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10 High-Protein Additions to Instant Ramen Noodles

ramen-noodles

Ramen noodles often get a reputation as an unhealthy food with little nutrition value (a reputation we’ve been able to change with immi ramen!). In addition to substituting your traditional instant ramen packets with immi, another way to add more nutrition is to add in some extra protein content. 

The inherently versatile nature of ramen makes it so that you can add a variety of things to it to boost nutrition. Proteins, especially braised meat and eggs, have been a traditional part of ramen for ages. 

The options are not limited to just those two, though.

To help you put some protein in your ramen bowl, we’ve put together a list (after years of experimentation ourselves!) of what we think are the ideal high-protein additions to ramen noodles.

Top 10 Protein Add-Ons to Instant Ramen Noodles

Your ramen bowl is limited only by your imagination. This means that a huge variety of ingredients and toppings work. However, we feel that some are just better than others! 

To that end, let’s check out some of the top high-protein toppings and additions you can make to ramen noodles for both taste and nutrition. 

Braised Beef Shank

ramen-noodles

NUTRITION (Per 100 grams)

Protein: 34 grams

Total Calories: 201

Beef shank is a leaner cut of meat that’s full of flavor, especially when cooked low and slow. Adding it to ramen will create a super-meaty meal that is naturally high in protein and umami that you only get with beef.

What’s special about braised beef shank as an ingredient is that it’s tough and chewy if not cooked for a long time. 

However, once it’s put on a slow cook, it eventually becomes tender enough to cut with a spoon. That’s where it starts to ooze out that delicious beefy goodness. 

You can also go with already tender cuts such as tenderloin and filet mignon if you don’t want to deal with the extended cooking time.  

How To Serve

The best way to serve beef shank is to scoop in a whole braised piece on top of a ramen bowl and garnish with fresh chopped chives and green onion. 

You also have the option of pulling it apart and mixing it into the bowl but doing so will change the flavor and consistency of the broth. Instead, you can pull apart the meat from a whole piece and grab some ramen with a fork to eat together. A much better bite!

Rotisserie Chicken

ramen-noodles

NUTRITION (Per 100 grams)

Protein: 27 grams

Total Calories: 239

This is super-easy to make since you can buy a rotisserie chicken at the supermarket. Shred it, toss it in chili oil, and put it over some delicious ramen for a meal that’s as delicious as it is nutritious (and affordable). 

Rotisserie chicken is a much more convenient alternative to roasting chicken at home and potentially waiting over an hour for a meal that shouldn’t take more than a few minutes if you have the right ingredients. 

You can buy a whole chicken, use as much of it as you want, and save the rest for the next ramen bowl.

Plus, with most supermarkets already seasoning their chicken well, you don’t even need to add any further seasoning (although we would suggest a sprinkling of delicious MSG!). 

How To Serve

Using a fork, pull large chunks of meat off the chicken, skin included. Try to get as much of the bone as you can. Use a knife for tougher areas such as the legs. 

Top several good fork-fulls over a hot bowl of our black garlic chicken-flavored immi ramen and let it soak in the broth before eating.  

(Lean) Pulled Pork

ramen-noodles

NUTRITION (Loin – Per 100 grams)

Protein: 27 grams

Total Calories: 242

Pork is a traditional ramen topping although Chashu (braised pork belly) is not the leanest cut out there. Leaner cuts can be just as flavorful if cooked and seasoned well. 

For the best protein to overall calorie ratio, make sure you have a leaner cut of pork such as the top loin or tenderloin that’s been braised in a lightly seasoned broth.

This will ensure both consistent flavor and a fork-tender texture that naturally goes with the chewy nature of ramen. Plus, pulling the meat will increase the surface area and let the pork absorb some of that delicious ramen broth.

You can also braise raw uncured ham for an even more flavorful result. 

How To Serve

Just as with the chicken, pull the meat apart and spoon a hefty amount over a bowl of ready ramen. Stir it in the broth for a minute and top with freshly chopped parsley. 

Peanuts and Edamame

ramen-noodles

NUTRITION (Edamame – Per 100 grams)

Protein: 11 grams

Total Calories: 122

(Peanuts – Per 100 grams)

Protein: 26 grams

Total Calories: 567 

Although peanuts are slightly higher in fat, they make a great addition because you don’t have to add too many of them. Shelled edamame is both healthy and flavorful when cooked well and can be a great plant-based alternative to regular toppings. 

Both peanuts and edamame are great for a bowl of ramen since they provide a crunchy texture that you don’t usually get with instant ramen. Plus, they make for another plant-based meal sampling when served in delicious immi ramen

You can also modify the dish by adding roasted peanuts and edamame to the bowl for even deeper flavor. 

On top of that, if you’re worried about dealing with whole nut pieces, simply chop up both ingredients and spread them into the bowl for a crunch with each bite. 

How To Serve

Here you have two choices – you can either finely chop both the peanuts and edamame and mix into the bowl before serving, or you can cut them into slivers before sprinkling on top.

Lobster and Crab

ramen-noodles

NUTRITION (Lobster – Per 100 grams)

Protein: 27 grams

Total Calories: 128

(Crab – Per 100 grams)

Protein: 18 grams

Total Calories: 83 

Slightly on the expensive side, these seafood options have a ton of protein per pound, making them ideal for ramen meals. 

