DIY instant noodles made with fresh ingredients. Just add boiling water, and you’ve got lunch. [Photograph: J. Kenji López-Alt. Video: Natalie Holt]

This vegan pot of instant noodles, flavored with miso and sesame and loaded with fresh vegetables, can be made ahead and taken to work. Just add boiling water, seal it up for three minutes, add the fresh scallions and pickled ginger from the separate flavor packet, and you’ve got a hot lunch ready.

Why It Works

  • All the convenience of a package of instant noodles, but with better ingredients and better flavor.
  • By keeping the final flavorings separate from the rest of the ingredients, you can stir them into the hot soup for bright, fresh, layered flavor.
  • Yield:Makes 4 pots of noodles
  • Active time:15 minutes
  • Total time:18 minutes
  • Rated:3.5
  • Ingredients

    • 2 teaspoons grated fresh ginger
    • 8 teaspoons miso paste
    • 8 teaspoons (40ml) high-quality vegetable base, such as Better Than Bouillon
    • 4 tablespoons (60ml) tahini
    • 4 teaspoons (20ml) soy sauce
    • 1 cup shredded carrots
    • 1 cup thinly sliced shiitake mushroom caps
    • 2 cups roughly torn fresh spinach leaves
    • 4 teaspoons toasted sesame seeds
    • 4 small nests rice noodles or precooked ramen or Italian pasta (see note)
    • 1 cup minced fresh scallions
    • 1/2 cup pickled ginger


    1. 1.

      Divide ginger, miso, vegetable base, tahini, sesame seeds, soy sauce, carrots, mushrooms, spinach, and noodles evenly between 4 resealable glass jars. Season lightly with salt and pepper. Divide scallions and ginger between 4 small zipper-lock bags and seal bags, squeezing out all of the air. Tuck bags into jars and seal. Refrigerate for up to 4 days.

    2. 2.

      When ready to serve, remove scallion/ginger packet and add boiling water to the top of the jar. Seal jar and let sit 2 minutes. Open jar, stir in scallions and ginger, and serve.

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