When omnivores get sick, they eat chicken noodle soup. Up until now, our vegan version of chicken noodle soup has been Top Ramen, so inexpensive and it always hits the spot! (The Oriental Flavor Top Ramen is vegan. Don’t buy the Maruchan oriental flavor, it contains beef broth!). The problem with ramen is that the seasoning packet is not only extremely high in sodium, but it is full of chemicals and preservatives.
So this week when my husband and son became sick with the flu, I decided to try a healthier version of our favorite ramen! I threw out the seasoning packet, used my own broth, added some fresh garlic, and kale for the grown-ups, and it was a hit. Garlic has anti-inflammatory and antiviral properties, and kale is a powerhouse of nutrition, containing large amounts of vitamin K, vitamin A, and calcium, as well as smaller amounts of many other vitamins and minerals. What more could you want when you are sick?
Next time I might try making this soup with another type of noodle, such as soba noodles or whole wheat linguine, and toss out the ramen altogether! But here’s the recipe I used this time around:
- 1 Tbsp olive oil
- 3-4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
- 1/2 large bunch of kale, de-stemmed and coarsely chopped*
- 5-6 cups water
- 4 tsp vegetable bouillon**
- 2 packages Top Ramen noodles
- salt and black pepper to taste
Heat oil in a soup pot over medium heat. Add garlic and sautee for a minute or two. Add kale and cook, stirring, for about 2 minutes to allow kale to wilt. (You might want to add a splash of water while kale is cooking). Add the rest of the water and bouillon (or prepared broth, if desired). Bring to a boil, and add ramen noodles. Cook for 3-5 minutes. If you use an unsalted or lightly salted broth, you may need to add salt at this point. I didn’t add any with the bouillon that I used.
* I made this soup in two pots, one with kale, one without. My kids are not fond of kale and I wanted to prepare a nice comforting soup that my sick 5 year old would enjoy.
** I used Better Than Bouillon No Chicken Base for this soup. It makes it really taste like the Chicken Noodle Soup I remember. Better Than Bouillon also makes a basic vegetable base as well. This is my favorite kind of bouillon – it is a paste rather than a powder, so it dissolves wonderfully. The ingredients are wholesome and recognizeable as well!