Monday, July 23, 2012

Ramen Chicken Salad - My Way

Everybody Wants to Rule the World by Tears For Fears
I'm like many people who roll their eyes when 80s music is brought up.  I'm not sure why I do this.  Some of my favorite bands and artists ruled during the 80s.  Tears For Fears being one of them.  I loved the beats of their songs and the catchy hooks in their intros.  I found the voices of both Smith and Orzabal to be intriguing - almost mesmerizing.  And, here I am, almost 30 years later, still listening to them and enjoying them just as much as I did when these songs ruled the airwaves!  I was reminded of this song because I made this Ramen Chicken Salad for dinner yesterday and the rather broad subject of "the world" came up.  

I know I've said this already but, in the heat of the summer, I seek out dinners that are quick, easy, and cool.  A really good salad pretty much fits the bill and this one started making the rounds in my circuit of friends about 15 years ago.  It sounded impossible when I heard about it.  Ramen noodles, UNCOOKED, crunched up and tossed with cabbage, chicken, and a dressing made from the packet of seasoning enclosed in the little rectangular package.  Very interesting . . .

You'd think that the noodles would be too crunchy - but they're not.  They actually have a bit of a nutty flavor about them.  You'd think that your kids will hate it because there's cabbage in this as opposed to the more familiar lettuce - but they don't.  In fact, they actually LOVE it!  And so do I!

I tweaked my recipe and added some fruit.  I made little julienne strips of apple and tossed them in as well as some red seedless grapes, which I halved before adding.  I think pineapple would also be a great addition.  Since I came upon this recipe, I've discovered how much I love cilantro and was surprised that it wasn't called for originally - so I definitely added that as well.  I used a pre-made cole slaw cabbage mix and just beefed it up with more shoestring carrots.  My grocery store happens to sell them already cut that way - a real time saver when you're making stir-fries, and this salad!

As we sat down to eat, my daughter reached in and started to pluck little tidbits off of her plate.
I explained to her how I'd changed it by adding some fruit and altering the dressing a bit.  After a few seconds of observation she announces that the salad is kind of like the world - there's fruity people (I'm thinking I was thrown into this category) and those that are a little nuts (I'm CERTAIN she put me in this group!)  I noticed that she approached her "world" with careful precision, plucking out the best parts, testing the waters, before she dove in with reckless abandon.  She was clearly the ruler of her "world."  Total domination!

Ramen Chicken Salad
4 main dish servings, 8 side dish servings
Printable Recipe Card
1/4 c. sliced almonds, toasted
1 c. carrots, shoestring or matchsticks (optional)
3 green onions, sliced thin
2 cooked chicken breasts, cubed
2 apples, julienned
1 cup red seedless grapes, halved
1 large handful of cilantro, chopped
1 pkg. cole slaw mix
1 pkg. ramen noodles, broken up
3 T. vegetable oil
2 T. rice vinegar
1 T. sugar
1/4 t. salt
1/4 t. pepper
seasoning packet from ramen noodles

Toss the almonds, carrots, green onions, chicken, apples, grapes, and cilantro with the shredded cole slaw mix.  Break up the ramen noodles before adding them to the mix as well.  I like to break my noodles before I even open the package - it makes less mess that way.  It's not difficult - they break rather easily with just my hands.  I carefully open the package and dump them into the bowl with the rest of the ingredients, retrieving that seasoning packet for the dressing.

For the dressing, combine the oil, vinegar, sugar, salt, pepper, and seasoning packet contents into a dressing jar or bowl and either shake, if using a jar, or whisk, if using a bowl, until the ingredients come together and the sugar dissolves.

Pour the dressing over the salad mix and toss until all the ingredients are coated well.


  1. You can tell an Alspaugh finger from anywhere!!! LoL... this looks Great!

    1. Haha! I'll have to make sure she sees your comment!

  2. I do add pineapple and it is yummy. I use cashews instead of almonds. I'm going to try your idea of apples and carrots next time.

    1. Aha! So my hunch is correct! Cashews sound divine - a good way to sophisticate it a bit!