If you visit the Midwest, I challenge you to find a single potluck, family reunion, church picnic, or holiday meal that doesn’t involve some version of today’s crunchy Asian Ramen Salad. It is ubiquitous. It is my childhood. It is perhaps the best, most addictive side dish ever created.

Healthy and crunchy Ramen Noodle Salad made with cabbage coleslaw in a wooden bowl, topped with ramen noodles and mandarin oranges

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How do I explain this oriental ramen noodle salad to those of you who didn’t grow up in the Midwest?

If you’ve never eaten crunchy ramen salad, my hunch is that you might be skeptical of crumbling an uncooked ramen noodle packet (yes, I do mean the same ramen noodle packet that helped you survive college) over a bowl of bagged cabbage coleslaw.

You might not believe me when I tell you that canned mandarin oranges are mandatory.

That before the Brussels Sprouts Slaw, Creamy Cucumber Salad, Grilled Corn Salad, or even Mexican Corn Salad, THIS ramen salad recipe is the dish first inhaled by the hungry hoards.

Make ramen salad for your next potluck and you’ll see I speak truth.

A bowl of Ramen Salad with cabbage, mandarin oranges, and ramen noodles

I can’t specifically pinpoint the one single item that makes this salad so enduringly popular and outrageously addictive.

I suspect it lies somewhere between the crispness of the coleslaw, the toastiness of the almonds, the sweetness of the dressing, and the fact that crumbling uncooked ramen noodles over a dish and then declaring it a salad feels like a bit of a win.

I do know that as soon as I spy the cabbage ramen salad (or this Asian Cabbage Salad) on the buffet line, I barrel down upon it. This is the moment: seize it before it’s gone.

Ingredients for Ramen Salad, including cabbage, carrots, edamame, and mandarin oranges

5 Star Review

“This is excellent! My husband had two big helpings and declared it a winner. I’ve eaten many disappointing, oily versions of ramen salad, so I’m excited to have the perfect recipe.”

— Jill —

How to Make Ramen Salad

The original version in my childhood parish cookbook is a ramen noodle salad with seasoning packet. It calls for a waterfall of vegetable oil, three packets of ramen noodles, and the mysterious seasonings that come with it.

I decided to see if I could come up with a healthy adaptation of the classic cabbage ramen salad using real ingredients that would be as irresistible as the original church-lady version.

The final report: GLOWING.

Today’s recipe is just as obsessively good as any classic Asian ramen salad, but it’s better for you!


The Ingredients

  • Coleslaw Mix. Shredded cabbage forms the crunchy base for this salad. Use a coleslaw mix for an easy coleslaw ramen noodle salad, or shred your own.

Ingredient Swap

Instead of a traditional coleslaw mix made with cabbage, use broccoli slaw to make a broccoli ramen salad.

  • Shredded Carrots. To boost the vegetable content. They make the salad more colorful too.
  • Edamame. Not at all traditional but perfect in every way here. They make the ramen salad buttery and more satisfying.
  • Green Onions. For a bit of zip.
  • Mandarin Oranges. They add a delicious sweetness to the salad and are pretty much mandatory by all ramen noodle salad standards.
  • Ramen Noodles. For that classic, addictive crunch that gives the recipe its name.
  • Almonds + Sesame Seeds. Two bonus ingredients that become delightfully flavorful once toasted and help make this ramen noodles coleslaw crunch salad feel complete.
  • Dressing. A big opportunity to slim down this crunch ramen salad was in the dressing. I used a moderate amount of heart-healthy olive oil, rice vinegar, soy sauce, and honey. The revamped dressing is sweet and salty, well balanced, and loads better for you than the original.

The Directions

A sheet pan of toasted ramen noodles and almonds
  1. Toast the ramen noodles, almonds, and sesame seeds in the oven.
  2. Stir the dressing ingredients together.
  3. Toss it all together. Finish with the oranges and ENJOY!

Storage Tips

  • To Store. Cover and refrigerate leftovers for up to 3 days.

Meal Plan Tip

Fully assembled, Asian ramen salad can be made 3 hours in advance. In fact, I think it tastes better once the flavors have had a chance to marry.

If you wait to add the ramen noodles, nuts, and sesame seeds, you can make it 1 full day in advance. (The ramen noodles soften as the salad sits, so add them last.)

