I definitely missed ramen noodles after I was diagnosed with celiac.
I would find myself longing for the ease and comfort of instant noodles whenever I was sick, on chilly nights, or when I would have a bout of nostalgia for my broke college days.
Well, the gluten-free market has filled the void, and answered our prayers. We’ve reviewed for you the different brands making gluten-free ramen and we’ve got the scoop on which are tastiest.
We’ll also provide you with a quick, tasty recipe for you to make your own version of ramen noodles!
1. Lotus Foods
Lotus Foods offers ramen noodles in those little packets we know and love. It is prepared in the same fashion, by boiling water, adding noodles, and then adding their flavor packets. They offer three varieties: Jade Pearl (rice noodles), Forbidden Rice (black rice noodles) and Millet & Brown Rice. Lotus Foods ramen noodles also have 33% less sodium than regular ramen, are made with non-GMO ingredients, and are vegan. What I like most about this variety is that they remind me so much of the steamy hot comfort food that I miss. The noodles come the closest to mimicking regular ramen noodles (some of the other varieties are very obviously rice noodles and these are not). The flavor for me is lacking, though. I find I have to either add soy sauce to boost the flavor or I just use the noodles to make one of my own ramen creations described below!
2. King Soba
King Soba makes two kinds of ramen noodles with flavor packets (Chilli Miso and Edamame Miso) as well as three types of noodles that can be used to create your own flavorful ramen (Brown Rice, Black Rice and Buckwheat). The ramen noodle packets have a great price point at $2.79 and the chilli miso is my favorite. These are tasty but I think I prefer the Lotus Foods ramen, as well as the Lotus Foods noodle packets for making my own ramen.
3. Thai Kitchen
Thai Kitchen offers the most variety when it comes to flavor choices. Their Instant Rice Noodle Soups are available in Bangkok Curry, Lemongrass & Chilli, Thai Ginger, Garlic & Vegetable and Spring Onion. They also have Rice Noodle Soup Bowls, and flavor options include Hot & Sour, Roasted Garlic, Thai Ginger, Lemongrass & Chilli, Spring Onion & Mushroom Rice. I have had both of their noodle soup options and love the Bangkok Curry and Lemongrass & Chili. They are a bit different than traditional ramen noodles and are the spiciest of the bunch. I love that these can be eaten right in the bowls they are packaged in and in general I am a staunch supporter of Thai Kitchen, so these get the biggest thumbs up!
4. Simply Asia Rice Noodle Soup Bowls
Simply Asia soup bowls come in Spring Vegetable, Sesame Chicken, Garlic Sesame and Shiitake Mushroom. The Sesame Chicken is super tasty! They also come in a prepackaged bowl so all you have to do is add hot water. Simply Asia Rice Noodle Bowls are also cholesterol free, egg-free and steam cooked. While I liked these better than the similar Thai Kitchen bowls, they still did not add up to the Lotus or King Soba.
5. Explore Asian Soybean Noodle Soup
Explore Asian Soybean soup bowls come in flavors most associated with regular ramen noodles: Beef, Chicken, and Vegetable. They also include the salt in a separate package, allowing for you to control how much sodium you’d like with your ramen. While this soup is flavorful and filling, the noodles were lacking to me. This was the least similar to the traditional ramen noodles I know and love. Similar to Thai Kitchen, these have the benefit of being ready-to-eat in the bowl they are packaged in, just add hot water, wait a few minutes and enjoy!
Homemade Ramen Noodles
More than any of the options above, I like to create my own ramen. My favorite noodles are Lotus Foods Jade Pearl Rice Ramen Cakes (they come in packages of four). I combine the following ingredients when I make my own ramen:
1 can of organic coconut milk (I like my ramen creamy and have found that almond milk also works great for this, if you prefer less creamy ramen you can use 1 ½ – 2 cups of water)
2 tablespoons of powdered chicken or veggie broth
Splash of gluten-free soy sauce or tamari
Chopped green onions
Add-ons: mushrooms, lemongrass, bok choy, a tablespoon of miso paste or chilli paste, drop of sesame oil, curry paste, soft boiled egg, tofu or chicken, greens
Combine broth ingredients in a pot and bring to boil. Add ramen noodles and boil for 3 minutes or until noodles are tender. Add to soup any additional ingredients that you would like, pour into a bowl and enjoy! Repeat as necessary.
If you know of other gluten-free ramen alternatives or have recipe suggestions, please share! We (and by we I mean my ramen-loving stomach and myself) would love to hear your ideas!