Spicy Veggie Ramen

Article written and reviewed by Cyrus Khambatta, PhD and Robby Barbaro, MPH
Published August 24, 2022

Hungry for something savory and satisfying? You can have this spicy and filling soup ready to eat in a short time! Chock full of vegetables, this nutrient-dense soup (spicy ramen noodles, vegetarian style!) will also help you get your vitamins and other nutritional needs.

What’s so Great about Bok Choy?

A lot of people ask us "is Japanese ramen good for diabetics?", or about the health ramifications of eating ramen noodles for diabetics. And the answer is -- even if you're using instant noodles, determining how healthy ramen is comes from the other ingredients in your ramen. Like Bok Choy. 

Believe it or not, bok choy has over 70 antioxidant compounds and has been included in many studies to understand how antioxidants reduce your risk of cancer.

Bok choy is an especially good source of vitamins C and K. It also contains some fiber, a critical nutrient found only in plant foods. Fiber supports digestive health and helps reduce the risk of many chronic diseases, while significantly improving the health of your microbiome.

As with most non-starchy vegetables, the glycemic index of bok choy can't be determined by standard procedures, but eating bok choy is assumed to have very little effect on blood glucose levels (blood sugar levels). For 1 cup of raw bok choy, the glycemic load is 1. A glycemic load of less than 10 is considered to be low and should have little effect on blood glucose levels.

Although boasting a ton of flavor, bok choy is fairly minimal as far as calories, fat, sodium, and sugar go. Here’s what a 1-cup serving of the veggie looks like:

  • Calories: 9
  • Fat: 0.1 grams
  • Carbohydrates: 1.5 grams
  • Protein: 1.1 grams
  • Sodium: 45.5 milligrams
  • Sugar: 0.8 grams
  • Fiber: 0.7 gram

Why is Bok Choy a Good Main Ingredient?

Bok choy is widely used in Chinese cooking, frequently in soups, salads, stir-fries and fillings for spring rolls, potstickers, steamed buns and dumplings. 

Its mild flavor shines when it's stir-fried in sesame oil with a little garlic and/or ginger and a splash of soy sauce or a sprinkle of salt.

Buying Tip

Bok choy can be found in many different varieties and goes by many different names including pak choy, white cabbage, Chinese chard, Chinese cabbage and many others.  It's a cruciferous vegetable, which means it is a powerful cancer-fighter, that has white to green stalks and dark green leaves.

Bok choy also comes in different sizes.  Unless you go to an Asian grocery store, you are most likely to find “regular” bok choy or a smaller version called “baby” bok choy.  

There isn’t much difference between baby bok choy and the larger variety other than size, but some claim the baby bok choy is more tender.

When picking bok choy, look for fresh, bright green leaves and crisp, pale white to green stalks.  It's best to use it as soon as possible, but it will store well in the refrigerator for several days. 

Before using it, you should clean it to wash out any dirt or grit that may be lodged in the leaves or stalks.

Bok choy should be stored in the refrigerator in the crisper drawer in a loose or perforated plastic bag. It will last up to three to four days in the refrigerator. 

Don't wash until immediately before cooking. If frozen, it can last between 10 and 12 months.

Mushrooms are the Secret Star in This Ramen

Mushrooms are a rich, low calorie source of fiber, protein, and antioxidants. Mushrooms not only provide you with B vitamins such as niacin and riboflavin, but are also excellent sources of three essential antioxidants, glutathione, ergothioneine, and selenium. 

Mushrooms are also rich sources of potassium, a nutrient known for reducing the negative impact that sodium can have on your body. 

Potassium also lessens the tension in blood vessels, potentially helping to lower high blood pressure.  

Keep An Eye on Those Noodles!

One of the keys for this spicy vegan ramen recipe (and for any "diabetic ramen" recipe you put together) is also making sure that you're picking the right form of noodles. The traditional pasta for ramen is usually shirataki noodles, but you can pretty much apply any form of whole wheat pasta, whole grain pasta, or any number of noodle alternatives like zucchini, squash, and other noodle substitutes. And remember, just because a product claims to be 'low carb noodles' or any other health product, make sure to check for other additives!

Spicy Veggie Ramen

Beverly Verwey
You can have this spicy soup ready to eat in a short time.
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Course Dinner, Lunch
Calories 499 kcal


  • 2 cloves garlic chopped
  • 3" thumb ginger approximately 2 tbsp
  • 1/2 medium onion sliced
  • 2 cups low-sodium vegetable broth plus extra for sauté
  • 1 tbsp soy sauce
  • 4 oz mushroom any variety, sliced
  • 2 tsp white or yellow miso
  • 2 oz dry ramen noodles
  • 2 green onions sliced
  • 1 tbsp sriracha or to your taste
  • 1 head bok choy with leaves separated
  • 1/2 medium carrot or about 1/4 cup grated carrot
  • 1 tbsp tomato paste optional


  • In a pan heat 1 Tbsp of veggie broth and sauté the onion and garlic for 3 minutes.
  • Add the mushrooms and additional broth as needed. Sauté for 5 more minutes until onions and mushrooms start to carmelize.
  • Add the ginger, broth, soy sauce, miso, green onions, and sriracha. Cook for 1 minutes. If using the tomato paste, add it now.
  • Cook the ramen noodles according to the package.
  • Meanwhile, add the bok choy to the soup and let the bok choy wilt.
  • Once noodles are cooked, drain them and place the noodles in a bowl. Pour the soup over the noodles and top with grated carrots and enjoy!


Increase or decrease the sriracha to your taste.


Calories: 499kcalCarbohydrates: 80.1gProtein: 29.1gFat: 14.1g
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!

About the author 

Cyrus Khambatta, PhD and Robby Barbaro, MPH

Cyrus Khambatta, PhD, and Robby Barbaro, MPH are the coauthors of the New York Times bestselling book Mastering Diabetes: The Revolutionary Method to Reverse Insulin Resistance Permanently in Type 1, Type 1.5, Type 2, Prediabetes, and Gestational Diabetes. They are the cofounders of Mastering Diabetes, a coaching platform that teaches people how to reverse insulin resistance via low-fat, plant-based, whole-food nutrition. Cyrus has been living with type 1 diabetes since 2002, and has an undergraduate degree from Stanford University and a PhD in Nutritional Biochemistry from UC Berkeley. Robby was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes in 2000, and has been living a plant-based lifestyle since 2006. He worked at Forks Over Knives for 6 years, and earned a Master’s in Public Health in 2019.