What to Serve with Asian Ramen Salad

A bowl of Ramen Noodle Salad

Recommended Tools to Make this Recipe

The Best Baking Sheets

These are some of my must-have, most-used kitchen tools. I use mine almost daily!

Ramen salad in a wooden bowl with Mandarin oranges on top

Did you make this recipe?

Let me know what you thought!

Leave a rating below in the comments and let me know how you liked the recipe.

Looking for an easy crowd-pleaser for your next potluck, a stellar side, or a taste of the Midwest?

You’ve found it right here in this ramen noodle salad!

Ramen salad in a wooden bowl with Mandarin oranges on top

Ramen Salad

4.98 from 34 votes
A better, healthy version of the original Asian ramen salad with fresh ingredients. Ramen salad is a quick and easy favorite at any potluck!

Prep: 10 mins
Cook: 5 mins
Total: 15 mins

Servings: 8 servings

Ingredients
  

For the Salad:

  • 1 package ramen noodles (3 ounces)
  • 2/3 cup sliced almonds
  • 2 tablespoons sesame seeds
  • 1 bag coleslaw mix (16 ounces)
  • 1 1/2 cups shelled frozen edamame thawed
  • 1 cup shredded carrots
  • 4 scallions thinly sliced (both white and green parts)
  • 1/2 cup canned mandarin orange segments in light syrup rinsed and drained

For the Dressing:

  • 1/4 cup rice vinegar
  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons honey substitute agave if vegan
  • 1 tablespoon low-sodium soy sauce
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper

Instructions
 

  • Place a rack in the center of your oven and preheat the oven to 425 degrees F. Crumble the ramen noodles onto a baking sheet and spread them in a single layer along with the almonds. Bake for 5 minutes, remove from the oven, add the sesame seeds, and toss, then bake for 1 to 3 additional minutes until fragrant and golden. Watch closely so that the mixture does not burn. Set aside.
  • In a small bowl, briskly stir together all of the dressing ingredients: rice vinegar, olive oil, honey, soy sauce, salt, and pepper. (Alternatively, you can shake them together in a mason jar with a tight-fitting lid.)
  • In a serving bowl, toss together the coleslaw, edamame, carrots, scallions, and toasted ramen and almonds. Drizzle the dressing over the top, then toss again to combine. Sprinkle the oranges over the top, then refrigerate until ready to serve.

Notes

  • TO STORE: Leftover salad will last in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.

Nutrition

Serving: 1(of 8)Calories: 236kcalCarbohydrates: 23gProtein: 8gFat: 14gSaturated Fat: 2gPotassium: 385mgFiber: 5gSugar: 9gVitamin A: 2475IUVitamin C: 27.9mgCalcium: 98mgIron: 2.3mg

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Erin Clarke

Hi, I'm Erin Clarke, and I'm fearlessly dedicated to making healthy food that's affordable, easy-to-make, and best of all DELISH. I'm the author and recipe developer here at wellplated.com and of The Well Plated Cookbook. I adore both sweets and veggies, and I am on a mission to save you time and dishes. WELCOME!

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140 Comments

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  1. Hi Erin,

    I made this salad a couple of months ago. I loved the flavours and definitely want to make it again. I have never heard of ramen noodles and was unable to find them in my local grocery store. Of course I did not have a visual idea of what I was looking for. Could you explain what ramen noodles are and possibly suggest a substitute.

    I love your recipes and many of them are regulars at our house.

    1. Hi Anita! You will typically find the noodles in an Asian grocery store, or on the Asian aisle of your local grocery store. You could also Google “what are ramen noodles” and you will find a vast list of what they look like. You could even try to Google ramen noodles and (insert the name of your local grocery store) and hopefully that will bring up something visually for you to check out. Hope that helps!

    1. Hi Rose, in this recipe, I use frozen edamame thawed. The edamame is typically parboiled before frozen. This is generally how I use it. Hope this helps!

  2. Hi there Erin,
    Your recipes look amazing! Is there any way that you can include the Sodium content on your nutrition list? As someone who watches Sodium intake, I’d find this extremely helpful.
    Thank you so much.

