Spinach, green onions, and wakame are the most common veggie ramen toppings.
1. You need vegetables
In the cold winter of 2001 at Seven Eleven in Japan, I parked my bicycle in the parking lot.
I just started my new life at a new place, Tokyo, and I didn’t feel healthy.
Clearly it was a lack of some vitamins and fiber.
I grabbed some cut veggies and instant noodles and cooked them together.
2. You will feel better, healthier, and happier
There are more reasons that you want to put some veggies in your ramen…
1. The green makes your ramen beautiful. You will have an increased appetite than just plain instant ramen.
2. Veggies add some complexity to your ramen.
3. You will feel less guilty when you eat ramen.
You have never put vegetables in your ramen?
I wouldn’t say, “Oh, you're unhealthy” or “ What a waste since you've never tried it.”
I would say...
“Wow, you are the happiest person in the world, because you can experience something really good for the first time!”
3. Veggies that you see at a ramen shop: You must try these first...
There are three reasons which makes spinach a well-liked topping for ramen.
First, spinach has a lot of vitamins and is a great source of nutrition.
In addition, the deep dark green color of spinach adds color to your ramen making it aesthetically tasty.
Spinach also works well with thick soup because of its simple, yet refreshing taste.
This helps with digestion and the stuffy and heavy feeling from thick broth.
Green onions promote the taste of ramen by creating a harmony with the soup.
The smell and spiciness of green onions add a punch to your ramen.
People have used green onions for folk remedy because...
They believed that green onions can help you recover from exhaustion.
After knowing that, I feel energetic after eating them.
Menma is fermented bamboo shoots. The type of bamboo used to make menma is called machiku.
The process of the lactic fermentation, aging, and sun drying give menma its umami flavour.
If you can find it where you live, you are lucky.
It will add some umami into your broth.
This is seaweed full of minerals, fibers, and vitamins.
The fibers in wakame are really good for your gut.
And it is also good for your blood pressure.
Because the alginic acid in these fibers help to discharge cholesterol and natrium from your body.
Literally meaning “white-haired” green onion.
The shiraga negi is the shredded white part of the green onion.
How it is shredded affects the flavor.
So it’s important that the shiraga negi is shredded at a right angle and vertically.
Takanazuke is pickled mustard leaf. Takana is a plant with hot leaves and stems.
It goes great especially with tonkotsu ramen.
It is a common topping that goes well with miso ramen.
People enjoy the combination of bean sprouts with their ramen as it adds a texture of crunchiness to their noodles.
However, some people don’t like this as a topping as the moisture from the bean sprouts can thin out the taste of the soup.
Nira is leek in Japanese.
In some Japanese ramen restaurants, you can see spicy marinated leeks inside a small bowl on the counter or your table.
Leeks are a heavenly match to shio tonkotsu ramen.
4. Need to use the veggies from your fridge?
The crisp taste of cabbage adds the perfect finishing touch to miso ramen.
And it is often used as a topping in this type of ramen.
Carrots contain many nutrients.
There are carotenoids, vitamin C, vitamin K, dietary fiber, and minerals.
I recommend adding pan fried carrots to ramen as a topping.
The soft and juicy texture of baby corn gives some accent to your ramen.
5. Other vegetable options are…
This Eastern cabbage makes a good topping for ramen.
It doesn't have any strong or distinct flavor, but you can taste a little tiny bit of sweetness.
This taste of nappa goes well with all kinds of ramen soup.
This sour and sweet vegetable adds some freshness to your ramen.
But make sure the tomato is not too hot to eat.
Did you know?
Each color of peppers have different nutrients.
So you should make your ramen colorful using different colors of peppers.
I recommend pan frying peppers,
So you can take in carotene effectively.
Originating from Sapporo, Hokkaido, is the healthy ramen option called “ramen salad”.
Asparagus makes the perfect topping for this type of ramen.
I recommend pan frying it or making pumpkin tempura.
Preparing your pumpkin in either of these ways, the amount of sweetness and umami in the pumpkin increases.
You can find mushrooms in the vegetable section at a supermarket.
But they are actually not plants.
They are in their own category called fungi.
Mushrooms boost your intestinal health.
Do you know why?
Because fibers in mushrooms are great food for intestinal flora in your gut.
When your gut health improves, you will be healthier because your immune system gets better.
It has a good influence on your mental health too.
Because your gut and brain are connected by the vagus nerve.
Happy intestinal flora means a happy life.
Here are my mushroom recommendations for ramen toppings.
Pan-fry these mushrooms and add on your ramen!
Enoki looks vulnerable because it is pale and thin.
But It is chock full of nutrition.
