Lighter Cabbage Ramen Noodle Salad

Lighter Cabbage Ramen Noodle Salad |

A picnic classic – with a lighter dressing and more colorful veggies; guests will love these recipe tweeks. ~ 

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.

Lighter Cabbage Ramen Noodle Salad |

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

Cabbage Ramen Noodle Salad

A picnic classic – with a lighter dressing and more colorful veggies; guests will love these recipe tweeks to Cabbage Ramen Noodle Salad.

  • Yield: 6-8 servings 1x


  • 1/3 cup plain almonds, roughly chopped
  • 1 package (3 oz) ramen noodles, crumbled into bite-sized pieces
  • 1 (10 oz) bag shredded cabbage
  • 2 green onions, sliced
  • 1 large carrot, shredded
  • 1 cup frozen edamame beans, thawed
  • 1 ear fresh corn, kernels sliced off (or 1 cup frozen corn, thawed)
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar (or granulated sugar)
  • 2 tablespoons canola or olive oil
  • 1/4 cup rice vinegar


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Open ramen noodle package and crumble noodles into bite-sized pieces; reserve seasoning packet for dressing.
  3. On a large baking sheet, sprinkle almonds and crumbled noodles; bake 10 minutes to toast. Watch nuts closely to prevent burning. Cool.
  4. In a large serving bowl, combine cabbage, onion, carrot, edamame, and corn; toss to combine.
  5. In a small bowl, whisk together sugar, oil, vinegar and 3/4 teaspoon of reserved seasoning packet. Pour over salad and toss.
  6. Just before serving, add toasted almonds and noodles and toss gently.

Did you make this recipe?

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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?


We’re Serena & Deanna, two dietitians who love food as much as you do!  

We're also moms and business owners who share our family recipes, healthy kitchen hacks and nutrition adventures while keeping it real in the kitchen with you.

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