The cheap price tag and addictive saltiness of instant noodle soup in a convenient foam cup was the stuff of midnight dinner dreams in college. But now that I'm older, arguably wiser and definitely more in-tune with health and nutrtition, my favorite quick slurpable meal needed a serious upgrade. I give you: homemade cup of noodle soups.
That's right—all the convenience of an instant, single-serving meal but with a healthy upgrade to ingredients you actually know (say buh-bye to powdered chicken for good). One serving of our Spicy Ramen Cup of Noodles saves you 179 miligrams of sodium and 3 grams of saturated fat while packing in an extra 10 grams of protein and an extra 8 grams of fiber. Just add water to these beautiful veggie-loaded noodle soups and lunch is ready in no time—plus each jar only takes about 5 minutes to assemble.
Try these: DIY Instant Cup of Noodles Soup Recipes
3-4 teaspoons creamy flavor base
1 teaspoon to 2 tablespoons liquid flavor, optional
1/2 to 1 cup raw vegetables
1/2 cup cooked noodles
3 ounces cooked protein
Here's how to do it:
Pictured Recipe: Spicy Ramen Cup of Noodles
You'll need three 11/2-pint wide-mouth canning jars (Wide-mouth jars are easier to layer in and eat out of.) to make these soups. Why three? Because they keep for three days in your fridge. Eat them all yourself, send them to work or school with your family or adjust the recipe to make fewer—or more.
Pictured Recipe: Miso Soup Cup of Noodles with Shrimp & Green Tea Soba
Since these soups aren't made like broth like traditional soup, the creamy flavor base is key to making sure you pack in tons of taste without watering it down. This base will meld into the water you add when you are ready to eat, making a "broth" all it's own. Try mixing and matching these:
Pictured Recipe: Chicken Curry Cup of Noodles
This is your second chance to pack in flavor—the liquid flavor gives you opportunity to add creaminess, acid and/or sweetness depending on what you like, but you can also skip this step if you're happy with the flavor profile you created in step 2. Mix and match some of the following:
Or at least cut the vegetables so they'll cook up quick when you're actually ready to eat! Try some of these:
Pictured Recipe: Faux Chicken Pho Cup of Noodles
For the best heat-and-eat soups, you'll want to cook your noodles ahead of time. Just make sure to only cook them until al dente, as they will continue to cook when you heat up your jar, and you don't want a mushy mess! Try one of these:
Pictured Recipe: Sichuan Ramen Cup of Noodles with Cabbage & Tofu
Make your lunch or quick dinner ultra satisfying by adding in some protein. You will want to add this already cooked, too so you can heat and eat in a jiff without worrying about everything cooking all the way through. Try:
Pictured Recipe: Kimchi Shrimp Cup of Noodles
Not only do sprinkles and sprigs look pretty, they add flavor and texture too. Place these at the very top of the jar to keep them as fresh as possible! Some (like citrus wedges) you will want to remove from the jar before you heat it up. Try:
Close the lids tight and store these in the fridge for up to three days.
Once you're ready to eat, add 1 cup of very hot water to one jar. Close the jar and shake to combine. Microwave uncovered on high in 1-minute increments until steaming hot, 2 to 3 minutes. Let stand 5 minutes. Stir before eating.
Related: Cheap Healthy Lunches for Work
How to Meal-Prep a Week of Healthy Lunches for Less Than $20
How to Freeze Soup So It Tastes as Delicious as the Day It Was Made
Must-Have Ingredients to Keep on Hand for Last-Minute Pantry Soups
1-Week Meal Plan of Healthy Budget-Friendly Lunches for Work