Niacin and biotin make your skin smooth and healthy.
If you saute it with butter and soy sauce it will taste like scallops.
And it will make a great ramen topping.
Eringi (King Oyster Mushrooms)
It has a fresh taste and a nice texture.
Eringi is low calorie, but gives you satisfaction and fullness.
Slice it or rip it by hand vertically and pan fry, deep fry, or cook it in an oven.
It smells SOOOOO good and tastes delicious!
This is my absolute favorite mushroom!
I get mad if I can’t find any of it at a supermarket.
Maitake contains MD-fraction and this suppresses the rise of blood sugar.
It also helps your immune system too.
Umami from shiitake will enhance your ramen soup if you use it for the topping.
Shiitake contains guanylic acid. This is one of the biggest umami acids.
It also has a lot of vitamin D.
Vitamin D is good for your skin, immune system, and mental health.
6. Cook your vegetables
Now you have the full list of ramen vegetable toppings.
But we are not through yet.
Because there are many ways to cook those vegetables.
Keep reading and you will find out...
Pan frying on high heat for a short period of time is actually a good way to cook vegetables.
Because it can prevent the veggies from losing their nutrition by heat.
It’s the simplest way of cooking vegetables.
Put your veggies in an oven or oven toaster and set a timer.
There are 2 ways to boil your vegetables.
1. One is cooking veggies after you bring the water to a boil.
You use this way for the vegetables that you harvest from the ground.
For example, leaves, beans, and tomatoes.
They cook fast.
2. The other is cooking veggies from cold water.
This is for potatoes, and other root vegetables.
They are thick, so they take time to cook.
Boiling them this way will allow veggies to be cooked evenly.
Cooking your veggies by hot piping steam.
It is very easy and healthy once you get used to this method.
Marinating can add some flavor onto your veggies.
Use vinegar, lemon, wine, or olive oil as a marinating liquid.
And add some herbs, onions, green onions, garlic, or gingers.
Fermenting vegetables takes time, but eating fermented food can improve your immune system and prevent you from getting sick.
Due to Covid, a lot of good ramen restaurants have closed
It makes me feel very angry.
I used to eat ramen out frequently,
But in this situation,
Ramen shops have started to shorten the hours, limit the number of customers, or even closed their shops.
It has affected the industry so much.
I am afraid good ramen will be gone
But meanwhile, you still can enjoy ramen in the comfort of your own home.
Here are some of my recommendations for ramen lovers.
1. Sapporo Ichiban Shio Flavor
MY THOUGHTS OVERALL ★★★★☆
In truth, Sapporo Ichiban delivers a good quality shio ramen experience.
Actually, it is very difficult to find good shio ramen.
Do you know why?
Because it is very difficult to make it since it is very simple.
There are many good shoyu and miso flavored instant noodles out there.
But I feel specifically, the shio flavor market is monopolized by Sapporo Ichiban.
Think about this for a moment having good shio ramen for your dinner with your favorite ramen toppings.
Now, you want some, don’t you?
2. Nissin Raoh Shoyu Flavor
MY THOUGHTS OVERALL ★★★★★
It is nearly impossible to make restaurant quality noodles at home without the right tools and equipment.
How can you beat that?
Using Raoh’s shoyu flavour will help you achieve this easily. This is top-notch ramen hands down!
One pinnacle of instant noodles is the soy sauce flavor. It is expensive compared to regular ones but let me tell you, it deserves every single penny.
In a nutshell, I loved every bit of it.
...And I am sure you will too.
3. The problem here is that no toppings come with these packets.
Here are some topping options and recipes for you.
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😢 ...small bowls that aren’t large enough for soups, noodles and toppings.
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About the Author
Kei is a self-proclaimed ramen lover, blog writer and founder of "Apex S.K. Japanese tableware".
"I am from Ibaraki, Japan.
Ramen is great! It can bring you a sense of happiness and satisfaction that no other food can. I have been eating ramen for 30 years.
If there is no ramen, my life would be miserable.
Ten years ago, I worked as an office worker. The job was really stressful - excessive working hours, low wages, unpaid overtime work, and constantly being yelled at by my boss.
I was new and alone, no girlfriend, no friends, and felt very lonely.
My only oasis was the ramen shop near the office. For me, the ramen chef there was literally an angel. I saw a halo on his head. (No joke)
Tonkotsu shoyu ramen was my all-time favorite. He made ramen with broth chock-full of umami flavor, nice chewy handmade noodles, and tender chashu.
My greatest dream is connect people with ramen through my blog. I want to share a lot of interesting and funny stories and ramen trivia with you.
Knowing more about ramen can help you appreciate your ramen and make it taste extra delicious."
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