We’ve been eating the same foods in our house a lot recently so I decided to find a new side dish. I’d been thinking about an Asian slaw salad that became popular a while ago, the one with ramen noodles in it. It is made up of cabbage, almonds, ramen noodles and a slightly sweet vinaigrette dressing containing some of the ramen spice mix. Many nuts bother Colin so I thought I could make the salad without nuts and I’d be good to go. So I headed to the grocery store.
Let the hunting begin! Twenty minutes later I am sitting on the floor at the grocery store reading ramen noodles. Digging around on shelves, several packages in my lap, trying to read the tiny print on the little square packages. Did I look crazy? Yes. Did I care? No. I like to think I have a new relationship with the grocery store since I spend so much time there reading the back of packages. Anyway… All the ramen packages were on the very bottom shelf and there were at least 3 different brands and 5 or more flavor varieties. I was determined to find ones without soy, dairy or chicken in them. I found some packages had the ingredients for the spice package and noodles listed together and somewhere along the list was an offender. Other boxes had safe noodles but not spices or vice versa. I finally gave up on finding a totally safe package and found one package that had safe noodles.
I took this home and decided I’d make something up and see how it went. I combined sugar, apple cider vinegar and olive oil and poured it over the coleslaw. It was nice and tangy but needed something else so I added some pepper and seasoned salt. I kept tasting and adding more pepper and seasoned salt until there was a nice balance of sweet and savory.
Then I took half of the dry ramen noodles and crushed them up in my hands. I sprinkled them over the coleslaw, mixed it all together and let it sit while I prepared the rest of dinner.
When I served it, the cabbage had wilted a bit (the way I think coleslaw should be) and the ramen noodles were just a tad bit softer but still very crunchy. It was really good. In fact, we’ve made three times this month since it was so easy and delicious.
I have even served the slaw to guests. I am always nervous serving my adapted “safe” foods to other people who might really miss the “real thing.” To my surprise, my father-in-law raved about the slaw. He asked for second helpings and inquired about the ingredients.
The next day the ramen had absorbed some of the dressing so the crunch was gone but it was still very tasty. I think I almost liked it even better that way.
Sweet Vinaigrette Coleslaw with Ramen
1/4 cup neutral oil – I use Canola oil
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1/8 cup apple cider vinegar
1 (16oz) bag of preshredded Cabbage or Coleslaw Mix
1/2 package of soy free Ramen noodles, dry – I use Top Ramen shrimp flavor
about 1/4 teaspoon Seasoned salt or other all purpose seasoning blend (sometimes I use Curt’s Table Spice)
1/8 to 1/4 teaspoon Black Pepper
In a small bowl combine the oil, sugar and vinegar and whip it with a fork for about 30 seconds. Open the coleslaw mix and dump it into a large bowl. Pour the oil/vinegar mixture over the coleslaw and use tongs or a large spoon to mix and distribute the vinaigrette evenly throughout. Sprinkle 1/4 teaspoon seasoned salt and 1/8 teaspoon pepper over the slaw. Open the ramen and discard the spice packet. Break the block of noodles in half and put one half aside for the next time you want to make this salad. Over the coleslaw bowl, crush the half block of noodles with your hands until they are small pieces and sprinkle into the salad. Stir to combine. Let this mixture sit for about 10 minutes before stirring again. The cabbage will soften and shrink a bit. Taste the coleslaw and add more pepper or seasoning if desired.
Goes great with bbq!