Instant Noodle Bowls are the antidote to boring lunches and the superhero of make ahead meals! Super versatile, a great way to use leftover, and easily adapted to gluten-free and paleo lifestyles.
Easy and Delicious
Instant Noodle Bowls are a high brow, adult-ish, fancy schmancy, much healthier version of ramen noodles. They are easily made ahead, stored in a jar or thermos, and warmed when ready with boiling water. Kiss you boring sandwich goodbye and say hello to your upgraded lunch!
Lunch? To be honest I eat these for dinner. I prefer dinner to be my smaller, simpler, easier meal. For the same reasons I love slow cooker meals, I totally dig noodle jars. I start an assembly line and customize each jar, my husband likes everything, my son hates everything;), and I have so many gut issues that I can only eat a handful of random things… making these noodle bowls perfect for my quirky crew!
Gluten Free Instant Noodle Bowls
Use gluten-free spaghetti, rice noodles, gluten-free brown rice ramen noodles, or mung beans for your pasta component. Most commercial soy sauces contain gluten, instead choose Tamari or Bragg’s Liquid Aminos, both taste delicious. I use about 1 – 2 tsp per noodle jar, 1 tsp is subtle and 2 in noticeable. If I find I want more kick I just add some right before eating.
Choose a gluten-free base such as chicken broth or Herbox Gluten Free Cubes. Use one Herbox cube per noodle bowl.
Soup Base Options
I avoid traditional bouillion cubes because they upset my tummy. But, I love that salty, intensely broth-like flavor so I’ve found some equally delicious alternatives. Better Than Bouillion is my hands down favorite, I add 1-2 tsp to the base of all my noodle jars. If you are using lots of heat, you can use just 1 tsp, but if you lay low on the heat bump up the base to 2 tsp for a punch of broth flavor.
Another option is using homemade or boxed chicken broth/stock. Instead of adding hot water to your instant noodles, add hot chicken broth. When using this option consider adding a bit for Tamari/Braggs and a tad more spice from garlic, ginger, garlic chili sauce, etc.
Herb-Ox Bouillon Cubes Chicken Bouillon Flavor is a great gluten-free option.
Protein Options For Your Instant Noodle Bowls
- Chicken – use freshly cooked chicken breast, leftovers from last night’s dinner, a rotisserie you grab at the grocery, or deli shaved meat (I used Boars Head Chicken today). Tip: Noodle bowls are the perfect way to use leftover protein, shred or chunk it up and it gets a whole new life!
- Jerky – Yup! It works! After soaking in your broth for a few minutes it will reconstitute and make an unexpectedly pleasant protein option.
- Boiled Eggs – Add boiled eggs before serving. I throw two boiled eggs in my lunch bag and toss them into the soup before eating.
- Beans – canned beans (no need to cook), or dried cooked beans will work fine. They’ll heat up when you add the boiling water and steep before serving.
Building Your Noodle Bowl
Jars For Instant Noodle Bowls
You can prep your noodle bowls in an airtight container, a wide mouth mason jar, or a glass clamp and lock jar like this. You want something that holds about 30 – 40 ounces (if you want to steep it in the jar). If you plan to unpack your bowl and heat it on the stove, then a smaller jar of about 20+ ounces is just fine.
Instant Noodle Bowl with Chicken and a Boiled Egg
- 1-2 tsps bouillon base such as Better Than Bouillion, or 1 chicken bouillion cube
- 1-2 tsp soy sauce, tamari, coconut aminos, or Bragg's Liquid Aminos
- noodles - I used 2 ounces (about 1 serving) or gluten free rice noodles
- 2-4 ounces protein, chopped
- boiled egg, optional but so good
- veggies - carrots, corn, mushrooms, peppers, green onion, etc - use what you love
- 1 tsp or handful chopped cilantro
- 2 tsp green onions (scallions), chopped
- 2 cups boiling water (chicken broth if you are omitting the bouillon)
- Build your bowl with wet ingredients on the bottom and dry on top
- Starting at the bottom of your bowl/jar, add in this order
- soup base or bouillon cube
- tamari or soy sauce
- cup cooked noodles, drained. Cook al dente, as they will soften more when boiling water is added. *If using rice noodles, you can add them dry and they will cook in the thermos
- canned, precooked or wet vegetables (beans, corn, etc)
- carrots - use either matchstick or lightly cooked carrots (they'll soften more when you add the boiling water)
- leafy vegetables such as spinach, bean sprouts, etc.
- herbs (for ultimate freshness place your herbs in a baggie and add them to the top before eating).
- Store in airtight container until ready to eat
- When Ready To Eat:
- Hot Water Option:
- Add 2 cups boiling water. Close thermos/jar and allow to steep for 5 minutes.
- Broth Option:
- *If you are using chicken broth (instead of a bouillon base) empty you bowl contents into a pot on the stove, add 2 cups broth and heat for 5-6 minutes.