I broadened this recipe (having done a more specific vegetarian version for my book Simple Green Suppers) to be super flexible during this time when we're all cooking more at home. The idea, at its simplest, is really to encourage you to combine noodles, hot broth, and sautéed veggies for comfort in a bowl. You can even take it a step further and serve it garnished with sliced sirloin tips or grilled chicken.

It’s true that most noodle soups get a great deal of their flavor from the broth, and ramen soups at restaurants (in particular) rely on rich pork or chicken broths made from bones and hours of cooking. Assuming that’s not an option for you right now (or ever!) I’m sharing a few tricks with you: Spike boxed chicken broth with soy sauce, fish sauce, oyster sauce, or Braggs Liquid Aminos to give it a deeper flavor. (Add ginger and garlic, too.) Or if you’ve got time and you’re a vegetarian, make your own vegetable broth (here’s a recipe) and give that extra flavor with a combination of miso paste, tamari and ginger. If all else fails, you can turn water into broth by sautéing an onion and some garlic (or ginger), adding salt and pepper, and simmering the water for a bit!

Have some fun with the noodles in a soup like this. Instead of packaged ramen, I buy Chinese curly wheat noodles (Kame brand) when I can, but most recently I had a package of fresh (egg) lo mein noodles in my fridge that I needed to use. Any fresh egg pasta would be nice, but dried will have to do in a pinch (linguine, perhaps).

Serve the soup in a big, wide bowl. This kind of “soup” is designed to go big on the noodles and veggies and less on the amount of broth. A poached or soft-boiled egg is optional, as are toasted sesame seeds or roasted peanuts. Cilantro of course is always nice, but if you don’t have it, no worries. Serve with both a spoon and a fork.

Serves 2

  • 4 to 5 ounces dried Chinese curly wheat noodles or baked ramen noodles (or 6 to 7 ounces fresh egg or other noodles)
  • Kosher salt
  • 2 tablespoons grapeseed oil (or other vegetable oil), more if needed
  • 4 cups chopped (1 to 1 ½ inch pieces) or sliced vegetables (keep separate or combine; use a combination of peppers, onions or shallots, mushrooms, eggplant, cauliflower or Brussels sprouts or broccoli, bok choy or napa cabbage, or whatever you like) 
  • 1 tablespoon minced fresh ginger (or garlic, or both)
  • 4 cups broth (homemade Rich Vegetable Broth or boxed chicken broth)
  • 1 tablespoon white (Shiro) miso paste (optional if using chicken broth)
  • 2 tablespoons low-sodium tamari (plus more to taste, or replace 1 tablespoon with 1 tablespoon oyster sauce)
  • 1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil
  • 2 large eggs, poached or soft-boiled (optional)
  • Fresh black pepper
  • 1 to 2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro (optional)
  • 1 to 2 teaspoons toasted sesame seeds or 2 to 3 tablespoons chopped roasted peanuts or toasted almonds (optional)
  • 2 lime wedges (optional)
  • ¼ to 1/3 cup sliced scallions (any parts, optional)


1. Bring a pot of salted water to a boil and cook the noodles until just done. Drain them well and rinse briefly under cold water. Let dry a bit longer, then season with a few pinches of salt.

2. In a medium or large nonstick sauté pan, heat 1 tablespoon of oil over medium heat. Sautè the vegetables in batches, adding oil as necessary, until they are browned in places and starting to shrink (about 5 to 7 minutes). Reserve.

3. In a glass measure, combine the miso (if using), tamari, sesame oil, and 2 tablespoons water. Whisk well.

4. In a medium saucepan, heat 2 to 3 teaspoons of oil over medium-low heat and add the ginger (or garlic, or both). Sautè until softened, add the broth, and bring it to a boil. Take the pot off the heat and whisk the miso mixture into the hot broth. 

5. Divide the noodles between two wide, deep soup bowls, mounding them slightly in the center. Ladle half of the broth around the noodles. Arrange the vegetables around the edges (in groups if you like), and ladle on the remaining broth. Add an egg to each bowl (if using) and season with salt and pepper. Garnish with cilantro, sesame seeds or nuts, lime wedges, and/or scallions. Serve right away with a fork and a spoon.