Ramen Noodle Salad

Ramen Noodle Salad is a texture lover’s dream and a favorite side for potlucks, picnics, cookouts and all your favorite Asian recipes!

This Ramen Noodle Salad recipe is bursting with fresh ingredients, a flavor exploding dressing and tons of CRUNCH!  It’s beloved by salad lovers and non-salad lovers alike, the first to go at every potluck, prep ahead friendly (just keep the ramen separate), goes with practically everything and super customizable.  This Asian Ramen Noodle Salad is a dynamically addicting medley of crisp cabbage, crunchy Ramen, toasted sliced almonds, salty sunflower seeds, sweet dried cranberries, juicy Mandarin oranges, aromatic green onions and zesty cilantro all doused in sweet and tangy garlic, ginger laced dressing. Of course, you can customize the ingredients just how you like and even turn it into a main dish by adding chicken, steak, salmon or shrimp. No matter how you serve it, this Ramen Noodle Salad recipe is always a showstopper!

Summer cookouts mean summer salads! Don’t miss our favorite potluck side salad recipes: Italian Tortellini Pasta Salad, Strawberry Broccoli Salad, Creamy Bacon Pea Pasta SaladCorn Salad, Perfect Fruit Salad, Grape SaladLoaded Potato Salad, and on and

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top view showing how to make Asian Ramen Noodle Salad by tossing the ingredients together with the dressing in a white bowl

Ramen Noodle Salad Recipe – why you’ll love it!

Ramen Noodle Salad is the sister to Chinese chicken salad, the cousin to coleslaw and the favorite child at every potluck.   It’s the one recipe you’ll make again and again all summer and all year long because it’s the epitome of quick, easy and delicious. Here’s why you’ll love this recipe so much:

  • Goes with everything.  This Ramen Noodle Salad recipe is not only the knockout side at every potluck, but the answer to the dreaded question, what should I serve with (insert any Asian recipe here)???  This unassuming, unexpectedly irresistible salad pairs equally well with Asian recipes as American recipes.  Basically, it makes every plate better.
  • Crave-able crunch.  This salad is delightfully CRUNCHY, refreshing, satisfying and utterly addicting!  The toasted crunch of the ramen combined with the refreshing crunch of the coleslaw, light crunch of the almonds, salty crunch of the sunflower seeds makes every bite practically hypnotic.
  • Flavorful.  Not only is this salad crunchy, it boasts spectacular flavor from the best dressing!  It’s fragrant, savory-sweet, tangy, robust and light all at the same time.  It boasts a sweet heat zing from the Asian Sweet Chili Sauce and sriracha, peppery aromatics from the ginger and garlic, umami from the grounding soy and nuttiness from the toasted sesame oil.  These pantry ingredients can be whipped together in minutes and deliver the requisite flavor punch to enliven our crunchy yet otherwise neutral cast of fresh salad ingredients.
  • Memorable add-ins.  This Ramen Noodle Salad recipe boasts a few extra add-ins which I think make the salad.  First, dried cranberries add sweet pops of flavor that you will crave in every bite.  Second, plump Mandarin oranges offer a juicy, sweet reprieve against the savory crunchy textures. Lastly, sunflower seeds add that toasted, salted crunch you didn’t know you were missing and now you can’t live without.
  • Always a hit!  Everyone will love this Asian Ramen Noodle Salad wherever it is served whether as a casual dinner side or the star at picnics, potlucks, pool parties and barbecues. 
  • Quick and easy. All you need is 25 minutes to make this salad from start to finish. Whisk the dressing ingredients together, toast the ramen and then combine!      
  • Make ahead.  This Ramen Noodle Cabbage Salad is a dream for potlucks or whenever you need a stress-free make ahead side.  You can assemble the salad and then just add the ramen and dressing when ready to serve.
  • Versatile.  There is no right or wrong way to make a this recipe – you can essentially use whatever ingredients you have in your refrigerator as long as you have a killer dressing (check) and tons of CRUNCH. I’ve detailed all sorts of recipe variations below.
  • Easy to scale up or down.  This recipe is easy to double or triple for a crowd so it can serve an army at a potluck or a lunch for two. To scale the recipe, just use the arrows next to the serving size in the recipe card. Now, let’s make some salad!

