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Napa Cabbage Salad

Asian ramen noodle salad, crunchy chopped napa cabbage with toasted ramen noodles and nuts in a sweet soy dressing.  The best version of that slaw recipe with the ramen noodles you'll ever have ~ fresh, flavorful and a hit at gatherings.

Ramen noodles salad in serving bowl.

Do you guys remember (or still make) Oriental cole slaw?  I don't think that's PC anymore, maybe it's called Asian slaw now.  Anyway, it had the ramen noodles from the soup packets crushed up in the salad.  For some reason, I think that's strange.  And then years ago, in Minnesota, a friend made a salad for a party and I had to know how he made it, it was so good.  Over the recent Fourth holiday, I dusted off Timm's Napa Cabbage Salad and made it for a BBQ.  It's still so good.

Napa Cabbage Salad, in bowl with dressing in background.

When I say dusted off, I really mean I had to figure out how I made it as the recipe card Timm gave me is mostly illegible.  As I do with most recipes, I have them on the counter as I'm cooking and they tend to get a little beat up, this one especially so, as it looks like the ink smeared with all the water and wet hands landing on it.  See what I mean?

Napa Cabbage Salad, ingredients prepped in storage bags, dressing and recipe card.

It came back to me though, I'm pretty sure I was able to decipher and remember how to make this.  It does use those ramen noodles (not the seasoning packets!) but they're browned in butter with almonds and sunflower nuts.  I had to keep swatting Meathead's hand away as the mixture was cooling on paper towels.  He thought it was granola or something and said, "This is great!" as another handful went into his mouth.  Jeez.

Napa Cabbage Salad, browned ramen noodles and nuts, draining on paper towel.

The cabbage is shredded and mixed with red bell pepper and scallions and in a large ziplock it goes to refrigerate over night.  The ramen noodles, slivered almonds and sunflower nuts are browned in butter and they go into another plastic bag and into the fridge.  Then, a couple hours before serving you mix both bags together in your serving dish, and right before serving, you dress it (with a really good dressing you already made in a jar).  It's perfect for a crowd and doesn't tie you up when you're trying to get everything together, heck, you could even turn over the reigns on this salad to someone else, someone who asks how they can help! ?

Napa Cabbage Salad, undressed in bowl, dressing and recipe in background.

I'm going to have to send this post to Timm and see if he remembers giving me this recipe, I bet he will.  I'm not sure how other salads like this stack up, I've only ever had it this way. I will venture to say this is probably one of the better ones, Timm is pretty gourmet and a top shelf kind of guy.  I think he'd be tickled I'm still making his Napa Cabbage Salad.  Try it, you'll like it.  Best, Kelly

Napa Cabbage Salad, overhead photo in serving bowl.

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Napa Cabbage Salad

The best version of that slaw recipe with the ramen noodles you'll ever have ~ fresh, flavorful and a hit at gatherings.
5 from 3 votes
Print Pin Rate
Course: Salad
Cuisine: Asian American
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Prep and refrigerate ingredients overnight: 12 hours
Total Time: 12 hours 30 minutes
Servings: 10 servings
Calories: 546kcal


  • 1 large head napa cabbage, shredded
  • 6 green onions, sliced
  • ½ red bell pepper, diced
  • 2 (4-ounce) packages ramen noodles, seasoning packets discarded, crushed in the package (I use a rolling pin and pound away, but not too much, you want small pieces, not crumbs!)
  • 4 ounces slivered almonds
  • 4 ounces sunflowers nuts
  • 1 stick (8 tbsp) salted butter, or unsalted if you prefer
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • ½ cup sugar
  • ½ cup tarragon vinegar (I used apple cider vinegar)
  • 1 cup saffron or sunflower oil (uh, yeah, I used canola oil)


  • Combine cabbage, green onion and red pepper and put in a large plastic zip bag. Refrigerate overnight.
  • In a large skillet, melt stick of butter over medium heat. Add crushed ramen noodles and nuts and brown. Stir frequently and be careful not to burn. Remove to paper towels to drain and cool completely. Place in another plastic zip bag and refrigerate.
  • Two hours before serving, mix the cabbage mixture with the noodle/nut mixture. Set aside, back in refrigerator. Make the dressing: in a jar with a lid, combine soy sauce, sugar, vinegar and oil, shake well to dissolve sugar, set aside.
  • Just before serving, dress the salad. Re-shake dressing and add as much as necessary to toss and coat evenly.

Recipe Notes

Recipe from my friend, Timm, in Minnesota


Calories: 546kcal Carbohydrates: 29g Protein: 8g Fat: 46g Saturated Fat: 10g Polyunsaturated Fat: 11g Monounsaturated Fat: 23g Trans Fat: 1g Cholesterol: 24mg Sodium: 631mg Potassium: 444mg Fiber: 4g Sugar: 13g Vitamin A: 834IU Vitamin C: 33mg Calcium: 123mg Iron: 2mg
Did you make this recipe? Please comment, rate it and share! And mention me on Instagram @thehungrybluebird or tag #thehungrybluebird so I can see!



5 from 3 votes (1 rating without comment)
Recipe Rating


Wednesday 12th of July 2023

I accidentally commented on the wrong recipe! But I made this as well! This is the perfect recipe! It literally disappeared in one day! Thank you!


Tuesday 7th of February 2023

I have made this similar salad with the same name. The original recipe I had was a combo of Nappa and Romaine (but could use just one). It was just the cabbage/lettuce and red onion. I recipe I had was when the butter was melted, the Oriental seasoning packet was mixed then the broken up noodles mixed and then baked for few minutes. There was also some sesame seeds added. It was delicious! I may have to "expand" on the way I used to make it with a few additions from this recipe!

Mark Wildenhaus

Thursday 21st of July 2016

Oriental or Asian, no matter what you call it, it's DAMN GOOD slaw!