Asian Salad, Again

AsianSaladWHiteBowlVertbfLOI REALLY HATE the name of this salad – just because something has soy sauce and ramen noodles in it does NOT, automatically, make it ‘Asian’ – and, if you think about it, soy sauce and ramen noodles are really just a piece of the whole gamut of Asian food and flavors – so it seems to me a bad name. It’s just that ‘ramen and nuts and stuff salad with a rice vinegar and soy sauce dressing’ is a bit more than a mouthful – just think about fitting that all on a menu!

All that griping aside, I REALLY DO LIKE this salad and its dressing, which I first featured earlier this year and have now revisited, making a few new tweaks and adjustments to make it (I think) even better-for-you, but still wicked tasty.

I still use butter and olive oil to toast the ramen, but have cut that back to one packet from three, and made up for the difference in walnuts and sliced almonds (NICE!).
February’s recipe had already reflected a reduction in sugar used in the dressing from the original recipe I found in a supermarket SaladToppingbfLOcentennial cook book; now I’ve gone a bit further – cutting down even more on the sugar and reducing the amount of oil in the dressing.


Let’s begin, shall we?

AsianDressingBlenderbfLORamen Topping:
•1 packet ramen noodles
(noodles only, save the spice packet for something else)
•2 cups walnuts
•1 cup sliced almonds
•3 tbsp butter
•3 tbsp olive oil

Salad Dressing:
•1/4 cup rice vinegar
•1/4 cup sugar
•2 tbsp reduced-sodium soy sauce
•3/4 cup canola oil

This bit is free form – add what you like. I used romaine, shaved carrot, sliced scallions, diced celery, and some thinly sliced onion this time; but spinach is a nice addition, as would be pea pods, red onion, bits of diced pepper, broccoli, or whatever else you may like in a salad.

First, let’s make the dressing – I like the blender for this, but you can use an immersion blender, or even a tightly closing jar. Combine the rice vinegar, sugar, and soy sauce in the blender and pulse to combine. SaladToppingTongsbfLOWith the blender running, add the canola oil in a light, steady stream and blend until the well mixed. It’ll still separate on sitting, so pour into a tightly sealing jar and stash in the fridge until you need it, then give it a good shake to recombine.

Now, onto the crunchy bits! Break up the ramen noodles and combine with the walnuts and sliced almonds.

Melt the butter in a hot skillet and add the olive oil.

SaladBlueBowlCrunchiesbfLOAdd the ramen/nut mixture and toss to coat evenly with the butter and oil. Sauté until everything is lightly toasted (the nuts will be nicely aromatic, too) – maybe five to ten minutes – moving stuff around constantly (I like these tongs we bought for the grill for this). Set aside to cool and put your salad together.

SaladWoodBowlbfLOI usually will make the salad and toss it in the fridge in a glass bowl to crisp early in the day, or at least while the rest of dinner is coming together. When I’m ready to serve, I pull the salad and the dressing out of the fridge, top the salad with as much of those lovely crunchy bits as I like, and give the dressing a good shake.

You could certainly dress the salad in the bowl or on your salad platter (I love to do a salad on a big platter at a dinner – it looks so impressive, and is a cinch to toss), but if you do, any leftovers will wilt, so unless we’re doing a ‘dinner’, I pass the dressing for folk to apply as they like to their own bowl.

Oh, I also usually have leftovers of those tasty crunchy bits and the dressing; so both can be stashed in the fridge and live to dress another salad another day!

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