Ramen Noodle Salad REcipe Ingredients

This ingredients in this Asian Ramen Noodle Salad recipe are very simple, each adding balancing flavor and texture to create a sweet, savory, tangy crunchy combo that is utterly divine.  Here’s what you’ll need:

THE SALAD

  • Ramen:  you will need two (3 ounce) packages of dry ramen – the everyday kind with the seasoning packet.  For this recipe, you will discard the seasoning packet (or use it for something else). 
  • Cabbage: this recipe uses a combination of green cabbage and red cabbage for a depth of flavor and texture.  Select 1 medium green cabbage that weighs about 45 ounces, which will give you 8-10 cups.  Use 3 cups thinly sliced red cabbage.  Remove the thick, dark, and fibrous outer leaves to reveal the softer leaves beneath. You can save the tougher out leaves for sautéing or for cabbage soup.
  • Almonds: I prefer sliced almonds but you can also use slivered if you prefer.  They can be found in the bulk bins at sprouts or in small packages by the salad toppings or other nuts.
  • Carrots: you will need two cups shredded carrots.  You can purchase matchstick carrots (or make them yourself) which tend to be a little thicker (which I prefer), or shed them yourself using a box grater or a food processor. First, make sure to peel and rinse your carrots to remove any debris. To grate your carrots ,use the coarse-teeth side of the grater. To use the food processor, fit it with the grating attachment, cut the carrots into halves or thirds, then push them down the chute.
  • Mandarin oranges:  add sweet bursts of fresh juiciness.  I used two cans but you are welcome to use even more!  If you purchase them in heavy syrup, make sure to rinse and dry first.  Mandarin oranges are delicate, so toss them gently.
  • Dried cranberries:  also known as craisins, are plump, sweet, juicy gems in the salad.  I definitely don’t recommend skipping the craisins, they are a key balancing component, or at least swap them for golden raisins or dried cherries. Craisins are often located next to the salad condiments/toppers at the end of the produce aisle or they’re sold in the bulk bins at Sprouts.
  • Green onions: you will need 1 bunch to make ½ cup.  The green onions are less pungent than yellow or red onions with a sweet, onion-y fresh flavor.
  • Cilantro: adds a tangy, zesty, citrus flavor.  If you’re one of the 4-14 percent who thinks cilantro tastes like soap, just skip it. If you love it, add more to taste.
  • Sesame seeds: add a mild, sweet, and nutty flavor and a satisfying crunch.  Use toasted sesame seed for a stronger almond-like flavor.
  • Sunflower seeds:  are a secret ingredient that I add to every salad.  They are addicting on their own which translates into addictive salad!  Make sure to purchase roasted and salted sunflower seeds for the best flavor.
showing how to make Ramen Noodle Salad recipe by adding toasted ramen, cabbage, carrots and sesame seeds to a large white bowl

THE DRESSING

  • Olive oil: I suggest light olive oil for this recipe because you don’t want the oil flavor pronounced. Light olive oil is a refined oil that has a neutral taste and a higher smoke point. It can be used for baking, sautéing, grilling, and frying.
  • Rice vinegar:  is a type of vinegar made from fermented rice. It is typically far less acidic and milder than pure distilled white vinegar and commonly used in dressings and Asian recipes. Look for it next to the other vinegars.  Make sure to use unseasoned/natural rice vinegar – the seasoned is potent!
  • Asian sweet chili sauce:  is not to be confused with Asian Chili sauce/paste without the “sweet” – or your mouth will be on fire! Asian sweet chili sauce is sweet and spicy and packed with flavor from red chilies, onion, garlic, brown sugar and fish sauce.  It can be found in the Asian section of your grocery store.  It is sometimes labeled “Thai Sweet Chili Sauce.”
  • Soy sauce:  grounds the dressing with its salty umami.  I recommend using reduced sodium soy sauce or reducing the salt in the recipe.
  • Sugar:  balances the vinegar to create that sweet and tangy dressing.  Use more or less sugar to taste – some like it sweeter, some like it less sweet.
  • Poppy seeds:  are optional but they just add that little something special.  They are nutty and slightly fruity with a pleasant texture.  You can usually find poppy seeds at the grocery store located next to the spices or on Amazon here. They are definitely good to keep stocked and come in handy in other dressings like in fruit salad, strawberry spinach salad, and watermelon feta salad.
  • Ginger:  really brings the flavor!  It’s warm, pungent and peppery.  Use  2 teaspoons freshly grated ginger.
  • Garlic:  adds a punch of garlicky goodness.   
  • Salt and pepper:  round out and enhance the flavors.  Use more or less to taste. 

