Thursday, May 31, 2012

Chinese (Napa) Cabbage Recipe: Low Carb Oriental "Ramen" Salad

Have you ever had that yummy Asian cabbage salad that has crumbled, uncooked Ramen noodles tossed in it? Oh it is so, so good. I used love that stuff, but it really isn't very healthy. Ramen noodles are fried, and the seasoning packet contains a *lot* of salt (and is used in the dressing for the traditional Ramen salad). So I set out to make a healthier, lower carb, yet yummy version.

Well, I didn't actually *set out* to do that. At least not until I realized that the gigantic bag of "Organic White Chard" I had purchased at the Farmer's Market was not actually chard. At first I was oblivious: "Look at my big head of chard! Isn't it cool? I never saw chard this big before!"

Then I started cutting it apart and tossing the leaves in the sink to wash them, and I looked and said, "Wait, what the heck IS this thing??"

I thought I knew my veggies, but I guess not. I had to Google it. And it turns out it is one gigantic, monstrous Napa cabbage. Napa cabbage is a variety of Chinese cabbage. Well, I had this recipe for sauteed chard all ready and finding out I did not, in fact, have chard threw my dinner plans for a loop. I wasn't sure what to do with this stuff. I was kind of annoyed. And then I remembered... Ramen Salad.

I knew I could not make the old recipe that is full of fried noodles, oils, sugar, and salt. So here's what I did. I played around with the old recipe ingredients to get something *very* close, and *very* good! I think you'll like it! I did not measure, so you kind of have to wing it a bit, but here's the basic recipe.

First, I washed and chopped some of the Napa cabbage and tossed it in a bowl. Just chop as much as you want to eat. I used 2 or 3 cups.

Then, I cut a few slices of sweet onion and minced them and tossed that in. I think sliced green onions/scallions would be even better in this salad, but I didn't have any. I added about 1-2 Tbsp of minced onion.

Next, the dressing. I drizzled a little bit of low sodium soy sauce, toasted sesame oil, and rice wine vinegar into the greens. I used less than a teaspoon of each... and maybe only 1/4 tsp of the oil. I added a bit of olive oil, maybe a teaspoon. I added a sprinkle of black pepper and tossed it well.

Then, it needed some crunch. My old recipe uses sliced almonds, so I put some of those in (a tablespoon or so). And finally, it needed something to sub for the salty, crunchy, yummy Ramen noodles. So I added roasted, salted pepitas. They are the little green seeds from inside a pumpkin (with no hull) and they are so good for you! I just tossed in a sprinkle of those... maybe a half tablespoon.

I tossed it again, tasted it, and oh is it good!

(Notice there is not much left in the bowl when I remembered to take a picture! It was that good!)

You can adjust the dressing to your taste. I had a little bit left in the bottom of the bowl, so I did not even consume all of the dressing. I am looking forward to making an even BIGGER bowl of this salad tomorrow!

This would be excellent as a nice light summer meal with some cold cubed chicken breast tossed in as well.

Hope you like it!


Janene said...

I bet it would be yummy to put some mandarin orange segments in there too. Thanks for the recipe...

Anonymous said...

mmmm I love this kind of salad! I am going to try it!

Andra said...

That looks really good. I just bought a huge Napa, I'm going to shred and pickle it the acid/crunch component to tonight's stir-fry.

Lynn said...

I was thinking about mandarin oranges also when I saw this recipe. I may try this this weekend!

Lyn said...

Yum, mandarin oranges do sound good in this. Wendy's used to make an Oriental salad similar to this that had mandarins over the top. It was good!

Cindy said...

Yum - i'm gonna make it!

Lucky said...

I'm going to try this, but with the almonds sliced more like little sticks. They can replace the ramen for crunch, yum!

Alessandra said...

That looks sooooo goood. I just saw you weight loss pics and it is so inspiring! Congrats!

Lisa Wingo said...

Thanks for a lower carb version. Ive seen where some people add splenda for a sweeter flavor. Maybe a little ginger as well. Will use this as a base though.