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Cheap Eats for the Trail: Ramen Plus

Simmering Ramen Plus

Tired of eating that freeze-dried glop they call backpacking food?  Oh, and how about paying for that stuff?  I mean they charge outrageous prices for that stuff – stuff that really isn’t all that good.  How come there isn’t a good tasting, reasonably priced alternative!?

Are your backpacking views inspired but your meals lacking? Try this.
Is your scenery incredibly beautiful – and your food incredibly lacking? Lake Cecile, Sierra Nevada Mountains, California

There are alternatives, and you need look no farther than your local grocery store.  Today, I’m going to cover what I call Ramen Plus.

BUT WAIT!  I know what you’re thinking:  “Ramen?”  “Oh, great, Hikin’ Jim, what a super tip that is.” [insert sarcastic eye roll here]  “I’ve eaten Top Ramen a gazillion times, and it’s no prize catch.” Too true!  But who said anything about Top Ramen?  Get yourself some real ramen.

My wife is from Japan, and when she saw me eating Top Ramen, her first question was “why on earth are you eating that?”  This was my first subtle clue that maybe there was more to ramen than just Top Ramen.  She turned me on to Sapporo Ichiban Ramen.

Simmering Ramen Plus
Sapporo Ichiban Ramen

Now, Sapporo Ichiban is still just noodles.  I’m a big guy (6′ 0″, 220 lbs), and noodles alone just aren’t enough.  So what can we do to “beef up” just plain noodles and make it into a hungry hiker satisfying meal?  Well, there may be a lot of ways, but let me suggest a dead simple one:  Ramen Plus.  Here’s what you need:

Here's what you need for Ramen Plus
The basic ingredients of Ramen Plus: Sapporo Ichiban Ramen + Just Veggies + Some kind of protein.
My favorite protein ingredient is Trader Joes Teriyaki Turkey Jerky.

Ramen Plus Recipe

  1. A package of Sapporo Ichiban Ramen noodles.
  2. A Ziploc baggie with some Just Veggies in it.    I usually add about 1/4 to 1/2 cup per package of ramen.  Note:  I typically buy Just Veggies in the 8 oz size on Amazon simply because it’s cheaper.  I’ve also seen it at REI and in grocery stores in the 4 oz size which tends to be a bit more expensive.  One 8 oz bag of Just veggies corresponds to a dozen or more packets of ramen.
  3. Some kind of protein (salami, pepperoni, jerky, sausage, dried beef, bacon bits, etc.)

Can you put in other things?  Sure!  Whatever you like.  I’m simply proposing one easy method of making a quick, tasty meal.  You might also add things like various spices, chives or green onions, dried sea weed, etc.  Pretty much any dried (or fresh) vegetable makes a great addition.  On shorter trips, sometimes I’ll bring a raw egg to drop in, a fairly traditional addition to ramen.

Ramen Plus: Good backpacking eats for cheap
Add half a cup of Just Veggies

Easy?  Just how easy?  Well, easy enough that you can make it pretty much with any type of stove:  Alcohol, canister gas, white gas, etc.  All you do is bring the water to a boil, add the noodles, add the veggies and protein, stir it all up, let it sit for 6 to 8 minutes, and then serve.  Dead simple.  For best taste, simmer the Ramen Plus instead of just letting it sit.

Ramen Plus is a quick, easy and cheap backpacking recipe.
Ramen Plus: A meal so simple even a child can do it.

I figure about 2 packets of ramen serves 3 people, but of course that’s going to depend a lot on the appetites of the people.  If it’s just me and my daughter, I figure one packet of ramen for the two of us.

So, that’s really all there is to it:  Sapporo Ichiban Ramen + Just Veggies + Protein, add boiling water, eat.  And is it any good?  Well, my picky five year old likes it, so I’m going to say “yes” (and she does not like that freeze dried stuff).

I hope you find it as tasty (and affordable) as I do,


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