Turn packaged instant noodles into a fancy meal on a budget by dressing them up with veggies, nuts, and protein. This easy, 30-minute vegetable ramen noodles stir fry features bell peppers, spinach, cashews, and ground beef. Homemade stir-fry sauce uses simple ingredients, such as sriracha sauce, soy sauce, fresh garlic, sesame oil, etc. It is cheaper, faster, and tastier than a take-out!
30-minute ramen noodles stir fry
Using instant ramen noodles in a stir fry is one of my favorite ways to prepare a fun, quick, and delicious dinner that a whole family will enjoy! While packaged ramen noodles are usually associated with soup recipes, they make a great addition to vegetable stir fry, such as these vegetarian ramen noodles. This Asian-inspired recipe uses basic ingredients, takes only 30 minutes, and is perfect for busy family weeknights.
Why you'll love it
The beauty of this recipe is that it's super flexible: add any stir fry veggies you enjoy or have available. Add protein (ground beef, chicken, etc) if you like. Adding nuts, such as cashews or peanuts, always elevates any boring stir fry to the next level. You don't need a flavor packet that usually comes with ramen - simply discard it! Everything is mixed together with the 5-minute simple homemade Asian-style stir-fry sauce. Try this recipe for yourself and it might become your family's new favorite way to cook ramen noodles!
- Ramen noodles. I used 2 packages of rice ramen noodles that were labeled gluten-free. Each package was 2.8 oz - Lotus Foods brand.
- Ground beef. I used ground beef 85% lean.
- Bell peppers. I used 3 small bell peppers (red, yellow, and green). You can use the same color bell peppers.
- Fresh spinach. Frozen spinach can be used, as well (thawed and drained really well). You can also use kale or arugula.
- Olive oil is for cooking veggies and ground beef.
- Cashew nuts. I used raw cashew nuts which I roasted in the preheated oven at 350 F for 10 or 15 minutes. You can also use roasted or salted cashews - in this case, you don't have to roast them.
- Sesame seeds. I used 2 colors (black and white) for the presentation. I also toasted the seeds in the oven for more flavor.
Homemade stir-fry sauce
This simple stir-fry sauce takes only about 5 minutes to make. Tip: Make the sauce while the rest of the ingredients are cooking (and while the noodles are boiling!) to save time.
- Minced garlic adds flavor and pungency.
- Honey adds a subtle sweetness to the ramen stir-fry sauce. You can also use maple syrup or brown sugar instead.
- Low-sodium tamari sauce provides just the right amount of saltiness, without overwhelming the flavor. It can be replaced with low-sodium soy sauce. For a gluten-free option, make sure to check the labels.
- Rice vinegar can be replaced with apple cider vinegar.
- Lime juice. I used freshly squeezed lime juice to add more balance and flavor to the ramen noodles stir fry. You can also use lemon juice.
- Sesame oil is super flavorful and is a great ingredient in Asian-style dishes.
- Sriracha sauce adds heat. You can also use red curry paste, Sambal Oelek, or roasted red chili paste instead.
How to make vegetable ramen noodles stir fry
Here are some helpful step-by-step photos and a summary of the instructions.
⬇️ For the complete list of the ingredients and detailed recipe, please scroll below to the recipe card. ⬇️
1) Cook ramen noodles. Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Discard flavor packages. Add ramen noodles and cook according to the package instructions. Drain when cooked.
2) Make stir-fry sauce. Combine all sauce ingredients in a small bowl in stir to combine.
3) Cook bell peppers. In a large, high-sided skillet, cook sliced bell peppers (seasoned with salt and pepper) in 1 tablespoon of olive oil on medium-hot heat until just softened, about 5 minutes. Remove them from the skillet.
4) Cook ground beef. Add ground beef and 1 tablespoon of olive oil to the same, now empty, skillet, and cook on medium heat for about 5 minutes or longer until completely cooked through. Drain any liquid and fat.
5) Add spinach to the skillet and cook until it wilts on medium heat.
6) Add cooked bell peppers and roasted cashews to the skillet.
7) Add cooked ramen noodles and homemade stir-fry sauce, and stir everything together on medium heat. Top with toasted sesame seeds and fresh basil.
Variations and substitutions
- Stir-fry veggies that I like to add to ramen noodles are mushrooms, broccoli, chopped carrots, snow peas, snap peas, bell peppers, and even chopped asparagus.
- Soy sauce or tamari sauce. I recommend using low-sodium soy sauce otherwise your noodles might be too salty. Another great substitution for soy sauce is tamari sauce.
- Nuts and seeds. Add toasted cashews, peanuts, and/or sesame seeds. I like to toast both cashews and sesame seeds in the oven for a richer flavor.
- Honey can be replaced with brown sugar or maple syrup.
- Different types of noodles. Obviously, this recipe is all about packaged ramen noodles. However, you can easily use rice noodles, egg noodles, spaghetti, or fettuccine instead! Just cook them according to package instructions and proceed with the recipe!
- Do not overcook. Ramen noodles generally take only about 2 or 5 minutes to cook in boiling water. Watch cooking times closely and remove and drain them immediately. Otherwise, your noodles will get mushy.
