This is the perfect crisp salad combination of sweet and crunchy all in one delicious bowl of yum. As a culinary dietitian, I’m here to share that salads do not have to suck and this is a great example of that. Scroll down for storage tips on keeping salad greens crispy as well.
What You’ll Need to Make This Crisp Salad
- Pre-shredded cabbage and carrots or shred your own carrots and cabbage
- Butter, unsalted
- Ramen noodles (you don’t need the seasoning packet)
- Dried apricots
- Balsamic vinegar
- Maple syrup
- Lemon juice
- Cayenne pepper
Is Ramen nutritious?
Ramen noodles still provide nutritional value in the form of carbohydrates, fat and one gram of fiber per serving. They are not high in protein or vitamins and minerals but they are a high source of sodium.
Decrease the sodium content by using your own broth when making ramen noodles and tossing the seasoning packet. Increase the fiber by adding vegetables and up the protein by adding a hard or soft boiled egg.
No food is singularly going to damage our health. Our habits and behaviors over time does matter and sprinkling ramen into our meals is fine.
Can you use something other than ramen?
Absolutely! The ramen noodles are meant to add another layer of crunch to this salad and I like the way they get al dente after the salad has sat for a day or two. However, easily swap in another nut like slivered almonds or tortilla strips for added crunch.
Grains such as cooked quinoa, bulgar, or wheat berries can also be substituted as alternative to ramen.
How to make it
- Step One: Break the ramen into tiny pieces in a ziplock bag with a mallet, your hand (be careful!) or a spoon. This is a fun step for kids to participate in.
- Step Two: Add the ramen, nuts, and butter in a skillet and toast for 3-5 minutes.
- Step Three: While the ramen and nuts are toasting, mix together the vinegar, lemon juice, maple syrup, salt, and cayenne.
- Step Four: Chop the apricots and pears into small pieces. Slice and chop the cabbage into long pieces.
- Sub Step Four: For the cabbage, cut it in half to work with a flat edge. Slice thin slices off the edge and chop the pile in half when you’re done.
- Step Five: In a large bowl toss in the sliced cabbage, pears, and apricots together.
- Step Six: Mix the ramen and nuts into the salad bowl once cool
- Step Seven: Add the dressing and toss to coat everything.
For best flavor, allow to sit refrigerated for at least one hour or even overnight before serving.
A cool crisp salad is easy to make into whatever you want using what you have on hand. I suggest the following formula for changing the salad but keeping the nutrients, textures, and flavors alive.
Fresh fruit + Dried fruit + Nut/seed + Grain
This formula is easy to follow. You can substitute in your preferred fruits, nuts or seeds and grains. It also means you can make any salad fit within your budget while keeping it delicious.
You don’t have to add protein to every salad but for this one you may want to, to increase the staying power or help meet protein requirements. Here are some ideas of what you could add:
- Grilled or baked chicken
- Steak strips
- Hard boiled eggs
- Hemp hearts
- Ground meat
Is this good for meal prep?
Yes! This particular salad gets better as it ages because cabbage and Ramen noodles absorb more flavor the longer the chance they have to do so. You could easily make this meal on a Sunday and divide it into containers to bring as your lunch throughout the week.
How long does it last?
Stored in an airtight container the salad can last 3 to 5 days. If you don’t want the cabbage or Ramen noodles to get slightly wilted over those days, don’t add the dressing until the morning of consuming the next portion.
How to store it
Store the salad in an airtight container even consider using large mason jars. Do not freeze.
How do you keep salad greens crisp
Cabbage naturally lasts longer than other salad greens, which is why I like it for this particular salad. However, here are some tips for keeping other salad greens crisp.
- Add paper towels to bags of pre-shredded or cut greens. Layer the paper towel on the bottom in the middle and one on top to absorb moisture.
- Whole greens, such as a head of iceberg, lettuce, or Romain should be chopped with a plastic knife, or ripped into pieces with your hands to extend their shelf life. Rinse the lettuce with cold water, pat dry with paper, towel and again layer fresh paper towel in the container it gets stored in.
- Consider a salad spinner, which can help get excess water off of the greens after rinsing them.
Other salad recipes you should try
Crisp Salad with Pear and Apricot
- 14 oz bag of shredded cabbage and carrot mix You can also shred your own carrots and cabbage
- 3 pears
- 1 cup chopped pecans
- 1 tbsp unsalted butter
- 1 pack Ramen noodles toss the seasoning packet
- 1 cup dried apricots
- 2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
- 3 tbsp maple syrup
- 1 tbsp lemon juice
- ¼ tsp salt
- pinch Cayenne pepper
- Break the ramen into tiny pieces by putting it in a ziplock bag and smash it with a mallet, your hand (be careful!) or a spoon. This is a fun step for kids to participate in.
- Chop the pears, nuts, and apricots. Set aside.
- Add butter to a skillet on low-medium heat. Add the nuts and ramen pieces and toast them in the melted butter fo 3-5 minutes stirring consistently.
- While that's toasting, whisk together the vinegar, lemon juice, maple syrup, salt, and cayenne
- In a large bowl toss the cabbage, pears, and apricots together
- Once the ramen noodle pieces and nuts are toasted and cooled, add them to the large bowl.
- Add the dressing and stir to coat everything.
- For best flavor, allow it to sit refrigerated for at least one hour or overnight before serving.
I will say this salad is fine fresh but everything, especially the cabbage and ramen, absorbs the sauce better if you let it sit for at least an hour in the fridge before serving it. Better yet, make it a day prior.