Saturday, July 13, 2013

#The Salad Bar for July: Potluck Salads...Featuring Updated Asian Ramen Slaw

This month’s theme for The Salad Bar blogging group roundup is…Potluck Salads! It seems that during the warmer Summer months, there are tons of BBQs and other big parties and get-togethers to attend. So, I challenged #TheSaladBar bloggers to share their favorite salads to take to BBQs or other large parties. Boy, did they come through! Their salad creations run the gamut from potato salads, to pasta salads…and beyond. When I was making my selection for this month, I thought back to the kinds of cold salads that I’ve enjoyed at family parties and Summertime events. One dish immediately came to mind: an easy-to-make Asian-inspired slaw that features crunchy veggies and a package of inexpensive ramen noodles. I love this salad, but I wanted to update it a bit for the way we eat today. There are many variations on this salad, which I combined and tweaked to create my addictive and healthy Updated Asian Ramen Slaw.

In place of cabbage, I used a chopped veggie slaw that contains cauliflower, baby broccoli florets, carrots and purple cabbage. I added sliced almonds for taste and texture, and I modernized the dressing a bit. Some recipes I saw online called for a full cup of vegetable oil…yikes! I reduced the amount of oil in half and used lime juice, lime zest and agave nectar to impart a subtle sweet-and-sour flavor to the dressing. I also added some sliced green onion to add a mild onion flavor in the background. This slaw is perfect for a potluck, because you can make it a day ahead. In fact, I think it tastes best after chilling in the fridge overnight!

Updated Asian Ramen Slaw
Inspired by Friends and Family

Step 1: Make the dressing by combining the following ingredients in a measuring cup: ½ cup vegetable oil, 1/4 cup water, the juice and zest of one lime, the flavor packet from a package of Lime-Shrimp flavor ramen noodles, 1 tbs. agave nectar, and salt & pepper to taste. Whisk well to combine and set aside.

Step 2: Add the following ingredients to a large mixing bowl: 1 package of your favorite slaw mix (I used Mann’s Rainbow Salad ), 2-3 sliced green onions, and 3/4 cup sliced almonds. Remove the noodles from the ramen packet and crush in your hands. Add to the salad in the bowl. Pour in the reserved dressing and stir well to combine.

Step 3:  Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 2 hours before serving. After 2 hours, the noodles will still be slightly crunchy. By the next day, they will be mostly softened. The salad tastes great both ways, so no worries about making it ahead!

That’s it! This simple slaw is flavorful, healthy and full of gorgeous colors. We loved the bright flavor that the addition of lime brought to this classic potluck salad. By using less oil, I felt better about eating it too! This addictive slaw keeps in the fridge for 2-3 days…if you have any left. I love to add boiled shrimp or diced pre-cooked chicken breast to make a great light lunch. Feel free to add golden raisins or cranberries -- or sub sunflower kernels for the almonds. I've seen both variations in my research for this article

I hope you’ll go visit the rest of The Salad Bar’s monthly contributors and see what potluck salad recipes they are sharing this month. They're all fabulous, so you’re sure to find something perfect for your next get-together or BBQ!

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