Crunchy Asian Ramen Noodle Salad

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I have always loved this very popular retro backyard BBQ summer salad but stopped making it as I didn’t like using the seasoning packets from the noodles, which often contain MSG and are very high in salt. However when I recently saw a recipe on www.gimmesomeoven.com that tossed out the packages and made the dressing from scratch, I gave it another go and added freshly grated ginger to the dressing. I love the lightness of the vinaigrette, the addition of the edamame beans and the extra step of toasting the noodles. Of course, you can omit that step but it really doesn’t take long and gives the salad an extra nutty flavour.

Ingredients

4 cups shredded cabbage, (I love Napa cabbage but you can also use plain ole cabbage)
1-2 shredded carrots
(If you’re in a hurry you can substitute 1 (16oz) bag coleslaw mix or broccoli coleslaw mix for the cabbage and carrots)
2 (3 oz) packages of ramen noodles, roughly crumbled (discard seasoning mix)
1 cup shelled and cooked edamame beans (usually sold frozen, they thaw very quickly)
1/2 cup thinly sliced almonds (blanched or unblanched, it doesn’t matter)
1/4 cup roasted, salted sunflower seeds
1/2 cup thinly sliced green onions
1 avocado, diced (if you think you’re going to enjoy some leftovers, I would omit the avocado as it will turn brown, which just doesn’t look very appetizing the next day!)
1 mango, peeled and diced – an optional add in for an extra touch of sweetness

Asian Honey Vinaigrette
1/4 c honey
1/3 cup rice wine vinegar
1 Tbsp soy sauce
1 Tbsp sesame oil
1 tsp grated fresh ginger (or more, if you love ginger)
1/2 – 1 tsp sirarcha (optional)
2/3 cup vegetable oil (I like grapeseed for its neutral flavour)
Pinch of pepper, and salt to taste
To make vinaigrette, mix all ingredients except oil in a bowl, then whisking continuously, slowly drizzle in oil until all the oil has been added and the dressing is mixed. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Method

Preheat oven to 425 degrees and spread the crumbled Ramen noodles and sliced almonds on a cookie sheet and stir to combine. Bake about 5-8 minutes, or until slightly golden and toasted, stirring once in between. Watch carefully as they can burn very quickly, and then you’ve got to toss them and start all over!
Add all ingredients, including vinaigrette in a large bowl and stir to combine.
Serve immediately, or can be covered and refrigerated for up to 2 or 3 days. This salad is best eaten the day it’s made, as the noodles will lose their crunch the longer it sits.