- Ramen noodles are best on the same day. Once cooked, they tend to get mushy, so I don't recommend saving them for leftovers and reheating them later.
- Do not use the seasoning packet that came with the packaged ramen noodles. You will not need it for this recipe, so you can just throw it away.
- Use low-sodium soy sauce or tamari sauce to control the amount of sodium.
- Add heat by using sriracha sauce.
- Add fresh ginger for more flavor.
Storage and reheating tips
- Fridge. Ramen noodles stir fry keeps well refrigerated for up to 3 days.
- Make ahead tip. If making this ahead, do not add (or do not use) cashews as they will get really soggy.
- Reheat in the microwave oven for about 1 minute or a bit longer until warmed up.
- You can also reheat this in a skillet on the stovetop - in this case, briefly heat 1 tablespoon of vegetable oil in the skillet and then add the leftovers on low-medium heat and reheat gently for several minutes. You can add a small amount of low-sodium tamari or soy sauce (together with some water) to thin out the sauce and to make sure that the ramen noodles don't stick to the bottom of the pan.
Make-ahead and meal prep tips
- Do not cook ramen noodles. They get mushy and don't keep their shape well.
- Do not add cashews as they will get soft and soggy.
- You can make-ahead, meal-prep, and freeze everything in this stir fry except the ramen noodles and the cashews. Don't even open the ramen noodle package - the noodles take only 2 or 5 minutes to cook so cook them when ready to eat. Add cashews right before serving too. Everything else can be cooked in advance and frozen for up to 2 months.
Other Asian-inspired noodle recipes you might like
If you're looking for more Asian-inspired dinner inspiration, here are some ideas:
- Spicy Asian Noodles with Mushrooms and Snow Peas
- Asian Pasta with Broccoli and Mushrooms
- Thai Zucchini Noodles
- Asian Noodle Salad with Peanut Dressing
Ramen Noodle Stir Fry
- 6 oz ramen noodles
Vegetables and beef
- 2 tablespoons olive oil divided
- 1 red bell pepper small, sliced
- 1 green bell pepper small, sliced
- 1 yellow bell pepper small, sliced
- 16 oz ground beef 85% lean
- 4 oz fresh spinach
- salt and pepper
Homemade stir-fry sauce
- 4 cloves garlic minced
- ¼ cup low-sodium tamari sauce or low-sodium soy sauce
- 2 tablespoons rice vinegar
- 2 tablespoons sesame oil
- 2 tablespoons honey
- 2 tablespoons lime juice freshly squeezed
- 2 tablespoons sriracha sauce
Nuts and seeds
- 4 oz cashews toasted
- 1 tablespoon black sesame seeds
- 1 tablespoon white sesame seeds
Cook the noodles
- Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Discard flavor packages. Add ramen noodles and cook according to the package instructions. Drain when cooked. I used 2 packages of gluten-free rice ramen (2.8 oz each) - Lotus Foods brand.
- Tip: I like to bring a pot of water to boil, turn it off (or reduce heat to low) but wait until the rest of the ingredients are done, and only then add noodles to boiling water as they cook really fast (about 5 minutes). But do bring a pot of water to boil while you cook the rest of the recipe as that takes time.
Cook veggies and beef
- Use a wok or a large, high-sided, heavy-bottomed skillet.
- Add 1 tablespoon of olive oil and sliced bell peppers on medium-hot heat. Sprinkle salt and pepper on top. Cook until just softened, about 5 minutes. Remove them from the skillet.
- Add ground beef and 1 tablespoon of olive oil to the same, now empty, skillet, and cook on medium heat, crumbling it as you cook it, for about 5 minutes or longer until completely cooked through, occasionally stirring. Drain any liquid and fat.
- Add spinach to the skillet and cook until it wilts on medium heat.
Make stir-fry sauce
- While you cook the veggies and the beef, combine all sauce ingredients in a small bowl in stir to combine.
- Add cooked bell peppers back to the skillet.
- Add cooked ramen noodles.
- Add the sauce and reheat on medium heat. Stir in toasted cashews.
- Season with salt and pepper, if desired, or simply add 1 more tablespoon of tamari or soy sauce or more.
- When serving, top with fresh basil, and toasted white and black sesame seeds.
Toasting sesame seeds is optional but highly recommended. When toasted they acquire a richer, nuttier flavor. Here is how to do it - this step can be done while you cook everything else.
- Preheat the oven to 350 F. Spread the sesame seeds on a parchment paper-lined baking sheet in one layer.
- Roast the sesame seeds for about 10 minutes until they turn nicely brown, roasted color.
- If using raw cashews, I recommend roasting them in the preheated oven at 350 F for 10 or 15 minutes. If you purchased roasted cashews or salted cashews or flavored ones, you don't need to roast them in the oven.
The nutritional information on this website is only an estimate and is provided for convenience and as a courtesy only. The accuracy of the nutritional information for any recipe on this site is not guaranteed. It should not be used as a substitute for a professional nutritionist’s advice.