Spicy Top Ramen Salad offers a bold, southwestern twist on a classic Top Ramen Noodle Salad thanks to the addition of jalapenos, chipotle chile pepper, and pepitas.
Top Ramen Salad is one of those quirky salads that’s oddly satisfying. Shredded coleslaw, uncooked ramen noodles, sliced green onion and slivered almonds dressed with a simple vinaigrette makes one delicious - albeit quirky - salad with top ramen.
Who was this person who thought to add uncooked ramen noodles to a salad? It’s a seemingly random addition, but it works beautifully. Rather than feeling like chomping on raw spaghetti, the ramen noodles soften as they absorb the vinaigrette but avoid becoming unpleasantly mushy. The result is a really lovely and perfectly crunchy ramen coleslaw salad.
Typical versions of Top Ramen Noodle Salad are fantastic, but if you want to spice up top ramen, you gotta bring the heat. And that's exactly what my recipe for Spicy Top Ramen Noodle Salad does - by introducing fresh jalapeno and chipotle chili pepper.
Ingredients - How to Make Ramen Noodle Salad
For this Spicy Top Ramen Salad recipe you will need the following ingredients:
- 1 package pre-shredded coleslaw mix
- 2 packages ramen noodles
- 1 cup pepitas (toasted or untoasted)
- 1 bunch green onion, thinly sliced
This cold ramen noodle salad recipe also features a fantastic and zesty homemade jalapeno vinaigrette, which you can make with the following ingredients:
Zesty Jalapeno Vinaigrette Recipe
- 2-3 jalapenos, diced, seeds removed
- ½ cup canola oil
- ⅓ cup white vinegar
- 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
- ½ teaspoon chipotle chile pepper
- Salt and pepper (to taste)
Instructions - Recipe for Top Ramen Salad
Add 2-3 diced jalapenos, ½ cup canola oil, ⅓ cup white vinegar, 2 tablespoons granulated sugar, and ½ teaspoon chipotle chile pepper to a food processor and process for 30 - 40 seconds.
Put both packages of ramen noodles into a gallon-size bag and remove as much air as you can. Use a rolling pin to crush the noodles into smaller pieces.
Dump the crushed ramen, coleslaw mix, pepitas, and sliced green onion into a large bowl.
Pour all of the dressing over the coleslaw mix and stir until combined.
Refrigerate for 2-3 hours before serving. This allows enough time for the ramen noodles to soften but still retain some crunch.
Add a few dashes of salt and pepper right before serving, to taste. This salad is best eaten within 24 hours.
Note: Many Top Ramen Salad recipes call for a simple homemade dressing of oil, vinegar, and sugar, and oftentimes soy sauce. I decided to take a few liberties and take it a zestier route. I stayed true to the basic ingredients but spiced it up with fresh jalapeno and chipotle chile pepper to make a zesty homemade jalapeno vinaigrette.
While slivered almonds are typically the nut of choice in salads with top ramen, I swapped them out for pepitas. With just a couple of tweaks, you too can have your own unique spin with this Spicy Top Ramen Salad recipe.
Suggested Additions to Spicy Ramen Noodle Salad
This is one of those fun salads that you can easily tweak and it will still turn out fantastic. Here are a couple of things you might consider adding.
- Peppers - While the vinaigrette calls for fresh jalapenos, you could also add thinly sliced jalapenos to the salad as well. Or you could add sweet mini peppers, poblano peppers, or whatever pepper you'd like!
- Nuts or seeds - I use pepitas in this recipe for a southwestern twist, but slivered almonds or sunflower seeds would also be great additions to this crunchy ramen salad.
- Protein - Top Ramen Chicken Salad is a popular variation of this recipe; go ahead and add grilled or shredded Rotisserie chicken if you'd like to bulk this recipe up. Other proteins you could add are grilled shrimp, canned crab meat, or firm tofu.
- Coleslaw - I typically like to push the easy button and purchase the pre-shredded coleslaw mix that includes shredded carrots. But if you'd prefer, you can buy a head of green cabbage and shred your own.
The freshness countdown begins once you add the dressing to the top ramen salad. The crunchy ramen and crisp coleslaw can stand up to the vinaigrette stoically for many hours, but ideally, you'll want to eat within 24 hours for optimal crunch. I think the sweet spot for this salad is between 4-24 hours.
The answer is yes, but you shouldn't prepare Cabbage and Top Ramen Salad too far ahead of time. You should prepare AT LEAST 3 hours in advance of serving to hit the sweet spot for eating. I would recommend preparing this ramen noodle salad no further ahead than 12 hours.
If you like this cold ramen noodle salad recipe, you’ll most definitely like these other fantastic cold salads:
Spicy Top Ramen Noodle Salad
- Add 2-3 diced jalapenos, ½ cup canola oil, ⅓ cup white vinegar, 2 tablespoons granulated sugar and ½ teaspoon chipotle chile pepper to a food processor and process for 30 - 40 seconds.2-3 jalapenos, diced, seeds removed, ½ cup canola oil, ⅓ cup white vinegar, 2 tablespoons granulated sugar, ½ teaspoon chipotle chile pepper
- Put both packages of ramen noodles into a gallon-size bag and remove as much air as you can. Use a rolling pin to crush the noodles into smaller pieces.2 packages ramen noodles*
- Dump the crushed ramen, coleslaw mix, pepitas, and sliced green onion into a large bowl.1 package pre-shredded coleslaw mix, 1 cup pepitas, 1 bunch green onion, thinly sliced, 2 packages ramen noodles*
- Pour all of the dressing over the coleslaw mix and stir until combined.
- Refrigerate for 2-3 hours before serving. This allows enough time for the ramen noodles to soften but still retain some crunch.
- Add a few dashes of salt and pepper right before serving, to taste. This salad is best eaten within 24 hours.Salt and pepper
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