Okay, so I know that there are, like, a million-and-one recipes for ramen noodle salad out there, but today I’m going to make it a million-and-two…
Why? Well, because my dad made it for our Christmas Day dinner last week, and while it was really good (and I ate more than my share), I couldn’t help thinking about how I could improve on it as I was munching away. The onion seemed like it was just a little too prominent — and I’m not a fan of raw onions to begin with. Plus, I felt like it could use a touch more sweetness to balance out all of the savory…
So I picked up the ingredients at Walmart the next day to play around a bit, and I’m super pleased with the results. It’s a fantastically easy recipe that’s perfect for sharing at parties!
I actually changed my dad’s ramen noodle salad recipe up quite a bit by drastically reducing the amount of green onions and only using the green parts for a more subtle hint of onion. I also toasted the sliced almonds which is a simple way to quickly add more depth of flavor to any recipe. Finally, I threw in about a cup-and-a-half of dried cranberries for sweetness!
While I didn’t change the quantities of ingredients in the dressing, I did change the ingredients up a little. I swapped in rice vinegar for the regular white vinegar, and I used a combination of half sesame and half canola oil in place of straight vegetable oil. Sesame oil is a pretty flavorful oil, so I don’t think you’d want to try it full strength in a recipe such as this.
I debated for some time about whether or not to use one of the spice packets from the ramen noodles in the dressing — I’m not a fan of the MSG and such in them. But in the end I decided to add a single packet, and I have to admit that it did add that little “extra something” to the salad.
I may try making up my own spice mixture in the future, in which case I’ll update the recipe, but for now it’s up to you whether or not you’re comfortable adding it. The salad is still delicious without it!
Feel free to change your ramen noodle salad up a bit by using a different flavor of ramen noodles. I really wanted to try the Maruchan Ramen Lime Chili Shrimp flavor (my fave in college!), but since I’ve developed an allergy to shellfish, I felt it was wise not to chance it. I’ve heard that the beef flavor is good, as well!