Perfect Summer Side – Crunchy Ramen Cabbage Salad

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My friend Lisa makes the perfect summer salad: it’s colorful, crunchy, light and refreshing. Those who don’t love traditional green salads (like me) love it…and those who do love salad love it too. In fact, some of my friends even mixed this crunchy slaw/salad with a green salad!

Crunchy Ramen Cabbage Salad is a great lo-co side dish. It’s heart-healthy as it’s just veggies with cholesterol-lowering almonds and a zippy dressing made with heart-healthy oil. And it’s easy to make AND easy to bring to a picnic or pot luck. Plus if you take the time to slice up red cabbage (which is easier than I imagined) this red salad looks great on a summer table. (Though frankly, the pre-shredded cabbage mixture option is lightning-fast, and looks and tastes great too.)

Since Lisa’s one of those fabulous home cooks who can create amazing dishes without a recipe (yes, I’m jealous) I used her notes and then did a little research on cabbage salads / slaws with poppyseed dressing. The result is this healthy, delicious summer side.

“Cook” it up soon…and you’ll be making it all summer!

Crunchy Ramen Cabbage Salad with Poppyseed Dressing
Prep Time
15 mins
Cook Time
5 mins
Servings: 8 people
Poppyseed Dressing
  • 1/4 medium onion very finely chopped (or pulverized in food processor)
  • 1/4 cup white wine vinegar or champagne vinegar or sherry vinegar
  • 1/4 cup sugar (or a bit less)
  • 1/2 tsp kosher salt
  • 1/2 tsp ground (dry) mustard
  • 1/2 cup olive oil, grapeseed oil, or a mix (see note)
  • 1.5 TBSP poppy seeds
  • 1 package shredded cabbage (red and green) with carrots
  • 1/2 head red cabbage shredded/sliced (or just use 2 packages of the pre-shredded if you don't want to slice cabbage)
  • 4 bunches scallions thinly sliced, only white part
  • 1/2 cup slivered almonds - toasted (to taste: 1/4 - 1/2 cup... untoasted is OK. Set aside some for topping)
  • 2 packages uncooked ramen noodles - crushed in bag (Set aside some for topping)
Make Poppyseed Dressing - at least 2 hours in advance
  1. In food processor, add onion and puree.

  2. In small bowl (with spout) whisk together vinegar and sugar.

  3. Add to pureed onions in the food processor the vinegar and sugar mixture, salt, and mustard. Process.

  4. With food processor running, slowly add the oil(s).

  5. Taste and adjust seasoning if necessary. Pour into cruet and add poppy seeds and shake. Store in refrigerator for at least 2 hours before using.

Salad Assembly
  1. Slice cabbage if not using pre-shredded.

  2. Slice the scallions.

  3. Toast the almonds (if toasting).

  4. Crumble the uncooked ramen - sometimes easiest to do while it's in the unopened package. (Discard the flavor packets.)

  5. Just before serving, in a large bowl, mix together all the salad ingredients -- setting aside some of the ramen noodles and almonds for topping. Dress lightly with the poppyseed dressing and toss well (you'll have dressing left over). Top with the reserved almonds and ramen and serve.

Recipe Notes

If you are bringing this to a pot-luck, bring the salad (minus the ramen and almonds) already-mixed—but not dressed—in a bowl, and bring the almonds and crushed ramen and poppyseed dressing separately. Then mix in (most of) the ramen and almonds, dress, toss and top with the remaining ramen and almonds.


I based this poppyseed dressing on a combination of recipes, but I relied heavily on Emma Christensen's excellent Poppy Seed Salad Dressing recipe. She explains why she uses this amount of sugar (my friend Lisa uses far less) and offers honey as an alternative. About the oil, Ms. Christensen says: "Olive oil will make a stronger-tasting dressing while grapeseed oil or another neutral-tasting vegetable oil will make a milder dressing. Personally, I like an equal mix of both." 


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