    Warm regards,
    Reeny

    1. Hi Reeny, I stopped including sodium info because it can vary so much depending upon what products you used, and I found a lot of conflicting info online, so ultimately I didn’t feel comfortable publishing it because sometimes it wasn’t even in the ballpark. If you’d like to calculate it yourself, there are lots of free tools online (myfitnesspal.com is popular). I hope that helps!

  3. I LOVED your version! I doubled the recipe. The only thing I did differently was to put a quarter of the soy and put in the mystery seasoning packet. (1). Will always use this recipe. My husband particularly loves it. (Me too)

  4. This recipe sounds awesome. I am one who is not very fond of Edimame. Do you have a different item to suggest to replace it?

    1. Hi Gail! As you will see in the ingredients list, the seasoning packet is not included. I do not use it in the recipe. Hope this helps!

  5. Hi Erin! Had this many years ago and it was DELICIOUS!!! The woman who prepared it made it slightly differently. She added shredded chicken and red bell pepper sliced “matchstick”-style. Instead of Cole slaw mix, she used thinly sliced iceberg lettuce, which she added last minute(of course! Would’ve been soggy if she added it early). I loved it and asked for the recipe, which is how I’m able to share the slight difference in prep.
    Thank you, Erin, for presenting the salad recipe and reminding me I MUST make this again this Spring/Summer!!! Perfect hot weather entree or potluck offering!!!!

  6. Wow! This is the best! So many flavors, so fresh! It’s like Chinese chicken salad minus the chicken but even better.5 stars

  7. Thanks for helping recreate an old fave! Used maple syrup for vegan friends & a dash of Asian chili oil to make up for omitting black pepper (spouse hates pepper). Glorious!!!
    Note to those new to ramen: THIS DOESN’T WORK WITH “HEALTHY” RAMEN PACKAGES OUT NOW! You must use “old school” like Top Ramen or Maruchan. The pre-frying makes them crunchy instead of tooth-breaking, before being boiled. Many new/healthier versions aren’t fried, so it’s like eating any other dried noodle: unpleasant.
    Bottom line, make sure the ramen ingredients include oil of some kind so you know it’s fried (crispy).
    Only saying this b/c a friend tried a similar salad with Lotus or Koyo brand (almost no fat, no pre-frying) – sadly inedible results.
    On the plus side, the right stuff for this recipe costs less!

    Also note that there’s seasoned vs unseasoned rice vinegar. I didn’t see it specified here yet. If using seasoned (sugar added, think “sushi rice flavor”) vs unseasoned (vinegar flavor), one may need less honey or syrup, depending on prefs.

    Sorry so long-winded, just trying to help clarify to avoid potential probs. TY again for the WONDERFUL recipe!!5 stars

    1. I’m so happy that you enjoyed it, Aliza! Thank you for sharing this kind and helpful review!

      1. It doesn’t look like you answered her question in regards to if you’re using seasoned or unseasoned rice vinegar?
        Thank you

  8. This recipe is so delicious and a crowd pleaser! I made this for a summer BBQ and plan to make this one of my go-to summer salads! This even tastes great as leftovers; just note since the ramen absorbs the dressing it does lose its crunch after awhile so the texture for leftovers is different, but still very good. Great recipe, highly recommended!5 stars

  9. Ramen/Mandarin Salad was a huge hit with alls ages Cool crisp colorful and just right on the dressing. And, so fast and easy. I will use it all summer!5 stars

  10. Loved this! I plan to make this for guests lots of times this summer at our lake house. So, I assembled and made ahead the ramen, slivered almond, sesame portions and stored them in Tupperware ready to go. Cans of Mandarin oranges in the pantry. Now I just need the easy parts and I’m ready to both feed and ENJOY my guests. Terrific recipe, thank you!5 stars

  11. Can’t wait to try this recipe! Could another type of vinegar be used in place of rice wine vinegar?

    1. Hi Ronda, I haven’t tried this myself but others have used rice vinegar with great success. Hope you enjoy it!

  12. I love this! The oranges always, of course, elevate this salad. All your Midwest recipes are the same as our west coast recipes. 🙂5 stars

  13. I’m thinking about making this salad for a Hawaiian themed party I’m attending. You think I could substitute the mandarin oranges for pineapple chunks instead?

    1. Hi Maureen! I’ve only made this with mandarin oranges so I wouldn’t be able to say how it would turn out if you use pineapple. If you decide to experiment, let me know how it goes!

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