Sunday, August 12, 2012

Broccoli Ramen Salad

Summertime demands some fresh, light, flavorful side dishes.  It can be tough to make cold food interesting, and especially to make raw food interesting, but this little salad really does the trick.  It's lightning fast to put together, super flavorful, and not at all heavy - we were so happy to have it when the temperature soared over 100 degrees for so much of this summer.

I'm no fan of prepackaged ramen noodles, but they really add life to this salad.  They soften just a bit in the tangy dressing, making for a nice textural counterpoint to the crunchy nuts and crisp vegetables, but they never end up too soft.  This recipe is also immensely easy to customize - a dash of soy sauce and ginger lend it an Asian flair, or some lime and cilantro make it an easy complement for Mexican food.  Whenever you need something tasty, cool, and easy in the heat, give this salad a try.

Here's what you'll need: A large package a broccoli slaw, two packages of chicken flavored ramen, a bunch of green onions, unsalted roasted peanuts and sunflower seeds, apple cider vinegar, vegetable oil, and a bit of white sugar.

First, make the dressing by whisking together vegetable oil, cider vinegar, sugar, and one ramen seasoning packet (just one, otherwise things get too salty and gross).

Next, chop down the green onions and crush up the ramen noodles into small pieces.  Don't worry about keeping things too uniform.

This process can sometimes involve tiny noodle pieces flying all around the kitchen.  This is immensely entertaining to the cat, but maybe less so to whoever has to clean it up - consider crushing the noodles in a bag or a bowl to minimize projectiles.

Now mix everything but the peanuts and sunflower seeds together in a large bowl, add the dressing, and give it a good stir.  You can serve right away if necessary, but the flavors really improve with an hour or two in the fridge.

Serve the salad up cold, and garnish with peanuts and sunflower seeds right when it's time to eat.  If you're bringing the salad elsewhere, like to a pot luck, it's fine to add the nuts before you leave - they can make it several hours before getting soggy.  If you expect leftovers or are just eating at home, though, you'll want to add nuts to individual portions.

Recipe: Broccoli Ramen Salad
Prep Time: 10 Minutes | Cook Time: None | Difficulty: Easy | Servings: 10-12

  • 1 large (16-20 oz) package Broccoli Slaw
  • 2 packages chicken flavored Ramen Noodles
  • 1 bunch Green Onions, chopped
  • 1/2 cup Unsalted Roasted Peanuts
  • 1/2 cup Unsalted Roasted Sunflower Seeds
  • 1/4 cup White Sugar
  • 1/4 cup Vegetable Oil
  • 1/3 cup Cider Vinegar
  1. Whisk together vegetable oil, cider vinegar, sugar, and one ramen seasoning packet to create dressing.
  2. Finely chop green onions and break down ramen noodles into small pieces.
  3. In a large bowl, combine broccoli slaw, green onions, and broken ramen noodles.  Pour dressing over mixture and toss to coat.
  4. Refrigerate to chill - ideally 1-2 hours to enhance flavor.
  5. Top with peanuts and sunflower seeds just before serving.  Serve cold.

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