Thursday, May 6, 2010

Asian-Inspired Napa Salad ~ An Oldie but Goodie

This salad dates back to the late 1980's in my recipe file.  I loved it then and I still love it now.  It makes a perfect luncheon salad, buffet salad or dinner salad paired with some grilled chicken or fish.

The base of the salad is Napa cabbage and green onions.

Ramen noodles are browned in butter, or half butter and half olive oil as I do now,  along with slivered almonds and sesame seeds (you remember it now, don't you!).  Today,  I used some raw sunflower seeds as well. I love the crunch of the nuts, seeds and browned Ramen noodles!

The dressing is a lovely blend of sweet and sour.  I like to add some red pepper flakes for just a bit of  'heat'.  A few violas from the garden and you have a delicious springtime salad.
Asian-Inspired Napa Salad
Printable Recipe

Depending on the serving sizes, this serves 8-12 or even more.  I halve the recipe and have enough for two  meals for me and my husband.

2 Packages Ramen noodles, any flavor, uncooked. Throw away the seasoning packets.
3-4 Tablespoons butter (the original recipe calls for using 1/2 stick of butter!)
3-4 Tablespoons light olive oil
1 cup slivered almonds
1/2 cup sesame seeds (or 1/4 cup sesame seeds and 1/4 cup raw sunflower seeds)

2 small heads of Napa cabbage (or 1 small head of Napa and 1 small head of Romaine), thinly sliced
1 bunch of green onions, thinly sliced, using some of the green
1 red bell pepper, thinly sliced (optional)

Dressing (this will make more than enough to dress the salad and still have some to serve on the side)

3/4 cup sugar
1 cup canola oil
1 cup water
1/2 cup rice wine vinegar
2 Tablespoons soy sauce
1/4 teaspoon dried ginger or you can use freshly grated ginger to taste (about 1/2 teaspoon)
1/4 teaspoon dried garlic powder or 1 small clove freshly grated garlic
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes

1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper

Melt butter and oil over medium heat in very large frying pan. Saute the noodles and almonds until very brown, breaking up the noodles with a wooden spoon as they brown. Add the sesame seeds last as they brown quickly.

Whisk together the dressing ingredients.

In a very large bowl, combine all the salad ingredients. Toss with enough dressing to coat and then serve. If you wish, you can reserve some of the noodle/nut mixture to garnish.


  1. Love this salad - mine is a little different..I use the noodle flavoring packets in the dressing - and toast the ramen noodles in the oven. It has always been a big crowd pleaser!!

  2. Susan, I LOVE this salad!! Thanks for reminding me of it! Hope you have a HAPPY MOTHER'S DAY!

  3. My family enjoys this salad. I use regular cabbage, use the seasoning packets in the dressing, and crunch the noodles up and use them untoasted. I will have to try your version. I like the idea of toasting the noodles.


  4. Great flashback - I haven't had this salad in ages. Yours looks wonderful!

  5. I'm usually not the biggest fan of cabbage but I LOVE all this crunch! How delicious.

  6. Susan, thank you for this delicious sounding/looking salad. I'm printing out the recipe as I type. I know I've had it and loved it and lost it. Now I have one of the two things I really liked from the 1980s--the other being ABBA!!


  7. This looks delicious. Can't wait to try it!! And I love the fact that it's from the 80's. I loved the 80's.

  8. Fantastic dish and incredible photography. Two thumbs up! Cheers!

  9. I haven't had this in forever! Thanks for bringing it back- I love it!
    xoxo Pattie

  10. One of my old favorites is a chicken salad (80's Vogue MAgazine)a little like this... brilliant with the noodles... I can't wait to get some cabbage and roll this baby out... I can see why you kept it on your favorite's list!

  11. really lovely salad...and how many other beautiful recipes! I will bookmark some of them :-) ciao, Anna.

  12. Susan, that's one of my favorite salads ... the perfect blend of flavors, crunch, sweet and sour. Your picture is fantastic with the cute little punch of color from the viola.

    I've never made it, but often order it when I see it on the menu. I'm not sure that I would have enough self-control not to eat an excessive amount if I had it available at home. But I'd imagine there are worse things than pigging out on this salad. :)

  13. Someone I used to work with made this salad for every bridal/baby shower and birthday party - it was always a hit! I should start making it myself, bring back an old favorite!

    Thanks for sharing this scrumptious recipe @ Foodie Friday!

  14. I have this recipe from an old Taste of Home cookbook. Same recipe but it doesn't have the red pepper or pepper flakes. Any gathering I have to bring this salad. Everyone loves it. I have made it for years.

  15. I love this salad, have made it many times and it is always a hit! I have never used the red pepper flakes, great idea, I will have to give it a try!
    I love your blog:)

  16. Love your version, it looks so tasty! Especially the addition of the sunflower seeds! and I like the Napa cabbage very much! Great flashback, Sisan!

  17. I love salads with crunch! This one fits the bill, thanks!

  18. I do something very similar but with Bok Choy. Love it!! Great recipe to flashback to :-) Thanks for joining me this week.

  19. Susan, that sounds very good. I always like your salad recipes!

  20. Simply, but delicious salad.

  21. a cruchy salad..yum..I have not had this in a long time....yum


  22. I love the idea of adding ramen noodles, great idea!

  23. I remember it, but I never made it!
    It looks delicious, Susan, thanks for the recipe!

  24. oh and your won the oil and vinegar giveaway please email me your address

    love rebecca

    rebeccasubbiah at yahoo dot com


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