Recipe Variations

This Ramen Noodle Salad recipe can be as simple or as elaborate as you like. YOU also have the power to customize the dressing.  Here are a few ideas to make this recipe your own:

  • Sweeten it up: with additional sugar in the dressing or swap the sugar for honey. 
  • Add sweet heat: with additional Asian sweet chili sauce.
  • Spice it up:  add sriracha sauce to taste.
  • Amp up the garlic and/or ginger: for a stronger punch of flavor.
  • Add more crunch: add swap the almonds for roasted peanuts or cashews; take care to purchase raw, unsalted nuts so your Ramen Noodle Salad isn’t too salty.  To elevate your cashews or peanuts, dry roast them in a skillet until toasted-YUM!
  • Add chicken:  shred some store-bought rotisserie chicken to make this Ramen Noodle Salad recipe a complete meal. Shred about 2 cups and toss it in some of dressing before adding to the salad so it can soak up more flavor.
  • Add vegetables:  you can add any vegetables to this recipe such as snow peas, cucumbers, edamame, celery, or bell peppers. I suggest julienning the vegetables, even the snow peas. Bean sprouts would also be tasty.
  • Add edamame: edamame are a type of soybean with a buttery soft bite that are faintly reminiscent of peas with a hint of sweet nuttiness. They pair particularly well with Asian recipes.
  • Add water chestnut: they’re delightfully crunchy and easy to find at any grocery store.
  • Add or swap herbs.  Add mint, Thai basil or chives in addition or instead of the cilantro and green onions.
  • Swap fruit:  swap the Mandarin oranges for pineapple or mangos to keep the fresh, sweet dimension.  Asian pears or Fuji apples would also be tasty sweet and crunchy additions.
  • Use Napa cabbage: has a mild and slightly sweet taste. It’s softer and not as crunchy as green cabbage so make sure you eat the salad right away if using.
  • Swap ramen:  you would need to call this Ramen Noodle Salad by a different name, but you can swap the ramen for wonton strips or chow Mein noodles.
  • Simplify:  I am obsessed with the sweet juiciness the Mandarin oranges and dried cranberries bring, but you may omit them if you like or swap them with another sweet fruit. If you omit the fruit, you will be missing some sweetness so you may need to increase the sugar in the dressing.  You can also skip the sunflower seeds, poppy seeds and sesame seeds if you needed, or just choose one.  

how to make this recipe gluten free  

Ramen noodles are made with flour, wheat and kansui (かん水), but thankfully there are several gluten free options out there. To make this recipe gluten free, use gluten free ramen noodles made from sorghum or millet and brown rice like this one. Use gluten free tamari in place of the soy sauce and double check that the Asian sweet chili sauce is gluten free.

HOW TO ADD PROTEIN TO asian ramen noodle salad

This Asian Ramen Noodle Salad is delicious with chicken, salmon, shrimp, pork or steak to transform it into the main event:

showing how to make Ramen Noodle Salad recipe with side view of ingredients in a bowl: cabbage, carrots, ramen noodles, almonds and optional toppings of sunflower seeds, Mandarin oranges, green onions and dried cranberries

HOW to make ramen noode SALAD

Although the ingredient list is somewhat lengthy, don’t be intimidated by this Ramen Noodle Salad recipe!  It just requires some chopping and whisking the salad ingredients together.  Here’s how to make it:

  • Make dressing.  Add all of the dressing ingredients to a mason jar with a tight-fitting lid or a small bowl. Shake jar or whisk dressing vigorously. Refrigerate until ready to use.
  • Toast ramen and almonds in a skillet or in the oven.  To toast ramen in the oven, spread the ramen and almonds out over a 21 by 15-inch rimmed baking sheet.  Toast in the oven at 400 degrees for 8-10 minutes, or until golden, stirring every 3 minutes.  Set aside to cool.
  • To toast ramen in the skillet: add half of the noodles and half of the almonds to melted butter in skillet.  Sauté while stirring frequently, until the noodle mixture is golden brown.
  • Combine.  Add all salad ingredients to a large bowl. Whisk/shake salad dressing and drizzle desired amount of dressing over salad and toss until well combined. Dig in!

