Ramen Cabbage Salad

I’m always asked for the recipe when I serve this salad. Always. It comes from the Hawaii Soto Mission Cookbook, a spiral bound community book that my husband brought back from one of his business trips. I’ve cooked from it before, but I’ve made this salad more than anything else. The key is the ramen topping, made by melting some butter and toasting chopped almonds, sesame seeds, and crunchy bits of instant ramen noodles. The smell that wafts from the pan is heaven.

I’ve adjusted the ingredients to fit my taste, like decreasing the 1/2 cup of butter (!) to just a 1/4 cup. I added a wedge of red cabbage because I love the contrast of colors. But, you don’t need it. If all you have a is a head of green cabbage, that works fine. Originally, this was called “Samin Salad” but getting my hands on instant saimin is more difficult than the ubiquitous ramen.

This is my go-to potluck recipe because you can prep all the ingredients ahead of time and just assemble and toss when it’s ready to be eaten. Even though the cabbage soaks up the dressing and softens over time, it still holds up better than other leafy salads, making it ideal for lingering group dinners. Also, it makes A LOT of salad. It feeds about 20 people, depending on how many dishes are being served alongside it. Be sure to have enough people to gobble this up since it will turn soggy and unappetizing the next day.

Ramen Cabbage Salad
Adapted from Hawaii Soto Mission Cookbook
Makes about 20 servings

3/4 medium cabbage, thinly sliced
1/4-1/2 (depending on size) red cabbage, thinly sliced
1/2 bunch green onion, chopped

1/2 cup canola oil
1/4 cup sugar
1/8 cup rice vinegar
2 Tbsp shoyu

Ramen Topping:
2 packages noodles, crushed well in bag (I use Sapporo Ichiban)
1/4 cup unsalted butter
1 1/2 cup almonds, chopped
1/3 cup sesame seeds

Mix dressing ingredients and set aside. Melt butter and brown almonds. Add sesame seeds and toss to coat them with the butter and become fragrant (careful not to burn!). Stir in the ramen noodles and transfer to a plate to cool. Just before serving, combine cabbage, green onion, ramen topping, and dressing.

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  1. Posted September 24, 2012 at 11:04 am | Permalink

    Never would’ve thought to put ramen noodles on salad, but I bet it’s addictive. Thanks for the idea!

  2. Posted September 24, 2012 at 11:48 am | Permalink

    Emma, it may sound a bit strange to use uncooked ramen noodles like this… but trust me, it’s crazy good!

  3. Posted October 3, 2012 at 1:44 am | Permalink

    I think it’s delicious….
    I can not wait to eat it!

  4. Joyce
    Posted October 11, 2012 at 4:17 pm | Permalink

    Azusa – I made this for a baby shower recently and it was a big hit! I just doubled the recipe so that it would feed 40 people. Thank you so much!

  5. Posted October 11, 2012 at 5:03 pm | Permalink

    Joyce, I’m glad people liked it! Thanks for your comment!

  6. Posted October 17, 2012 at 11:20 am | Permalink

    What an unusual recipe! It looks for me like a perfect autumn salad. The instant ramen topping is too crazy to resist trying it. By the way, I still prepare regularly the shoyu chicken you have posted some time ago and I think you have found it in the same cookery book. I have served it to so many people and everyone adores it! Thank you so much again.

  7. Posted October 17, 2012 at 11:31 am | Permalink

    Sissi, yes, it’s the same cookbook! I know the ramen sounds strange, but it’s actually a common salad in the Japanese American community in Los Angeles, as well as in Hawaii (where I think it may have originated). Give this a try and let me know what you think! Also, just read your post on your trip to Japan. That shaved ice looks incredible!!

  8. Qris
    Posted October 22, 2012 at 10:52 pm | Permalink

    Just made the salad for a family reunion. We all loved it! Added some shredded chicken breast which worked out well, giving the salad additional dimension. As you suggested, I made extra dressing and it worked out great! Will definitely be making this again….thanx Azusa!

  9. Posted October 23, 2012 at 9:56 am | Permalink

    Qris, I’m so happy you liked it! It’s high praise coming from you. I’ll have to try adding chicken next time. Thanks for the suggestion!

  10. Posted December 11, 2012 at 2:20 am | Permalink

    Hi, Azusa. I have made your wonderful salad already twice. It’s delicious, original and addictive. I can already see it becoming my winter staple. Thank you so much for one more great recipe!

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