Slow Cooker Pork Ramen with Sriracha Kimchi

It was when I realized that I was ordering take-out from Cheu Noodle Bar almost weekly that I finally decided to try my hand at ramen. No, I’m not talking about dorm-room-friendly, sodium-packed ramen. I’m talking about intensely delicious, upscale ramen that is particularly satisfying during the colder months.

Further, while I’ve always heard about kimchi, it wasn’t until recently that I tried it as an add-on at Cheu Noodle Bar. If you’re into things with heat, tang, and a hint of sweetness, I suggest you try kimchi ASAP. It takes a mere three days to ferment and is worth every ounce of labor that goes into making it. In addition to it being delicious, kimchi also boasts a number of health benefits. To read more about kimchi and its health benefits, click here.

If you recall, I used this exact slow cooker pork recipe for my Slow Cooker Pork Banh Mi. While I usually like to switch things up in the kitchen, I’m most certainly not a fan of fixing things that aren’t broken. This scrumptious, melt-in-your-mouth pork makes banh mi and ramen that much more tasty.

Part 1: Sriracha Kimchi

Note: While kimchi is traditionally made with gochugaru, or Korean red chili flakes, I had trouble finding it, hence my use of sriracha.

What you’ll need:

  • 1 head napa cabbage, halved, cored, and cut into 1-2 inch pieces
  • 1/3 cup sea salt
  • 1/2 cup sriracha
  • 2 tbsp. fish sauce
  • 2 tbsp. pure cane sugar
  • 6 cloves garlic
  • 1 shallot, roughly chopped
  • 1 tsp. fresh ginger, grated
  • 4 scallions, chopped
  • 1 cup carrots, julienned
  • 2 quart jars
  • Parchment paper

What you’ll do:

  • In a very large bowl, toss the cabbage and salt together until the cabbage is coated with salt; allow to sit for approximately two hours, tossing several times throughout this period
  • Meanwhile, combine the sriracha, fish sauce, sugar, garlic, shallot, and ginger in a food processor; blend until a paste forms and set aside
  • Once two hours has elapsed, cover the cabbage and salt mixture with water; slosh the cabbage around to rinse the cabbage and strain the water away from the cabbage using a colander
  • Using paper towels, pat the cabbage dry and add the cabbage to a very large bowl; add the sriracha mixture, scallions, and carrots; toss the ingredients together until the veggies are completely coated in the sriracha mixture
  • Stuff into jars, covering with parchment paper and lids; allow to ferment at room temperature for 3 days; afterward, store in the refrigerator for up to 6 months

Part 2: Slow Cooker Pork

Note: Recipe yields enough pork to make six bowls of ramen. Leftovers can also be used on banh mi and other sandwiches, atop salads, and over rice.

What you’ll need:

  • 4 garlic cloves
  • 1/4 a yellow onion, roughly chopped
  • 1/2 cup grape seed oil
  • 1/4 cup fish sauce
  • 1/4 cup toasted sesame oil
  • 2 tbsp. soy sauce
  • 2 tbsp. honey
  • Cracked black pepper to taste
  • Approx. 3 lb. boneless pork butt

What you’ll do:

  • Combine all ingredients, minus the pork, in a food processor; blend until smooth and transfer to a freezer bag
  • Add the pork to the freezer bag, zip, and ensure that the pork is coated with the marinade; refrigerate overnight
  • The following morning, add the pork and any remaining marinade to your slow cooker; cook on low for 6 hours and rotate the pork halfway through if possible
  • Once 6 hours has elapsed, remove the pork and slice into small pieces; discard any remaining marinade

Part 3: Assembly (Per Bowl)

What you’ll need:

  • 1 sheet of dry ramen
  • 2 cups beef stock
  • Himalayan salt (optional)
  • 1/2 cup sriracha kimchi (recipe above)
  • 1/2 cup slow cooker pork (recipe above)
  • 1/2 cup shiitake mushrooms, sliced
  • 1/4 cup alfalfa and clover sprouts
  • 1 soft-boiled egg, shelled and halved lengthwise (instructions can be found here)
  • 1 tbsp. scallions, chopped
  • 1/2 tsp. black sesame seeds
  • 1/2 tsp. crushed red pepper (optional)

What you’ll do:

  • Cook the ramen per the instructions on the package
  • Meanwhile, warm the beef stock on medium heat; season with desired amount of Himalayan salt if needed
  • When the ramen is finished cooking and strained, place in the center of a noodle bowl
  • Pour the warmed beef stock over the noodles
  • Arrange the kimchi, pork, mushrooms, sprouts, and egg around the noodles
  • Garnish with scallions, black sesame seeds, and crushed red pepper if desired

Baked Falafel with Green Goddess Tahini

I absolutely love Mediterranean food. More specifically, I love falafel. If I had known just how easy it was to make falafel from scratch, I would have done so a long time ago. I love it not only for its delicious flavor, but also for the feelings of nostalgia that it provokes.

Growing up, my mom did a great job of exposing us to a variety ethnic food. It never seemed daunting; instead, she made it fun and exciting. People often ask me where my love of food comes from, and it all started with her.

One of my favorite spots that we went to was a Mediterranean restaurant called The Oasis. While my falafel recipe will never be theirs, I hope I’d at least make them proud. Next, I’ll try to master their incredible mint iced tea. :)

I love that my version is baked because frying all of the wholesome ingredients that make up falafel just seems wrong. My Green Goddess Tahini is a play on Green Goddess Dressing. In my humble opinion, a good tahini sauce makes a falafel sandwich. You could easily half my tahini recipe, but trust me…you’ll want extra.

Aside from the Green Goddess Tahini, I served my falafel with baby heirloom tomatoes, kalamata olives, spinach, and whole wheat pita. However, the options are endless. No matter how you serve up this recipe, you are bound to feel fulfilled and nourished.

Note: Falafel recipe yields 4-5 servings. Tahini recipe yields 4-5 servings and then some. ;)

Part 1: Baked Falafel

What you’ll need:

  • 2 cans chickpeas
  • 1 large or 2 small shallots, chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • 1 cup fresh parsley
  • 1 cup fresh cilantro
  • The juice of 1 lemon
  • 2 tbsp. grape seed oil
  • 1 tbsp. ground cumin
  • Himalayan salt to taste
  • Cracked black pepper to taste
  • 1/2 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1 tbsp. baking powder

What you’ll do:

  • Combine all ingredients, minus the flour and baking powder, in a food processor
  • Blend until smooth
  • In a small bowl, whisk flour and baking powder together
  • Little by little, stir the flour mixture into the chickpea mixture until thoroughly combined
  • Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F
  • Roll into 15 golf-ball-sized pieces and place onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper
  • Bake in the oven for approximately 20 minutes, or until golden brown and crispy

Part 2: Green Goddess Tahini

What you’ll need:

  • 1 cup tahini
  • 1 cup water
  • 6 anchovy fillets
  • 6 cloves garlic
  • 1/2 cup fresh parsley
  • 1/2 cup fresh cilantro
  • 1/4 cup fresh chives
  • The juice of 2 lemons
  • Himalayan salt to taste
  • Cracked blacked pepper to taste

What you’ll do:

  • Combine all ingredients in a food processor
  • Blend until smooth
  • Funnel into a squeeze bottle for serving

Fire Cider

A little over a year ago, I had the pleasure of attending a medicinal herbs workshop with my mom. It was hosted by Herban Mama at Greensgrow Farms. Speaking of Greensgrow, I miss my summer CSA! Anywho, at the workshop, we learned how to make elderberry syrup and fire cider. I loved them both, but felt the fire cider to be much more powerful. As such, I decided to make a big jar once it finally got cold this winter. 

Of course, my recipe is based off of Herban Mama’s, and her informative post can be found here. If you’re curious, she goes into the nitty gritty as to why fire cider is so effective. However, in short, its ingredients make for an immune-boosting powerhouse. 

I strive to take a daily dose of fire cider during the cooler months. Generally, that means one tablespoon, but if I feel like I’m coming down with something, I’ll bump it up to two tablespoons. Considering its name, it’s no surprise that you feel the burn on its way down to your tummy. However, its taste is something that I’ve learned to enjoy, and more importantly, it works! I didn’t get sick once last year, and that’s coming from someone who works in a hospital. 