How to thinly slice cabbage

The texture of this Ramen Noodle Cabbage Salad is the star, so make sure to slice the cabbage as thinly as possible.  Here’s how I do it:

  • Remove the tougher out leaves of the cabbage, then rinse and dry the cabbage well.
  • Place the cabbage on a sturdy flat cutting board.  Locate the stem on the bottom, then cut the entire cabbage through the stem
  • Cut the two halves in half to yield quarters. 
  • You will now see the core/stem at the bottom of each quarter.  Cut the core out of each quarter.
  • Now we’re ready to slice!  Make sure your knife is super sharp. It’s a good idea to sharpen it before slicing.  Lay each cabbage quarter on a flat side, and thinly slice into ribbons.
  • Once the cabbage is cut into quarters, you can also use a mandoline to slice the cabbage instead of using a knife. This will yield even more uniform slices and it can be a little quicker than cutting with a knife.

How to Crush the Ramen Noodles

For this Ramen Noodle Salad recipe we want crushed ramen noodles – not tiny bits, but small broken up chunks. Crushed ramen more evenly disperses throughout the salad for maximum crunch. You can crush the ramen while it’s in the packaging with your hands, or I find the easiest method is use a rolling pin.  Remove the blocks of dried ramen from the packaging and transfer them to a freezer size plastic bag.  Use a rolling pin to gently crush the ramen into smaller pieces.

showing how to make Ramen Noodle Salad recipe by pouring salad dressing over the salad

Recipe shortcuts

  • Food Processor.  If you have a food processor, then your salad prep time just got faster!  Attach your shredder blade for the for the cabbage and use your grater blade for the carrots.
  • Use coleslaw.  You will need roughly 13 cups of pre-packaged coleslaw.  You can always use less and then dress the salad with less dressing.
  • Use garlic & ginger powder.  If you’re looking to skip some chopping, you can substitute the fresh garlic and ginger with powders. The typical rule of thumb is 3:1, so one part dried to three parts fresh.
  • Use pre-shredded carrots. Look for matchstick carrots in the produce section for an easy shortcut.

Expert Recipe Tips

  • Customize the salad.  This Asian Ramen Noodle Salad is all about making it YOUR favorite salad!  Do this by adding more or less of any of the ingredients to your liking, or omitting some ingredients completely, as long as you have something sweet (like Mandarin oranges/craisins) and plenty of CRUNCH! 
  • Chill dressing.  You’ll want to refrigerate your dressing for at least 30 minutes, preferably longer, so the flavors deepen and meld. Cold dressing is also much more appetizing than lukewarm dressing. If you are short on time, pop the dressing in the freezer for 30 minutes than refrigerate beyond that.
  • Make the dressing more or less sweet.  Some prefer the dressing sweeter, some like it less sweet.  Do you best to adjust it before you add it to the salad, but it’s also easy to adjust after it’s added to the salad.  You can drizzle on a little rice vinegar for tangier or sprinkle on a little sugar for sweeter, and mix it directly into the salad.
  • Don’t skimp on the CRUNCH.  The crunch is the most important part of this Ramen Noodle Salad recipe – so don’t skimp!  The noodles and almonds bring the crunch and I personally love adding sesame seeds and sunflower seeds as well for more diverse crunch.  I realize this is a lot of ingredients, however, so you can skip the sesame seeds and sunflower seeds if you don’t have them on hand and add additional almonds, or crushed peanuts are also awesome.  
  • Hold the dressing.  The ramen will start to soften as soon as you add the dressing, so only add it once you’re ready to eat.  
  • Serve immediately.  To that end, serve the Asian Ramen Noodle Salad immediately after dressing so it’s at peak freshness.
  • Scale to your Needs.   This recipe makes enough for a family meal, but you can easily half the recipe if you prefer. 
top view showing how to make Asian Ramen Noodle Salad by tossing the ingredients together with the dressing in a white bowl

HOW TO PREP Asian ramen noodle SALAD AHEAD

This ingredients for this Asian Ramen Noodle Salad can all be prepped ahead of time then combined when ready to serve, for a stress-free lunch or dinner win.  Here’s how:

  • Toast ramen:  toast the ramen and almonds, let cool, then store in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 5 days.
  • Combine salad:  most all of the salad ingredients can be sliced/chopped and stored together without becoming soggy; just hold the toasted ramen, almonds and Mandarin oranges.  Store the remaining salad ingredients together in an airtight container for up to 2 days.
  • Dressing:  can be whisked together and stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.

