Asian Ramen Salad

My mom has made a salad similar to this one for years.  It has always been one of my favorites and also one of those salads I could make a meal out of and and be left feeling completely satisfied after devouring bowl after bowl.  Her trick is to use the seasoning packet in the Oriental flavor Top Ramen noodles (only vegetarian flavor I believe) in her dressing.  I didn’t happen to have that flavor in my pantry so I whipped up a tangy dressing out of things I usually always have on hand.  Then I added some tofu for added protein and to make the salad more of a meal.  It was too hot to do any serious cooking yesterday (besides cooking the tofu and toasting up some almonds of course.)  If you leave the whole salad in the fridge for about an hour before serving you’ll have an extra refreshing chilled dinner on a sunny day.

Asian Ramen Salad (makes 4-6 entree servings)

You’ll need:

  • 1/2 head Napa cabbage, quartered and thinly chopped
  • 1/2 head green cabbage, quartered and thinly chopped
  • 1 bunch of cilantro, chopped
  • 1 bunch of scallions, chopped
  • noodles from 1 Top Ramen packet, not the seasoning
  • 1 block extra firm tofu, cut into small cubes and most of moisture squeezed out with paper towels
  • 1 cup of dry-toasted sliced almonds
  • soy sauce
  • rice wine vinegar
  • honey
  • olive oil
  • sesame oil
  • juice of 2 limes
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced or pushed through garlic press
  • salt & pepper

Start by dry frying (no oil in the pan) the tofu in a large non-stick skillet over medium-high heat.  When tofu starts to brown on all sides, add a few pours (3 or 4 times around the pan) of soy sauce and rice wine vinegar and a couple squeezes of honey.  Toss the cubes around until they are completely coated and let color develop to a dark brown.  Turn off heat.  In a smaller dry saute pan, toast the almonds over medium heat just until they brown a little.  Stir the almonds a few times and watch closely so they don’t burn.  Turn off heat.  Next, make the dressing.  In a jar or other container with a tight fitting lid, add about 1/3 cup olive oil, 1/4 cup rice wine vinegar, a few splashes of soy sauce, one little dash of sesame oil, the lime juice, the garlic, and a squeeze or two of honey.  Shake it all up until everything is emulsified together.  Taste for seasoning.  Mine needed a little more salt and a few grinds of black pepper.  Now assemble the salad.  In a large bowl, combine both cabbages, cilantro, scallions, tofu, and almonds.  Next, break up the ramen noodles into bite size pieces and add the dressing.  Toss everything together and eat.  Can be made a few hours ahead but if you want to do this I suggest holding off on adding the noodles until right before serving as they can get a little soggy once they are mixed with the dressing.

I hope you enjoy this salad!  Oh and sorry for the non-precise measurements…I really just threw this one together and tasted it as I went along.  🙂

 

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