A picnic classic – with a lighter dressing and more colorful veggies; guests will love these recipe tweeks. ~ by Serena Ball, MS, RD
It’s a picnic and pot luck classic: Community cookbooks know it as: “Nutty Cabbage Salad,” “Cabbage Ramen Slaw” or in one of my spiral-bound cookbooks simply, “Ramen Noodle Salad.”
This dietitian knows it by the oily wet spot it leaves on my paper picnic plate – which is why I usually search out a bit fresher fare at the barbecue. But at a recent cook-out, I saw that salad again and got a hankering for the crunch added by those ramen noodles. (Maybe because I get to reminisce my college days every Thursday on Facebook’s Throw-back Thursdays – and I ate a lot of ramen noodles in college – crunchy and cooked.)
So I set out to make the classic Ramen Noodle Salad healthier. And the result was surprisingly delicious! I mean – WAY more delicious than the original! In fact you can take it to 4th of July parties with confidence – that the only way anyone will notice a difference – is that their plate won’t be so heavy from a salad containing a full 1 cup of oil and 1/2 cup of sugar for a mere 1 bag of shredded cabbage.
Here’s what I did:
- Skipped the 1/2 cup butter drenched on almonds and noodles before toasting.
- Added the noodles right before serving so they don’t get soggy (since they weren’t bathed in butter to keep crisp.)
- Cut the amounts of oil and sugar
- Instead of 3 packages of noodles, I used 1 package. There was still PLENTY of crunch – especially since the noodles were added right before serving.
- Instead of 3 whole packets of seasoning mix, use 3/4 teaspoon; then you will actually taste the veggies – and not just a salt bomb
- Added more vegetables for fun textures and taste: Sweet fresh corn, shredded carrots, and edamame beans (or frozen lima beans if you can’t find edamame
- Added basil. And boy, does it shine and freshen this salad. I may even declare it’s a new classic combo: Cabbage Ramen Noodle Salad + Basil = Tomato + basil
What classic salads will you be serving for the 4th of July? Would you dare to switch-up the recipe to make it a bit healthier?