We develop most of our Athlete Food recipes to fuel our kinetic days, feed our active families, and lure friends to hike, bike, and swim with us. This cheater noodle soup stems from a place of solo desperation.
Like most of Nashville, my three kids and I all had nasty chest colds last week. These weren’t the snotty, drippy kind. We had the kind that makes you feel like you swallowed a piece of dry ice and sound like a barking seal. We felt too achy and fatigued to do anything outdoors and were ravenous, but only for foods that wouldn’t irritate our raw throats.
We kicked up the heat in the house, nursed Las Paletas mini ice pops and ate bowls of milk-sodden Kix. The kids clamored for Annie’s boxed mac ‘n cheese, the “Creamy Deluxe” version, with the packet of Velveeta-like sauce. I craved pho and ramen, the fragrant, broth-y soups that were easy to pick up back in San Francisco. But I felt too sheepish to ask my husband, who last week handled everything else while I disappeared into the sofa, to drive the 40-minute roundtrip to Nashville’s strip of Vietnamese joints.
What he did instead was grab a few packs of frozen Nona Lim pho and ramen broth while shopping for milk and fruit and bread at the Whole Foods. Good man!
While the broth defrosted, I undercooked a pack of buckwheat soba noodles I had in the pantry and piled a small mountain of them into a soup bowl. Once the broth reached a simmer, I added a few handfuls of chopped baby broccoli, frozen corn, and frozen edamame—and left the rest of the Kix to the kids.
Note: To test my 15 minute claim, we had Laurel test and time the recipe. Her report: see the smile on her face below.
15 Minute Pho
Time: 20 minutes
Yeild: 2 servings
20-ounces of store-bought frozen pho or ramen broth (such as Nona Lim)
1 package 100 percent buckwheat soba noodles (or udon noodles or ½ package of rice noodles)
½ bunch baby broccoli, chopped to bite-size pieces
½ cup frozen corn
½ cup frozen shelled edamame
Heat the broth in a small pot.
While it defrosts and warms, bring a large pot of water to a boil. Cook the noodles according to the package directions. If using soba or udon noodles, slightly undercook the noodles so that they retain some bite; the idea is that they won’t turn mushy in the broth.
Fill a soup bowl about halfway with the cooked noodles.
When the broth reaches a simmer, add the edamame and simmer for a minute. Add the broccoli and corn and cook until the broccoli is just tender and still bright green, 2 to 3 minutes.
You’ll have enough noodles leftover for more soup, plus some for snacking. To store leftover soba or udon noodles, toss them with ½ teaspoon of sesame oil to prevent sticking and place in a separate container from the soup to keep them firm.