How many of you are hungry, or tired, and know you should eat something nutritious… but you just can’t think of anything good!? Like most of the world, I’ve been under a lot of stress lately, and I notice that I lose my appetite when I’m stressed. So I need meals that are quick, easy, yet highly nutritious.

I decided to start this new recipe series to share some ideas and hopefully make it easier for the rest of you also staring at the fridge, wondering WHAT to cook/eat.

I’m going to give lots of options for variations so you can adjust according to what you have on hand, and your dietary restrictions – again, hoping to make this easy. Let me know if I succeed!

Okay so let’s start with ramen, or noodle soup, or gentle nourishment in a bowl…

If you’re making ramen, ideally you should have some frozen homemade broth on hand – chicken broth, beef broth, mushroom broth, fish broth, veggie broth – they all work equally well (click those links for recipes!). But of course, you can use store-bought broth, or even water with bouillon added, if that’s all you have. In that case, then try to add a spoon of bone broth protein powder, like this one, to boost the nutrition.

I put my broth in one pot to thaw while boiling water for the noodles in another pot. I love, love, love these organic millet and brown rice ramen noodles by Lotus Foods (I buy them bulk from Costco). But of course, you can use whichever noodles you like and cook them until they are al dente (firm, not mushy/soft).

Then I take a look at what I’ve already got in my fridge/freezer that I can throw in my ramen. Today, I have enough fresh veggies, so I get them prepped (while my water and broth are heating), ready to throw into my broth when it’s hot. For me, this is enough veggies for 2 servings:

The key to great-tasting veggies is to add them according to cooking time; add the veggies that need the longest to cook, first. So in my selection above, I threw the carrots in as soon as my broth was hot, then 5 minutes later I threw in the cabbage, then just before serving (3-5 minutes later) I added the cucumber, arugula and cilantro.

Did you know you can listen to your gut when you’re cooking too? I call it intuitive cooking and I have done it with teenage boys who have never cooked and don’t even know what garlic is. Their body knows! And it knows how much it wants. So give yourself freedom to just go for it. The worst that can happen is your veggies are undercooked a bit, or mushy – who cares? It’s all good.

Also, it doesn’t matter what you use in your ramen – this is the beauty of it. Adjust your veggies according to your tolerance and what you have on hand. Other great options are:

  • mushrooms (shiitake, reishi, oyster, button, etc)
  • zucchini
  • peas
  • green or yellow beans
  • bok choy (baby bok choy is easier to digest), sui choy
  • spinach, kale, collard, beet greens
  • mixed super greens (baby super greens are easier to digest, and blanching them in hot soup makes them more digestible)
  • broccoli, rabe, cauliflower (stems are easier to digest and produce less gas – just peel and chop)
  • seaweed (wakame is nice)
  • cooked chicken, lamb, beef
  • seafood; fish, prawns, scallops, lobster
  • tofu, tempeh

Once your tougher veggies have cooked and you’re ready to add your delicate veggies/greens and your protein, now is the time to add soy sauce to taste. You may also want to add additional bouillon for more flavor, and if you love Asian food, then add some Thai Fish Sauce – just a few squirts – for that umami aspect. Toasted sesame oil is another must-have layer of flavor for me – again, add what your body wants. Or just start with 1 tsp and increase from there as desired. I usually add about 1 tsp toasted sesame oil per serving. You can add it to your pot of soup, or to the bottom of your bowl, stir in your noodles, then add your soup mixture. Again, whichever way you do it, it’s all good!

When your soup is ready, then add your cooked noodles and serve immediately in large bowls with chopsticks and a spoon.

Remember, you can add the amount of veggies and protein that you prefer. Some people may want a lot of veggies and only a small amount of noodles:

Others prefer lots of noodles with their veggies – let your body/gut guide you! Don’t ask your tastebuds, ask your belly:

After I’ve added my noodles and veggies, I do a final taste test and add more soy sauce, if needed.

Let me know if that was easy/helpful and also post below (or email me) any of your favorite easy meals. If I get enough recipes, I can put them together into a recipe book for us 🙂