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Ramen noodle salad is a delicious side dish that's perfect for a picnic, barbecue, or easy weeknight dinner. It's made with two types of cabbage, toasted ramen noodles, crunchy cashews, mini mandarin oranges, and a sweet and tangy sesame dressing.
Complete the meal with our juicy grilled pork chops or garlic ginger chicken. And if you love noodle salads, also check out our mango Thai noodle salad with sesame ginger dressing.
Is this the ramen noodle salad recipe that was popular in the 90s?
This is a modern version of that classic recipe. Ramen noodle salad 2.0; the updated version of the Mr. Noodles Salad recipe that graced every potluck in the 90s. Here are the changes we made, so it's a healthier recipe and even more delicious.
- We tossed the seasoning packets. Those high sodium packets are full of strange and hard-to-pronounce ingredients that we'd rather not eat. Instead, we make a delicious dressing with lots of flavor.
- Fresh mandarin oranges. Instead of high-sugar canned mandarins, we use fresh oranges. Since mandarins are available year-round now, there's no need to use canned.
- Swapped the sugar for honey. In the past, the dressing had a lot of sugar. In this updated recipe, we use just enough honey to give it a touch of sweetness.
- Fresh veggies. While you could opt for bagged coleslaw (no judgment here!) we like to use fresh-cut cabbage, carrots, snap peas, and peppers.
- Ramen noodles – these are the little packets of instant noodles. For this recipe, you'll break the raw noodles into smaller pieces and toast them in your oven.
- Veggies – thinly sliced green and purple cabbage adds a lot of pretty color to this salad. Cut the snap peas in half, julienne or grate the carrots, and thinly slice the red pepper. You can also opt for a bag of pre-chopped coleslaw if you're in a hurry.
- Mandarin oranges – we like to use mini mandarins as they are the perfect small size. Navel oranges can also be used but you'll want to cut each segment into 2-3 pieces.
How to make this ramen noodle salad recipe
There are four parts to making this recipe, and each is very straightforward.
- Toast the noodles and nuts. This is as easy as putting them on a baking sheet and popping them into the oven.
- Chop the veggies. Put them right into the salad bowl when you finish chopping them.
- Make the dressing. Simply put the ingredients into a jar, close the lid tight, and give it a good shake.
- Mix mix mix. Once you have your ingredients ready, all that you need to do is mix them together in a big salad bowl. Easy!
Do I have to toast the noodles?
Toasting the ramen noodles gives otherwise bland noodles some flavor. And it also helps prevent them from going soft too soon.
How long does ramen noodle salad last?
Ramen noodle salad will last for at least an hour before the noodles start to get soft, making it ideal to serve at a potluck.
How can I make this in advance?
If you want to prepare this ahead of time, chop the veggies and put them into a serving bowl. Toast the ramen and cashews and when they're cool, put them in a container with a lid. Make the dressing and put it into a jar. Just before serving, add the noodles and cashews to the veggies, pour the dressing over the top, and toss.
Can this recipe be made gluten-free/ vegan?
Yes! Simply use gluten-free ramen and soy sauce and replace the honey with maple syrup.
Popular pasta salad recipes
- 2 3-ounce packages of ramen noodles (seasoning packet discarded or saved for another use)
- ½ cup cashews (bonus if they're spicy!)
- 2 cups thinly sliced purple cabbage
- 2 cups thinly sliced green cabbage
- 2 medium carrots (shredded with the large holes on a grater)
- 1 cup snap peas (cut in half)
- 1 red pepper (diced)
- ¼ cup green onions (chopped)
- 3 mini mandarin oranges (peeled and segmented)
- 2 tablespoons sesame seeds
- 2 tablespoons EACH: cooking oil, rice vinegar, and soy sauce ((gluten-free, if needed))
- 1 tablespoon EACH: toasted sesame oil and honey
- 1 teaspoon EACH: minced ginger and minced garlic
- Preheat your oven to 400 degrees.
- Crush the dry ramen noodles into bite-sized pieces on a rimmed baking sheet. There will be many tiny pieces, but make sure there are some slightly larger pieces as these have the best crunch. Add the cashews to the sheet and toast in the oven for 7-8 minutes, stirring halfway through.2 3-ounce packages of ramen noodles, ½ cup cashews
- Add the cabbage, carrots, snap peas, red pepper, green onions, mandarin oranges, and sesame seeds to a large salad bowl. When the ramen and cashews have cooled, add them to the bowl, too.2 cups thinly sliced purple cabbage, 2 medium carrots, 1 cup snap peas, 1 red pepper, ¼ cup green onions, 3 mini mandarin oranges, 2 tablespoons sesame seeds, 2 cups thinly sliced green cabbage
- Add all the dressing ingredients to a jar with a tight-fitting lid and shake well. Pour the dressing over the salad and toss well. Serve right away.2 tablespoons EACH: cooking oil, rice vinegar, and soy sauce, 1 tablespoon EACH: toasted sesame oil and honey, 1 teaspoon EACH: minced ginger and minced garlic
We have thoroughly tested this recipe for accuracy. However, individual results may vary. See our full recipe disclosure here.