Napa cabbage ramen salad with crunchy noodles, almonds, and sunflower seeds, this is our favorite noodle salad recipe.
Ramen Noodle Cabbage Salad
This napa cabbage with ramen noodles’ original name is actually Yum Yum Salad, named after the instant ramen noodles brand used to make it. It is one of the most popular potluck salads in our region.
I had this ramen cabbage salad about 5 or 6 years ago for the first time and didn’t like it at all, I was appalled by its saltiness, there were no sunflower seeds in it and the general look of it was not particularly inviting.
But then a friend of ours made this salad for us two years ago. I remembered that disastrous salted thing from a few years earlier and was not particularly eager to eat Maelle’s salad. But I tried it, of course, and was completely hooked.
Ever since, one of us, mostly Maelle makes this salad almost every time we are planning some kind of grill party or summer birthday party and so on. Everybody absolutely loves it, it is fresh, mild and, due to those roasted almonds and sunflower seeds, incredibly crunchy and aromatic.
- I used 2 packages of instant ramen noodles, a brand very similar to this one. Chicken flavor. (Amazon affiliate link)
Whole almonds and sunflower seeds:
- I always use whole almonds, they stay really nice and crunchy, I just love them. But I have seen this salad made with slivered toasted almonds as well, so I suppose you could try it. (Amazon affiliate link)
- Don’t skip the toasting of the nuts and sunflower seeds, the ramen cabbage salad is not half as good if you leave that step out.
- Use a mild olive oil, make sure you taste it before you make the dressing. If the olive oil is too strong, it might overpower the rest of the flavors.
- Napa cabbage is wonderfully suited to make salads and this recipe is no exception. Napa cabbage is crunchy yet softer than green or white cabbage, so you will not have to rub it before you use it in a salad.
- It has a texture that reminds me of iceberg lettuce, but I like the taste a lot better.
- If you would like to make a simple napa cabbage salad one day, try it with this yogurt dressing, it is just amazing! And have a look at another napa cabbage salad that I enjoy a lot!
- I use white wine vinegar most of the time to make the ramen noodle cabbage salad. However, if you don’t have it you can replace it with rice vinegar. Rice vinegar is less acidic, so you might want to add a little more. Just taste before you do and add (or don’t add) accordingly.
- You could also replace the white wine vinegar with cider vinegar. Cider vinegar is more acidic, so add a little less, taste and only add more if necessary.
How to make?
- Finely slice the napa cabbage and place it in a very large bowl. Chop the onion finely and add to the cabbage.
- Dressing: In a small bowl, mix together the noodles’ dry seasoning, oil, vinegar, sugar, salt, and pepper. Whisk well until the sugar dissolves and set aside.
- Heat a large pan and roast the almonds, without adding any fat, until fragrant. Stay by the pan and shake it frequently to avoid the almonds from burning and to allow them to roast on both sides. Immediately remove from the pan.
- Roast the sunflower seeds in the same pan until golden and fragrant. Add them to the almonds. Don’t be tempted to roast the almonds and the sunflower seeds together, they are very different in size and the sunflower seeds will burn before the almonds are roasted.
- Break the instant ramen noodles on top of the sliced napa cabbage. Discard the liquid seasoning.
- Add the hot almonds and sunflower seeds to the salad, add the dressing and stir well. Leave to marinate for about 2-3 hours at room temperature.
- Place in the fridge if it is very hot where you are and bring to room temperature before serving.
- Stir again and adjust the seasoning before serving.
How to serve?
- The ramen noodle napa cabbage salad is best served on the day you make it.
- However, if you have leftovers, keep them in the fridge and enjoy them the next day, the taste will still be amazing, though the seeds and noodles might not be that crunchy anymore.
- The napa cabbage salad with ramen noodles is a typical potluck salad in Germany or at least in our region.
- It makes a great side dish for any grilled meats and sausages and it is a perfect alternative for vegetarians at any summer gathering (provided the noodles’ seasoning is vegetarian).
- If you have this salad, you will probably forget about the meat even if you are not a vegetarian… it is that good!
More potluck salads?
Napa Cabbage Salad with Ramen Noodles
- 1 napa cabbage about 450 g/ 1 lb
- 1 larger onion
- 3/4 cup whole almonds
- 3/4 cup sunflower seeds
- 2 packages instant ramen noodles and their dry seasoning See note 1
- 2/3 cup oil See note 2
- 8 tablespoons white wine vinegar See note 3
- 4 tablespoons granulated sugar
- fine sea salt and pepper
- Chop: Finely slice the napa cabbage and place it in a very large bowl. Chop the onion finely and add it to the cabbage.
- Dressing: mix the noodles' dry seasoning, oil, vinegar, sugar, salt, and pepper. Whisk well until the sugar dissolves. Set aside
- Roast the almonds in a large pan, without using any fat, until fragrant. Shake the pan often to allow the almonds to roast on both sides and keep them from burning. Remove from the pan. Roast the sunflower seeds in the same pan until golden and fragrant. Shake often again. Add them to the almonds.
- Combine: Break the instant ramen noodles on top of the sliced napa cabbage. Discard the liquid seasoning. Add the hot almonds and sunflower seeds to the salad and the dressing. Stir well.
- Leave to marinate for about 2-3 hours at room temperature. Stir again and adjust the seasoning.
- I almost always use chicken instant ramen noodles. If serving the salad to vegetarians, choose something else. Discard the liquid seasoning from the packet; you will only need the dry seasoning.
- Use a neutral-tasting oil like canola or sunflower oil. If using olive oil, make sure you choose a very mild olive oil that you will taste before making the dressing. If the olive oil is too strong, it will overpower the rest of the flavors.
- Rice vinegar and cider vinegar make suitable substitutes. Read the blog post for more details on that.