Full of bright colors, textures, and flavor, this Ramen Noodle Salad is a Thai-inspired twist on the potluck favorite crunchy ramen noodle salad. Serve it at your next summer gathering, but be sure to grab some first - it will go fast!
When we were at the beach on vacation earlier this summer, this salad / slaw was the dish I was most eager to make for our extended family. I basically created an entire meal around this delicious dish, completing it with Chicken Satay skewers, tons of Thai peanut sauce, and Jasmine rice. I made a TRIPLE batch of this salad and served it in a HUGE salad bowl that I found in the rental house kitchen. It was a thing of beauty and my only regret is that I didn’t take a picture!
This salad is completely inspired by those potluck salads with crunchy raw toasted ramen noodles that are ubiquitous in the Midwest in the summer (like this one). It’s hard to improve on the sweet-savory and super crunchy flavor of that salad, but I have to tell you - Thai Chili Sauce really completes it.
Here’s how to make this fresh dish.
- Dried Instant Ramen Noodles - Just grab the inexpensive instant ramen noodles you likely ate in college. The flavor doesn’t matter because you’re going to discard the seasoning packet and just use the noodles (toasted in the oven) for crunch.
- Coleslaw Mix - Any coleslaw mix will work, but I like to use one that includes shredded carrots for even more color, flavor, and nutrition. I don’t recommend angel hair coleslaw here - it doesn’t have as much crunch and texture.
- Red Bell Pepper, Shelled Edamame, Mango - These are the vegetable / fruit base of the dish. Mango adds a bit of sweetness that is key. Look for pre-shelled edamame to save time (I often find it in the freezer section). If you can’t find any one of these or want to switch it up, see below for some ideas.
- Green Onions and Cilantro - Like most Thai food, fresh herbs are key. You can skip one of these if you need to, but don’t skip both.
- Roasted Peanuts or Cashews - I buy pre-roasted peanuts or cashews and just chop them a bit before adding them. If you’re in a rush, just skip chopping them and add them whole. Wait until right before serving so they stay crunchy.
How to Make this a Meal
This dish can easily be made into a meal. Just top it with a grilled protein (marinate chicken, steak, pork, or tofu in soy sauce and rice vinegar before grilling) and serve rice on the side. As I mentioned above we also love serving this with Chicken Satay, Thai peanut sauce, and some rice.
- Change Vegetables - This slaw is really a blank slate for vegetables. Use diced cucumber or avocado in place of the edamame, pineapple or mandarin oranges in place of the mango, shredded carrot in place of the bell pepper.
- Make it Gluten-Free - You can completely skip the crunchy ramen (it gets lots of crunch for the other ingredients) and use Tamari instead of soy sauce to make this salad gluten-free. Be sure to get a gluten-free version of Thai Chili Sauce or make it yourself.
More Colorful Salads
- Balsamic Chicken Salad with Fresh Berries and Feta
- Apple, Brie and Pecan Salad
- Watermelon, Feta and Arugula Salad
- Bacon, Corn and Avocado Salad
- BBQ Chicken Salad
- Slow Cooker Carnitas Taco Salad
- Instant Pot Italian Pasta Salad
- Nectarine, Arugula and Crispy Pancetta Summer Salad
- Pesto Pasta Salad
- Spring Cobb Salad with Creamy Herb Yogurt Dressing
- Sesame Ginger Kale Salad
- Thai Chopped Chicken Salad with Peanut Vinaigrette
- 6-inch Global Knife
- Cutting Board
- Half Sheet Pan
- Anchor 3-Piece Glass Mixing Bowls
- Salad Bowl
- Salad Tongs
Crunchy Thai Ramen Noodle Salad
- Cutting Board
- Half Sheet Pan
- Mixing Bowl
Ramen Noodle Salad
- 2 3 oz packages Dried Instant Ramen Noodles
- 1 14 oz bag Coleslaw Mix (I like to use a version that includes shredded carrots; can sub shredded cabbage)
- 1 Red Bell Pepper, very thinly sliced
- 1 Mango, very thinly sliced
- 1 cup Shelled Edamame (sub diced cucumbers)
- ¼ cup thinly sliced Green Onions
- 2 tablespoon chopped Fresh Cilantro (optional)
- ½ cup Roasted Peanuts or Roasted Cashews, roughly chopped
Sweet and Spicy Thai Vinaigrette
- ¼ cup Sweet Thai Chili Sauce
- 2 tablespoon Rice Vinegar
- 2 tablespoon Soy Sauce
- 2 teaspoon Toasted Sesame Oil
- Preheat oven to 350°F / 177°C.
- With ramen noodles still in the package, smash them apart into little pieces. (I find it easier to break these apart while they’re still in the bags and use any type of can or rolling pin to break them.)
- Spread crumbled noodles out on a sheet pan (discard the seasoning packet that came with them), breaking apart any remaining large pieces with your hands.
- Transfer noodles to the oven. Bake, shaking the pan every few minutes, until lightly toasted and golden brown, 8 to 12 minutes total.
- Combine all vinaigrette ingredients in a large bowl and whisk well.
- Add salad ingredients on top, including toasted ramen noodles and toss well.
- You can refrigerate the salad for up to two hours. Toss well and serve cold.
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This salad is delicious. The crunch from the ramen, cashews and edamame gives the salad a really nice texture. The dressing is a slight bit spicy if you are a total spice wimp like me (my husband thought it was the perfect amount of spice!) but I just added more mango to mine and it was great to cut the spice. I served this with some grilled chicken and it was a great meal!