Lobster and crab are the gold standard in terms of seafood additions to ramen. Their combination of taste and protein content makes them the perfect ingredients, especially when paired together.

Crab, especially king crab, has a sweet and delicate taste that’s close to lobster, only slightly more tender and flaky. Lobster, on the other hand, is firmer but just as sweet. 

On top of being nutritious, crab and lobster are easy to prepare and cook. Just the meat from a pair of large claws can be enough for a full bowl of ramen. You can even buy canned crab and lobster meat, although we highly suggest you prep it yourself and save the leftovers. 

How To Serve

Extract all the meat from a claw or leg and break them up into bite-sized pieces. If you have a whole lobster tail, dice it into half-inch cubes. 

For the best result, fold the lobster meat into the broth during cooking and top with the crab meat right after serving. 

Marinated Eggs

ramen-noodles

NUTRITION (Per 100 grams)

Protein: 13 grams

Total Calories: 155

Soft boiled and marinated eggs are already a traditional topping on ramen. You can take that recipe and turn it up to 11/10 by chopping up hard-boiled eggs and tossing them in the soy sauce solution used to marinate them. 

Marinated eggs have a delicate balance of salty soy sauce flavor and the familiar softness of boiled eggs. They’re the perfect topping for a bowl, especially since you can prep and store some beforehand. 

You can choose to go with the typical soft boiled egg that’s added to ramen, in case you’re putting in halves. 

If you’re opting for the chopped up method, boil the eggs for slightly longer before marinating.

How To Serve

If you’re halving the eggs, arrange them on top of the ramen in the bowl and sprinkle with green onion and chili flakes. 

If you’re chopping the eggs, mix them into the ramen and sprinkle over some crushed MSG. This is because the eggs will dull the ramen flavor and you’ll need to bring it back up. 

Smoked Salmon

ramen-noodles

NUTRITION (Per 100 grams)

Protein: 20 grams

Total Calories: 208

Fish is always a great topping on ramen. However, for this dish, you’ll want to upgrade a little and add smoked salmon for an even more decadent meal. 

Salmon is not the first fish you think of when you consider seafood ramen. However, the oily richness of the fish lends itself really well to hot, silky ramen broth. 

Smoked salmon is better for instant ramen meals because it comes pre-cooked. You simply have to slice it up and serve. 

Plus, because it has such a velvety texture, salmon tastes better when very lightly cooked, since overcooking can drain away a lot of the oil that gives salmon its distinctive taste.

How To Serve

Cut thin slices of the salmon and arrange it in a corner of the ramen bowl. Sprinkle over some dried parsley and sprinkle some lemon juice to offset the richness. 

Lean Ground Beef

ramen-noodles

NUTRITION (Per 100 grams)

Protein: 20 grams

Total Calories: 176

Lean ground beef adds texture and taste to ramen dishes, while also increasing the protein content in each bowl. 

Although seen as bland and flavorless, lean ground beef and pork can develop a tremendous amount of flavor if prepared the right way.

The best way to whip up some ground beef is to saute it in a pan with some crushed Sichuan peppercorns, half a teaspoon of Miso paste, and black pepper. 

Once all the liquid has almost completely dried, you can simply spoon the beef into the still-cooking ramen for a brothy finish to the meat. 

How To Serve

Serve with nori seaweed and enoki mushrooms in the same way as traditional ramen. These two additional ingredients will add an awesome salty and chewy punch to the bowl, complimenting the beef. 

Napa Cabbage and Tofu

ramen-noodles

NUTRITION (Tofu – Per 100 grams)

Protein: 8 grams

Total Calories: 76

If you’re looking for a plant-based option for high-protein ramen, you can never go wrong with tofu and Napa cabbage.

Although bland ingredients on the surface, both tofu and napa cabbage are a natural fit for ramen because tofu is a major flavor-carry. This means it takes on the flavor of whatever you soak it in. The cabbage can be sliced thin and treated almost as the ramen noodle itself. 

Additionally, considering the scarcity of the calories in both, and the fact that cabbage is mostly water, this is by far the lightest meal on this list.

That doesn’t mean it won’t be flavorful though, since there’s nothing good old MSG and soy sauce can’t fix!

How To Serve

Add the tofu during the earliest stages of cooking the ramen. Let it develop flavor in the broth. When ready, add some thinly sliced cabbage and a few prawn crackers on top.  

Tempeh

ramen-noodles

NUTRITION (Per 100 grams)

Protein: 19 grams

Total Calories: 193

Another great plant-based option, tempeh is crispy outside and has a softer, nuttier texture inside that offsets the chewy softness of the ramen noodles. 

Tempeh is different from tofu in that it’s firmer and has a flavor of its own while tofu takes on flavor. 

However, due to being firmer, it responds well to various types of cooking, such as high-heat frying and barbecue. 

Plus the incredible protein density makes it the perfect vegan or plant-based addition to standard ramen. 

How To Serve

Dice the tempeh the same way you would do tofu, toss it in the broth, sprinkle it with chili oil and pepper flakes before serving. In case you want to slice it into strips, arrange it on the side of the bowl and take a bite of the strips with each mouthful of ramen.