3 Healthy, Homemade “Instant” Noodle Jar Recipes

Photo by Erin Kunkel

Tired of salads and sandwiches? As the weather cools off, doesn’t a bowl of soup sound cozy and warm? “Soup is a brilliant solution for healthy packed lunches,” says Katie Sullivan Morford, MS, RD, and author of Best Lunch Box Ever. “You can make a big pot and pack in a lot of nutrition, from vegetables to beans to grains.”

Even if you prefer the instant gratification of a quick cup of noodles—the Pinterest trend du jour—over a slow cooked soup, you can still keep your healthy eating goals on track. Simply push past the plastic packets and styrofoam cups, which tend to be high in sodium and fat, and make your own quick-cooking version in a mason jar instead. That hardworking container can withstand heat and hold a tight seal, making it the ideal way to send soup packing, from home to gym to office and back again.

Morford recommends buying real ramen, avoiding additives, and even going for whole grains, like buckwheat ramen or brown rice noodles. Drop in a spoonful of stock, curry, or miso paste (go easy on the seasoning, if you’re watching your sodium intake), then jam lean protein and lots of veggies on top, repurposing leftovers, like shredded chicken and sautéed mushrooms, or starting fresh, with cubed tofu and baby greens. Finally, when you’re ready to eat, just add boiling hot water and give it a good stir to warm through.

Need a little more direction to get started? Here are three fresh ideas for healthy, homemade noodle jars, to help get you slurping.

Chicken & Sweet Potato Noodle Soup

INGREDIENTS

2 teaspoons chicken stock paste, reduced sodium
1 teaspoon grated Parmesan cheese
3 oz cooked shredded chicken
½ cup sweet potato noodles
½ cup baby spinach leaves
1 lemon wedge
1 cup boiling water, or as needed

INSTRUCTIONS

In a pint jar, spoon the chicken stock paste and Parmesan into the bottom. Layer in the chicken, sweet potato noodles, and spinach. Tuck the lemon wedge on top. Tightly seal the jar and refrigerate (up to three days) until ready to eat. Remove the lemon wedge. Pour in 1 cup boiling water, or enough to cover the ingredients. Stir to dissolve the stock, and cover and let sit until the sweet potato noodles are tender, 5 minutes. (If you’re using thick sweet potato noodles, you may also need to microwave the jar—without the metal lid, natch—for a couple of minutes, to make sure they’re cooked through.) Squeeze with lemon juice.

MAKES 1 SERVING

Nutrition Facts (per serving)

Calories 259
Protein 23 g
Total fat 12 g
Saturated fat 3.5 g
Carbs 15 g
Fiber 2.3 g
Total sugars 3 g
Added sugars 0 g
Sodium 157 mg

Rice Noodles with Shrimp & Veggies

INGREDIENTS

1 teaspoon curry paste
1 teaspoon chicken stock paste, reduced sodium
3 oz cooked shrimp, peeled and deveined
¼ cup shredded carrots
¼ cup thinly sliced bell peppers
½ cup rice noodles, soaked and drained
Fresh cilantro leaves for topping
1 cup boiling water, or as needed

INSTRUCTIONS

In a pint jar, spoon the curry paste and chicken stock paste into the bottom. Layer in the shrimp, carrots, bell peppers, and rice noodles. Top with the cilantro leaves. Tightly seal the jar and refrigerate (up to three days) until ready to eat. To serve, pour in 1 cup boiling water, or enough to cover the ingredients. Stir to dissolve the stock and curry, and cover and let sit to warm through, about 2 minutes.

MAKES 1 SERVING

Nutrition Facts (per serving)

Calories 224
Protein 24 g
Total fat 2.2 g
Saturated fat 0.6 g
Carbs 26 g
Fiber 2.6 g
Total sugars 2.7 g
Added sugars 0 g
Sodium 747 mg

Ramen Noodles with Mushrooms & Corn

INGREDIENTS

1 teaspoon miso paste
1 teaspoon chicken stock paste, reduced sodium
1 hard-boiled egg
¼ cup corn kernels, fresh or frozen
¼ cup sautéed mushrooms
½ cup cooked ramen noodles, drained and cooled
1 tablespoon sliced green onions
1 teaspoon sesame seeds
1 cup boiling water, or as needed

INSTRUCTIONS

In a pint jar, spoon the miso and chicken stock paste into the bottom. Layer in the egg, corn, mushrooms, and ramen noodles. Top with the green onions and sesame seeds. Tightly seal the jar and refrigerate (up to three days) until ready to eat. To serve, pour in 1 cup boiling water, or enough to cover the ingredients. Stir to dissolve the stock and miso, and let sit to warm through, about 2 minutes.

MAKES 1 SERVING

Nutrition Facts (per serving)

Calories 256
Protein 12 g
Total fat 14 g
Saturated fat 4.2 g
Carbs 23 g
Fiber 2.7 g
Total sugars 4.4 g
Added sugars 0 g
Sodium 683 mg

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