Dorm Room Dishes: vegetarian/ vegan edition

Vegan ramen soup with tofu requires only three ingredients. This recipe includes ramen noodles, tofu and vegetables. PHOTO BY VICTORIA CASWELL

A recipe for Vegan ramen soup with tofu

  • 1 package Top Ramen brand ramen noodles, oriental or chili flavor
  • 4 ounces (1/4 of a package) firm tofu
  • Frozen vegetables of your choice

Press tofu between paper towels to drain some of the water. Cut into bite-size cubes and set aside. Place Ramen Noodles in a microwave-safe bowl and cover with two cups of hot water. Add in desired amount of frozen vegetables and microwave for 3-5 minutes until noodles are soft.

You can also prepare the frozen vegetables according to package directions and add to the cooked noodles afterwards. Drain water from noodles until your desired amount remains. Add seasoning packet and stir. Add tofu cubes and serve.

Tips for vegheads:

For many of the vegans and vegetarians on campus, eating may have become a boring cycle of salads, black bean burgers and PB&J sandwiches. Vegan cooking is already hard and becomes even more of a challenge without proper cookware at your disposal.

However, there’s no reason why you can’t create a delicious variety of vegan and vegetarian meals with just a microwave. Many meals that require vegetarian-friendly products are easy to make in the microwave and taste just as good.

There are certain staples that any vegetarian or vegan should try to keep on hand for making cooking effortless.

— Ramen Noodles: I know, I know. The point of telling you about cooking in a dorm room was to get you away from eating ramen every day. However, with many ramen brands, the noodle portion of the packet is vegetarian and even vegan. Make sure to read the ingredient labels carefully — a few brands mix animal fat into the noodles, or cook the noodles in animal fat before packaging. The seasoning packet is usually where the animal derivatives are found, so check carefully before attempting to use the seasoning. The “oriental” and “chili” flavored seasoning packets of the Top Ramen brand noodles are vegan. Try cooking the noodles, seasoning included, as directed and throw in some cubed tofu and fresh or frozen vegetables for a quick soup. You could also substitute the seasoning packet for plain vegetable stock.

— Tofu and other soy products: Many soy products like tofu add heartiness to vegetarian and vegan meals. Plain tofu is also a great source of protein, iron, zinc and calcium. Other soy products, such as soy “hamburger” crumbles and soy bacon, can make your meal taste more like meat and add a different flavor.

— Vegetables: This one’s a no-brainer. Try keeping a variety of frozen vegetables on hand at all times; they store well, are cheap and can easily be added to any meal you’re making. Fresh vegetables are great too, but make sure to buy them as you need them, because they can go bad quickly if you don’t use them soon enough.

— Fresh and dried fruit: Fresh fruit makes an easy and portable snack, but you can do a lot more with it. Sprinkle fresh or dried fruit on top of your salad as a creative salad topper, mix dried fruits with your favorite nuts and seeds to make your own customized trail mix, or throw some fruit onto your morning cereal or oatmeal. If you buy fresh fruit, apply the same guidelines you would to fresh vegetables — don’t buy too much at once, or it’ll go bad before you have time to finish it all.

— Eggs: This tip obviously doesn’t apply to any vegan readers, but it’s a great one for any college student who eats eggs. They’re cheap, easy to cook in the microwave and incredibly versatile. Try adding a scrambled egg into ramen noodle soup, making an omelet with veggies, or serving with soy sausage or soy bacon for a somewhat-traditional breakfast.

— Nuts and seeds: Different nuts and seeds are excellent sources of protein, healthy fat, vitamins, minerals and fiber. As with any type of fruit, try tossing some nuts or seeds onto a salad or some oatmeal, or just eat them plain. You can also use different nut butters, like peanut butter, almond butter or sunflower seed butter, to make sandwiches or to spread on fruit.

Making vegan and vegetarian meals can be effortless if you have the right ingredients on hand. If you’re new to cooking or to vegetarianism, start by simply vegging out the things you already make — swap out your normal gallon of milk for a carton of soy milk or just try tossing a handful of vegetables into some spaghetti with tomato sauce. When you’ve got the hang of it, experiment with adding tofu to your dishes or with different soy-based products.



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