HOW DO I SERVE this recipe so it doesn’t get soggy?

There are three ways to serve this Ramen Noodle Cabbage Salad:

  • If not expecting leftovers:  add all of the salad ingredients to a large salad bowl.  You can toss everything together with the dressing or serve it on the side and let everyone dress their own salads.
  • If expecting leftovers:  toss all of the salad ingredients together in a large salad bowl except the ramen. Serve the ramen and dressing on the side.  This will prevent the salad from getting as soggy when storing.

HOW TO STORE Asian ramen noodle SALAD

If you plan on storing leftover Asian Ramen Noodle Salad, do not toss the salad with ramen or the dressing otherwise you’ll end up with a soggy salad within a couple hours. Instead, store the salad, ramen and dressing in separate airtight containers. The salad without the dressing will last about 3 days in the refrigerator although the cabbage can soften just a bit.

To store the dressing, transfer it to an airtight container and store in the refrigerator for up to one week. The dressing will separate as it sits so shake or whisk to recombine before using.

ramen noodle SALAD SERVING SUGGESTIONS

How many times have you wondered what side to serve with your Asian dishes besides rice and bok choy?  This Asian Ramen Noodle Salad is the answer!  It’s a bright, fresh addition to any Asian plate but it also goes with practically everything, even non-Asian recipes! It’s a favorite at potlucks, picnics and barbecues alongside all of your favorite cookout foods. So, I guess the more appropriate question is – what doesn’t go with Ramen Noodle Salad?  Here are just a few delicious pairings:

Asian Salad Recipes

If you’re loving this Asian Ramen Salad recipe, here are some more favorites to add to your Asian salad repertoire:

  • Asian Salad with Sriracha Peanut Dressing: the crunchy medley of salad ingredients are similar to this Ramen Noodle Cabbage Salad, but the dressing completely changes the flavor profile.  The Sriracha Peanut Dressing is irresistibly creamy, nutty, savory, salty, tangy with a punch (of customizable) heat laced with ginger, garlic, honey, lime and sriracha.  
  • Teriyaki Chicken Salad:  turns your favorite chicken into a salad! This to live for salad is loaded with juicy, savory Sweet Chili Teriyaki Chicken, cool, crisp veggies, sweet pineapple, salty macadamia nuts and toasted coconut all doused with fresh tangy Pineapple Sesame Dressing.
  • Chinese Chicken Salad: is Ramen Noodle Salad’s adult cousin complete with shredded chicken! It is easy, quick, and refreshing layered with crisp, vibrant veggies, crunchy wonton strips and nuts drizzled with dynamite tangy Sesame Ginger Dressing.
  • Vietnamese Noodle Salad:  a refreshing explosion of flavor and texture made with rice vermicelli noodles, juicy lemongrass chicken, fresh slivered vegetables, garnished with crunchy peanuts and fresh cilantro, and drizzled with bright and tangy Vietnamese rice vinegar dressing. 

Ramen Noodle Salad Facts

What are ramen noodles?

Ramen noodles are wheat-based alkaline noodles made with flour, wheat and most importantly kansui (かん水).  This key ingredient is a salty, alkaline liquid that gives the noodles their signature chewy, springy texture once cooked.  There are many types of noodles that fit this criterion with varying shapes, colors, lengths, thicknesses, etc. – they don’t all look like the wavy dried packets we’re most familiar with.  They can vary from thin and straight to thick and wavy, but the one thing they all have in common is kansui – which means they’ve earned the coveted classification as chewy ramen noodles.

Should I add the seasoning packet?

No, please discard the seasoning packet, we do not need it in this recipe.  My recipe uses fresh ingredients like garlic, ginger and green onions and doesn’t rely on the sodium filled packet for flavor.

Would sesame oil work in this Asian Ramen Salad?

Using ½ cup sesame oil would be overwhelming.  Instead, the recipe calls for one tablespoon of sesame oil for a hint of nutty flavor.

