I ate so many instant noodle meals as a university student—back then I had no idea I could make my own wholesome version in minutes! Thin, dry rice vermicelli rehydrates quickly in hot water, so just place the noodles dry in a heatproof container and add a delicious miso paste and ginger soup base, plus raw veggies (you can use any veggie as long as it’s thinly sliced or grated). When you’re ready to eat, it’s just like the original—pour boiling hot water over, wait a few minutes, and then slurp down your warm instant noodle soup.
Meal prep a few Busy Days Instant Noodle Bentos and keep ready to go in the refrigerator. Less perishable veggies like carrot, cabbage, and broccoli are best used for this. Salad greens and herbs can be added on the day you consume the bento. Cubed firm tofu or cooked beans are both great added to your bento as a protein boost.
1/2 nest (2 to 2 1/2 oz) dry rice vermicelli
Handful of salad greens, like arugula, watercress, or baby spinach
1/2 small carrot, grated
Small piece of red cabbage, cut into thin slices
1 tsp brown rice miso paste
1/2 Tbsp toasted sesame oil
1 tsp tamari
3/4 inch piece fresh ginger, washed but not peeled, finely grated straight into bento
Fresh chili, sliced, or chili flakes, to taste
Fresh cilantro, to taste (optional)
Slice of lime, to serve (optional)
Use leakproof box or repurposed jar with lid for this bento. Push 1/2 nest of noodles (break a whole, dry nest of noodles in half over sink, as pieces will fly everywhere) into container. Add remaining ingredients. No need to arrange neatly for this bento!
Close tightly and pack container in bento bag or furoshiki* with fork or chopsticks. Refrigerate for up to 3 days.
To serve, remove lime slice (if using), pour some boiling water over ingredients until they’re submerged, close lid, and leave for 5 minutes or a little longer. Open, squeeze lime over (if using), and eat.