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

Pin this recipe on Pinterest to save for later

Pin It!0

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 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.

Ramen salad in a wooden bowl with Mandarin oranges on top

Ramen Salad

4.95 from 18 votes
A better, healthy version of the classic crunchy Ramen Salad made with fresh ingredients. Cabbage coleslaw makes it quick and easy. A potluck favorite!

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 ½ cups shelled frozen edamame thawed
  • 1 cup shredded carrots
  • 4 scallions thinly sliced (both white and green parts)
  • ½ cup canned mandarin orange segments in light syrup rinsed and drained

For the Dressing:

  • ¼ cup rice vinegar
  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons honey substitute agave if vegan
  • 1 tablespoon low-sodium soy sauce
  • ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
  • ¼ 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

Join today and start saving your favorite recipes

Create an account to easily save your favorite projects and tutorials.

Register

More Potluck-Friendly Salads

Did you try this recipe?

I want to see!

Follow @wellplated on Instagram, snap a photo, and tag it #wellplated. I love to know what you are making!

Share this Article

Pin0

This post contains some affiliate links, which means that I make a small commission off items you purchase at no additional cost to you.

You May Also Like

Free Email Series
5 Secrets for Cooking Tasty and Healthy
My secrets for making wholesome meals you'll WANT to eat.

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!

Learn more about Erin

Leave a Comment

Did you make this recipe?

Don't forget to leave a review!

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Recipe Rating




79 Comments

Leave a comment

  1. I’m so glad we can toss that seasoning packet out the window! Looks delicious and healthy Erin! 

  2. The Midwest is so weird! We always have this and pretzel salad at parties, plus a concoction of lime jello, pineapple, cool whip, and cottage cheese. I refused to eat it for years, but it’s actually SO good. This lightened up version looks awesome!

  3. You are so right, this salad is a staple.  Everyone always loves it!  Sharing now!

  4. Yummy!! I’ve never had this before,I grew up in Arkansas and I don’t remember this being at any of the potlucks! But it sure does make me hungry! 

  5. I’m so excited about this salad. I love that you healthified it. I’ll be making and eating this salad all the time now.

  6. This looks wonderful! It would be a great dish for a barbecue or picnic! Can’t wait to try! 

    1. Thank you for re-making this classic! I can’t wait to make it this weekend for my family! I grew up eating (and loving) the classic version but this dressing sounds amazing and I love that you added edamame and almonds. Can’t wait to try it. And I’ll probably grill some chicken to toss in it for a one-dish lunch. I think we will be well into the 110 degree range this weekend so the more awesome salads the better!

    2. I love the combo of veggies, nuts. What I did find was it was slightly lacking in a distinctive flavor in the dressing. I had some at a lunchtime gathering. I had some leftover for dinner, so, I added just a very small amount of sesame oil, and that did the trick. Good combo and has eye appeal, will make again, maybe a touch of both garlic and ginger? as well.5 stars

  7. I’ve also tried to make this salad healthier (by tossing out the ultra-salty seasoning packet) but couldn’t quite get the right flavor! You did it! I love that you added nuts and pre-toasted them with the ramen. When I made it before, I added diagonally sliced pea pods. I agree, can’t do without those Mandarin oranges! I was just thinking about what to make for Memorial Day – and voila! Thank you, thank you, Erin! 

  8. i love this updated ramen salad! i am from the midwest, but fortunately my family did NOT have all those weird steroetypical midwestern side dishes. phewww! when i had them with friends or whatnot, i was like…what is this stuff?! :)

  9. This is perfection Erin! The perfect combination of healthy and nostalgic ingredients. Mandarins and ramen are key!!! So so yummy. 

  10. I didn’t know this salad is a spate in USA. Here in Canada I don’t think it is that popular, but I really don’t understand why not because it looks a delicious salad. I believe it would be a great dish for a picnic or a summer dinner party! 

  11. Yum! This is one of my favourite salads, but here in NZ we call it noodle coleslaw! And one of the essential ingredients (for me) is caramelised almonds. Not healthy, but those little sticky sweet bits of crunch are what makes it for me! I’ll have to try your version as well – I’ve never tried it with oranges before, but it looks nice!

  12. Love the idea for this salad! It looks so simple to make, and yet I’m sure the flavours are amazing! I’ve never thought to add ramen to my salads, even though ramen noodle soups are definitely something I adore. This is a more summer friendly version of the soup haha! love it!
    X

  13. I’ve never had toasted ramen noodles but I’d love to try them in this salad. The flavors and textures sound addicting!

  14. I have had the ramen salad before but not with oranges or toasted noodles. I did not grow up in the midwest, but sure wish I did by that list of traditional pot luck dishes! Fluff salad? Strawberry pretzel? Whaaaat?

  15. Help!  I’m making this salad for dinner tonight, and I don’t see in the recipe when to add the ramen and the almonds (I may just be overlooking them).  If I add them before the dressing and then refrigerate the whole salad, won’t the ramen and almonds lose their crunch?  Thanks for your help.

    1. Hi Jocelyn,
      You are totally find to stir in the ramen and almonds with the dressing. It might soften a little but won’t be too noticeable on the first day. If you prefer to wait to add them for maximum crunch, however, that is totally an option too!

  16. This turned out great!  I added the ramen noodles, almonds, and the sesame noodles at the last minute to achieve maximum crunchiness.  (Interestingly enough, the noodles seemed less crunchy after toasting than straight out of the package.)  Thanks so much!5 stars

    1. Jocelyn, I’m so happy to hear that you enjoyed this recipe! That is odd about the ramen (maybe it just needed to toast a little longer?) but regardless, I’m glad you were happy with how it turned out!