How about canola or vegetable oil?

I am not a fan of the taste or texture of canola oil or vegetable oil in this recipe. Instead, I prefer a light olive oil.  If you don’t have light olive oil, use whatever olive oil you have on hand.

Are ramen noodles supposed to be crispy/uncooked?

Yes!  The point of using ramen noodles in this salad recipe is their spectacular crunch!  The ramen noodles will start to soften, even get soggy after they have been sitting in the salad for a while because they will soak up the dressing so, take care you don’t add the ramen noodles until right before serving.

Are ramen noodles vegetarian/vegan?

The noodles themselves are vegan but the seasoning packets are not, so this recipe is vegetarian because we are discarding the packets.  The packets typically include ingredients like “powdered cooked chicken” or “dehydrated beef extract.”  The one major exception to this rule is Nissan Brand Top Ramen.  Both the soy sauce and chili flavors, are vegetarian, including the seasoning packets.

Are ramen noodles gluten free?

No, ramen noodles are made with flour, wheat and kansui (かん水), but thankfully there are several gluten free options out there made from sorghum or millet and brown rice like this one.

showing how to make Asian Ramen Noodle Salad by tossing the salad with the dressing in a white bowl
top view showing how to make Asian Ramen Noodle Salad by tossing the ingredients together with the dressing in a white bowl

Ramen Noodle Salad

The key to the best Ramen Noodle Salad recipe is fresh ingredients, a flavor exploding dressing and tons of CRUNCH – and this salad has it all!  It's beloved by salad lovers and non-salad lovers alike, the first to go at every potluck, prep ahead friendly (just keep the ramen separate), goes with practically everything and super customizable.  This Asian Ramen Noodle Salad is a dynamically addicting medley of crisp cabbage, crunchy Ramen, toasted sliced almonds, salty sunflower seeds, sweet dried cranberries, juicy Mandarin oranges, aromatic green onions and zesty cilantro all doused in sweet and tangy garlic, ginger laced dressing. Of course, you can customize the ingredients just how you like and even turn it into a main dish by adding chicken, steak, salmon or shrimp. No matter how you serve it, this Ramen Noodle Salad recipe is always a showstopper!
Servings: 8 servings
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes

Ingredients

Salad

  • 2 3 oz. pkgs. dry ramen, broken into small pieces, seasoning packets discarded
  • 4 tablespoons butter – optional if toasting ramen in skillet
  • 1 cup sliced almonds
  • 1 medium green cabbage, thinly sliced (8-10 cups)
  • 3 cups thinly sliced red cabbage
  • 2 cups shredded carrots
  • 2 11 oz. cans mandarin oranges, drained
  • 3/4 cup dried cranberries, optional but recommended
  • 1 bunch green onions, sliced (1 cup)
  • 1/3 cup loosely packed cilantro, chopped
  • ¼ cup roasted salted sunflower seeds
  • 3 tablespoons toasted sesame seeds

Dressing

  • 1/2 cup light olive oil
  • 1/4 cup unseasoned rice vinegar
  • 3 tablespoons Asian sweet chili sauce
  • 3 tablespoons sugar, more or less to taste
  • 2 tablespoons low-sodium soy sauce
  • 1 ½ tablespoons poppy seeds (optional)
  • 1 tablespoon toasted sesame oil
  • 2 teaspoons freshly grated ginger
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced or ½ teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper

Instructions

  • Prep: Preheat oven to 400 degrees F if toasting the ramen in the oven verses the skillet. The oven method is slightly healthier but you’ll miss that buttery crunch.  Both methods will work, but I recommend the skillet if you're okay with a little extra butter.
  • Dressing: Add all of the dressing ingredients to a mason jar with a tight-fitting lid or a small bowl. Shake jar or whisk dressing vigorously. Refrigerate until ready to use.

TO TOAST RAMEN IN SKILLET (recommended)

  • Working in two batches, melt half of the butter in a large skillet over medium heat.  Add half of the noodles and half of the almonds.  Sauté while stirring frequently, until the noodle mixture is golden brown. Remove to a plate.  Repeat with remaining ramen and almonds.

TO TOAST RAMEN IN THE OVEN

  • Spread the ramen and almonds out over a 21 by 15-inch rimmed baking sheet.  Toast in the oven at 400 degrees F for 8-10 minutes, or until golden, stirring every 3 minutes.  Set aside to cool.

