Enjoy the ease, speed, and savory, satisfying umami taste of an instant noodle bowl without all the unhealthy additives with this do-it-yourself tofu miso instant noodle bowl. With just a few ingredients and a mason jar, you can make this delicious and healthy soup in fifteen minutes! Tofu, miso paste, spinach, and thin noodles combine to make a super-quick lunch packed with protein, iron, and many other nutrients.
I have been a fan of instant noodle bowls for a long time. Like many of us, I relied on instant ramen noodle packages when I was just out of college and living on my own. I loved the salty, tangy taste and they filled me up for just around a dollar a meal! I quickly got more interested in my health and whole foods, so I had to let the instant ramen meals go. But in a pinch, when I am in a rush or when I am craving a quick umami taste, I will still buy an instant noodle bowl package. So when I saw this mason jar instant noodle bowl idea in one of my new cookbooks, Mad Genius Tips, by Justin Chapple and the Editors of Food and Wine, I was very excited. (That book is full of fun and great ideas, by the way, and I am excited to try more!)
The great thing about making your own noodle bowls is that you can vary the recipe depending on what you have on hand and what kind of taste you want, and you can make them really healthy! Also, they are portable so you can pack them and then make them at work, or wherever you can get hot water. Just layer the ingredients in a mason jar or other type of heat-proof jar, pour in some boiling water, close the lid, and wait for five minutes. In this case, with the miso, I found that it works best to add the miso paste mixed with some warm water after the five minutes, since it is not good for the miso to boil.
The recipe below is loosely based on one I found in Mad Genius Tips, though I used tofu instead of chicken and changed a few other things around as well. Also, I found that pouring the soup into a bowl after it cooks in the mason jar makes it easier to eat, so that is why I call it a noodle bowl instead of a noodle cup.
Miso is one of my favorite ways to add the savory umami flavor to foods. It is made from aged and fermented soybeans, so it contains that “good” bacteria that is so popular now. In addition to the beneficial micro-organisms, miso is a complete protein and is full of minerals and antioxidants. There are lots of different types of miso paste, including white miso, yellow miso, and red miso. The kind I use in this tofu miso instant noodle bowl is considered brown miso, (or Genmai Miso), and it is aged and fermented soybeans and brown rice. It has a pretty strong flavor, so a little goes a long way.
White miso is considered the most mild kind, and red miso is also quite strong. You can use any type of miso you like in this noodle bowl, and adjust the amount to your taste. The other important thing I have learned about using miso paste is that as I mentioned above, you should not let it boil, because that can destroy the micro-organisms and make it grainy, so I prefer to add the miso paste to the mixture after it has steeped in the boiling water, and the water has cooled a bit.
I like to buy baked tofu because it is fairly firm and holds up well. Since the cooking time is only about five minutes, the noodles need to be either very thin noodles that are made to be cooked almost instantly, or noodles that have already been cooked. I have used both, and they both work well. I especially like using a type of Japanese noodles called Tomoshiraga Somen because they are almost as thin as thread, and cook really quickly. I have also used leftover cooked spaghetti or angel hair noodles, and they work too, if you are trying to use up your leftovers. If you have leftover cooked vegetables and want to add them, give it a try! Otherwise, quick-cooking vegetables like spinach, peas, or mushrooms work best.
I hope you all have a great weekend! If you are looking for a very quick, healthy, heart-warming lunch, give this tofu miso instant noodle bowl a try! There is nothing like soup to warm the body and soul on a cold day.
Tofu Miso Instant Noodle Bowl
- 1/3 cup (or about 2 ounces) of baked tofu, cut into cubes
- 1/2 cup of fresh spinach, torn into bite sized pieces
- about 1 and 3/4 ounces, or about 1/2 cup of very thin oriental style noodles (or previously cooked angel hair or spaghetti pasta), broken or cut to fit into a wide-mouth one-pint Mason jar
- 1 tablespoon (or to taste) of brown, red, or white miso paste
- about 1 and 3/4 cups of boiling water, plus about 1/2 cup of warm water for the miso paste
Cut the baked tofu into cubes and tear the spinach into bite sized pieces. Layer the tofu and spinach in a one-pint Mason jar. Add the noodles, breaking them or cutting them into pieces that fit through the opening of the jar, filling the jar to the top. Set the miso paste aside. Heat some water in a kettle until it just boils. Pour the hot water into the Mason jar and screw on the lid. Let the Mason jar sit for five minutes. Meanwhile, in a small bowl, mix the miso paste with a bit (1/2 cup or so) of warm water, whisking it till the clumps dissolve. When the five minutes are done, remove the lid from the Mason jar and pour the contents into a bowl. Stir in the miso-water mixture until everything is combined. Enjoy!