  17. I made the dressing first, and it taste awesome but I used red pepper to spice it up. Yum Yum. I plan to take to work for lunch. Maybe toss some sautéed or grilled shrimp on top or grilled chicken while experimenting with different nuts and seeds so I can have all the time. Also experiment with variations of Veggies. So excited. 5 stars

    1. Jaene, I’m so happy to hear this! I hope you enjoy many wonderful versions of the salad in meals to come:-) Thanks so much for trying a recipe and taking time to leave your comment. It means a lot!

  18. Made this for my lunches this week and it has tasted great so far!  You’re right that the ramen loses it’s crunch after a couple of days, but it’s still mighty tasty either way!  Thanks for another great recipe Erin5 stars

  19. Since I’m a single woman and was craving the basic ramen/slaw salad, I just had to have it. Needless to say, I’ve got a LOT left over. I’m loathe to waste. Do you know if it can be frozen?
    Thanks.

    1. Hi Pat, while this can be stored in the fridge for a few days, I don’t think it would do well being frozen (veggies tend to get really limp and watery when thawed). I hope you enjoyed it!

  20. So weird. I’m from the Midwest, and I never heard of Ramen salad until I moved to the East Coast (and I’ve never actually encountered it in the wild in either place). I’m wondering if Ramen salad is a more recent thing?

    1. Hi Min! It’s not recent, but it’s possible that there are pockets where it’s not a popular dish. If you decide to give it a try, I hope you enjoy!

  21. I live in California. We make it here too! I add chicken to mine to make a complete meal. Thanks for making it healthier. 

    1. Chicken would be a great addition, Randi! I’m glad to hear this salad’s fame is not just limited to the Midwest. ;)

  22. Wow this looks amazing! I’m from the UK so have never heard of any of your strange Midwest ‘salads’. I can’t wait to try this one… not sure about the jello one though!

  23. If I make the salad a day ahead do I go ahead and add the dressing or what until I’m going to serve it?

  24. Went right to the store to pick up the ingredients tonight and made it.  Had some for supper and it was good,  will be eating it tomorrow for lunch.5 stars

  25. One of my faves. I enjoy the addition of edamame! I used honey vinegar (from Williams Sonoma) since I had it on hand. Thank you for the delicious recipe!5 stars

  26. I made it this evening for a light dinner since it it like 95 degrees out. Loved it! I think I will make it again for a 4th of July potluck.5 stars

  27. 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. Thank you!5 stars

  28. I hesitate to rate the recipe before trying, but all those yummy ingredients combined sound heavenly. Can’t wait to try it.

    This is just an aside, but I loved when you mentioned soy sauce on eggs. I have a very dear Japanese friend from college days who introduced me to soy sauce and sugar in my scrambled eggs. She whisked the sugar into the eggs, and then lightly poured soy sauce on. Ayako also had a little sesame seed grinder & ground a few sesame seeds over the top of the eggs. (She gifted me with one of these grinders.) Your mention of the soy sauce made for a very warm memory of good times with Ayako. Although she left to go back to Japan at the end of our junior year, we have stayed in touch. I’ve only seen her once since 1974, and that was in 1999. She and her husband, Haruo, were staying at  Plaza Hotel in NYC. My son escorted me in on the bus from NJ, and was able to meet her. That evening, my husband joined us and we  had a lovely dinner together. We now instant message to stay connected.5 stars

    1. Hi Diane! Thank you so much for taking the time to share this wonderful story and for the kind review! I love hearing how my recipes bring up these fond memories!

  29. Hi Erin, I’ve  made the infamous Asian salad many times and love it, but now after checking out your recipe for the Ramen Salad, I just know that it is absolutely delicious and  it looks especially pretty..(you clever girl, thanks for sharing)…I’m going into town today  getting the items needed for your salad…I’ll  be making this salad over  and over again……5 stars

  30. I’m about to make this for the 2nd time. It’s delicious! I didn’t have sliced almonds, so I’m using sunflower seeds. They get a bit dark, but it adds so much flavor! Thanks so much for your efforts at making this a little healthier than the original recipe, and for sharing your ideas with us. Yummy!5 stars

  31. Unbelievably easy zucchini pie was huge hit. In this new age of hunkering down, this is my favorite new recipe. Please send me more incredibly easy recipes. This one didn’t last long enough.5 stars

  32. This Coleslaw was wonderful! Delicious and very easy to put together. I just made a single dish for me but toasted the noodles. almonds and sunflower seeds as that is what I had on hand. Thank you for this lovely recipe. Stay safe.5 stars

  33. Hi Erin. This salad is soooo good! My family and I loved it. I added about 1 tablespoon sugar to the dressing as our preference is on the sweeter side. It was in the frig for 3 hours before it was served. 
    I served it with your Orange Chicken recipe. They compliment each other well. I do have a question about the frozen edamame. I didn’t see if I was suppose to cook it so I boiled it for about 5 minutes. Is it necessary to cook it before adding it to the salad?5 stars

    1. I’m so happy that you enjoyed it, Mary! Thank you for sharing this kind review! For the edamame, you can just let it thaw, then add it to the recipe as directed.

  34. Great salad! I added Finely chopped romain and red bell pepper and omitted almonds but otherwise did exactly as written- super great also added well plated’s soy ginger salmon – super awesome!5 stars