Season with salt and pepper and set aside.

In a large stock pot, add the vegetable broth, fish sauce, soy sauce and chopped white scallion tops. Bring to a boil over high heat. Lower and simmer for 10 minutes. Take off the heat and stir in the miso. Add the noodles to the broth. Mix, and serve in soup bowls. Garnish the top with a handful of spinach, and bamboo shoots. Serve hot with chili oil or Siracha on the side for people who like things spicy.

Asian Ramen Spinach Salad
Ingredients:
2 Tbsp. Sesame oil
4 Tbsp. Olive oil
3 Tbsp. sugar
3 Tbsp. rice vinegar
3 Tbsp. soy sauce
1/2 tsp. garlic powder
1/2 tsp. ground ginger
Another 1 Tbsp. olive oil + 1 Tbsp. sesame oil
13 oz. ramen noodle soup mix, use the noodles only, coarsely broken
1/2 cup sliced almonds
2 Tbsp. sesame seeds
1 10 oz. bag baby spinach leaves
6 green onions, tops only, chopped

Directions:
Make the dressing:
In a small bowl, whisk in the oils, sugar, vinegar, soy sauce, salt and pepper. Set aside.

In a sauté pan, heat the remaining 1 Tbsp olive oil and 1 Tbsp. sesame oil over medium heat. Add the broken up noodles, nuts and sesame seeds and brown, tossing and stirring frequently. Transfer to a bowl to cool completely.

In a large salad bowl, toss the spinach leaves with the green onions. Top with the nut mixture and with the dressing. Toss salad and serve with extra dressing.

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