What you’ll need:

  • 5 habanero peppers, seeded and sliced
  • 15 garlic cloves, roughly chopped
  • 1/2 a yellow onion, sliced 
  • 1/4 lb. fresh ginger, roughly chopped
  • 1/4 lb. fresh horseradish, roughly chopped
  • Raw, unpasteurized apple cider vinegar

What you’ll do:

  • Fill a quart-sized jar with the solid ingredients and cover with apple cider vinegar
  • Place a piece of parchment paper over the opening of the jar and secure the lid; label and date
  • Allow to cure in a cool, dark place for at least two weeks, being sure to give the jar a good shake every several days
  • After the mixture has cured, strain it through a cheesecloth and transfer the liquid to a pint-sized jar
  • Discard the solid pieces or reuse them for a new batch; this can be done up to two times 

Lentil, Rainbow Carrot, and Turmeric Soup

I have been a longtime fan of lentil soup and have been wanting to make some from scratch for a while. After purchasing the most beautiful lentil blend, I knew it was time. When I went grocery shopping for the other necessary ingredients, I decided to go heavy on the carrots once I saw that rainbow carrots were in stock. Lastly, I opted for turmeric because I love the warmth, mild heat, and slight smokiness that it adds to any dish. 

Speaking of turmeric, I’m newly obsessed. Whether it’s ground or fresh, you better believe that I’m going out of my way to add it to every edible I can imagine. I particularly love it in smoothies and salad dressings, as well as on starchy veggies and green, leafy veggies. Aside from its awesome flavor, it is insanely good for you. If you’d like to learn about the countless health benefits of turmeric, feel free to read more here.

Anyway, back to the star of this post. I absolutely love this recipe. In fact, it has officially become my go-to lentil soup recipe. It’s filling and tasty enough on its own, but if you feel like you’ve earned yourself a treat, serve it with crusty Italian bread or garlic naan. If you’re feeling ambitious, the recipe for my garlic naan can be found here.

Note: This recipe yields four servings. The end product will be on the chunkier side, as I sometimes like to serve it over rice. If you prefer a more liquefied soup, purée half of the soup in a blender and stir it back into the remaining soup.

What you’ll need:

  • 1/4 cup grape seed oil
  • 1 white onion, chopped
  • 2 celery stalks, chopped
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 tbsp. tomato paste
  • 2 tbsp. ground turmeric
  • 1 tsp. ground cumin
  • 1/4 tsp. chili powder
  • Himalayan salt to taste
  • 1 quart chicken broth
  • 2 cups water
  • 4 carrots, peeled and chopped
  • 1 cup dry lentils
  • 1/4 cup fresh parsley, chopped
  • The juice of 1 lemon

What you’ll do:

  • In a large pot, warm the oil over medium heat
  • Add the onion, celery, and garlic; sautée for approximately 5 minutes, or until soft
  • Thoroughly stir in the tomato paste, turmeric, cumin, chili powder, and salt
  • Add the broth, water, carrots, and lentils
  • Turn the heat down to low-medium, partially cover, and simmer for approximately 30 minutes, or until lentils are soft
  • Stir in the parsley and lemon juice just prior to serving

Matcha Chia Pudding

You guys, this matcha chia pudding is bomb! Plain and simple. As someone who struggles to eat breakfast, let alone enjoy it, chia pudding of any variety is the perfect solution.

My roommate, Domenica, got me hooked on chia pudding when she made me an apple-cinnamon version this past fall. Simply throw some ingredients into a mason jar the night before, and come morning, you’ve got yourself an easy, yet highly nutritious and insanely yummy breakfast.

Lately, I’ve been so into matcha. For those of you who have yet to hop on the matcha bandwagon, matcha is more simply known as green tea powder. It is highly energizing, great for your metabolism, and extremely versatile. Think: lattes, cookies, and ice cream, to name a few options.

To learn more about the many health benefits of matcha, click here

Note: Recipe yields one 8 oz. mason jar.

What you’ll need:

  • 2 tbsp. chia seeds
  • 2 tbsp. rolled oats
  • 2 tbsp. maple syrup
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1/2 tsp. matcha
  • 1/2 cup almond milk

What you’ll do:

  • Combine all ingredients in an 8 oz. mason jar
  • Apply the lid and give the jar a good shake
  • Store in the fridge overnight
  • Give the jar another good shake just prior to serving
  • Remove the lid and enjoy :)