ASSEMBLE

  • Add all salad ingredients to a large bowl. Whisk/shake salad dressing and drizzle desired amount of dressing over salad and toss until well combined. Best served immediately.

Notes

Storage

If you plan on storing leftover Asian Ramen Noodle Salad, do not toss the salad with ramen or the dressing otherwise you’ll end up with a soggy salad within a couple hours. Instead, store the salad, ramen and dressing in separate airtight containers. The salad without the dressing will last about 3 days in the refrigerator although the cabbage can soften just a bit.
To store the dressing, transfer it to an airtight container and store in the refrigerator for up to one week. The dressing will separate as it sits so shake or whisk to recombine before using.
  • To slice cabbage: remove the tougher out leaves of the cabbage, then rinse and dry the cabbage well. Cut the entire cabbage through the stem, then cut the two halves in half to yield quarters. Cut the core out of each quarter. Lay each cabbage quarter on a flat side, and thinly slice into ribbons.
  • Asian sweet chili sauce:  is not to be confused with Asian Chili sauce/paste without the “sweet” – or your mouth will be on fire! Asian sweet chili sauce is sweet and spicy and packed with flavor from red chilies, onion, garlic, brown sugar and fish sauce.  It can be found in the Asian section of your grocery store.  It is sometimes labeled “Thai Sweet Chili Sauce.”
  • Make the dressing more or less sweet.  Some prefer the dressing sweeter, some like it less sweet.  Do you best to adjust it before you add it to the salad, but it’s also easy to adjust after it’s added to the salad.  You can drizzle on a little rice vinegar for tangier or sprinkle on a little sugar for sweeter, and mix it directly into the salad.
  • Add chicken to make it a complete meal. Shred about 2 cups chicken and toss it in some of dressing before adding to the salad so it can soak up more flavor.
  • Add vegetables. You can add any vegetables to this recipe such as snow peas, cucumbers, edamame, celery, or bell peppers. I suggest julienning the vegetables, even the snow peas. Bean sprouts would also be tasty.
  • Swap fruit. Swap the Mandarin oranges for pineapple or mangos to keep the fresh, sweet dimension.  Asian pears or Fuji apples would also be tasty sweet and crunchy additions.
  • Swap nuts.  Swap the almonds for crushed peanuts or cashews.
  • Make it gluten free: use gluten free ramen noodles made from sorghum or millet and brown rice like this one. Use gluten free tamari in place of the soy sauce and double check that the Asian sweet chili sauce is gluten free.

Recipe shortcuts

  • Food Processor.  If you have a food processor, then your salad prep time just got faster!  Attach your shredder blade for the for the cabbage and use your grater blade for the carrots.
  • Use coleslaw.  You will need roughly 13 cups of pre-packaged coleslaw.  You can always use less and then dress the salad with less dressing.
  • Use garlic & ginger powder.  If you’re looking to skip some chopping, you can substitute the fresh garlic and ginger with powders. The typical rule of thumb is 3:1, so one part dried to three parts fresh.
  • Use pre-shredded carrots. Look for matchstick carrots in the produce section for an easy shortcut.

PREP AHEAD

This ingredients for this Asian Ramen Noodle Salad can all be prepped ahead of time then combined when ready to serve, for a stress-free lunch or dinner win.  Here’s how:
  • Toast ramen:  toast the ramen and almonds, let cool, then store in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 5 days.
  • Combine salad:  most all of the salad ingredients can be sliced/chopped and stored together without becoming soggy; just hold the toasted ramen, almonds and Mandarin oranges.  Store the remaining salad ingredients together in an airtight container for up to 2 days.
  • Dressing:  can be whisked together and stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.
 
 

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4 Comments

  1. Mary says

    Another winning recipe, was so good even with picky teens 🙂

    • Jen says

      Thanks so much Mary, I’m so pleased it was a hit!

  2. JessDR says

    Oh wow, I can’t wait to try this. I used to eat uncooked ramen right out of the package when I was a kid, and this sounds a lot like the chopped salad kits I sometimes get from the grocery store, but fresher and with a from-scratch dressing.

    • Jen says

      Thanks Jess, this sounds right up your ally! I hope you absolutely love it!