My winter garden is rapidly coming to an end as warmer weather and longer daylight hours of spring arrive. My Chinese cabbage grew very well this winter, I am pleased to say. I’m going to make one of my favorite salads — Ramen Chinese Cabbage Salad — with the last cuttings. This salad is easy to make and is very healthy, too. How nice to have a healthy vegetable which also tastes great. The salad has plenty of crunch which includes the “surprise” ingredient of dry ramen noodles.
Although traditional cabbage is usually used in this recipe, I am substituting Chinese cabbage from my garden. Chinese cabbage is crispy with a zing flavor — much more than head cabbage. This is a good use for the cabbage growing in my garden. The salad includes carrots, slivered almonds, sesame seeds and dry ramen noodles. The ramen noodles are from a package of oriental soup. The salad has a very mild sweet and sour dressing with oriental flavors of rice vinegar, soy sauce and sesame oil.
What is Chinese Cabbage?
When I picked out tiny seedlings to plant last fall, I discovered that I had two labels which said “Chinese cabbage.” After some research, I discovered that there are really two varieties of Chinese cabbage: bok choy and napa cabbage. Both are used in Chinese cooking and are eaten raw and cooked. They are in the botanical Brassica rapa family making them related to Brussels sprouts, kale and broccoli.
This salad adds alot of nutritional value to your diet. Chinese cabbage is rich in folate, Vitamin C, with moderate amounts of Vitamin K and Vitamin A precursors, fiber and and minerals, especially potassium. Now research is being conducted on the antioxidant plant compounds in Chinese cabbage such as carotenes, thiocyanates, indole-3-carbinol, lutein, zeaxanthin, sulforaphane and isothiocyanates. These compounds are being studied for protective effects against some forms of cancers. Such a simple vegetable plays an important health role in our diets.
I raised both types of Chinese cabbage in my garden this winter. This is Napa cabbage “Blues” variety or pekinensis. This cabbage grows in a compact head, the leaves are pale green, tender, mild and flavorful.
The second type of Chinese cabbage, chinensis, is Bok Choy or Pad Choy. Rather than a compact head, this cabbage grows as individual leaves. The cabbage is crisp, even crunchy, with a very tangy flavor. The yellow flowers in the photo emerge when the weather warms. The plant “bolts” and the leaves soon become too bitter to eat.
To make the salad
I prefer to use Napa cabbage or traditional cabbage in this salad. Bok Choy doesn’t lend itself to fine shredding. The salad is simple to make. Wash the garden greens very well and discard damaged leaves. Chop the cabbage and carrots finely and add green onions, almonds and sesame seeds. Mix the dressing ingredients together and pour over the salad.
This salad is best chilled, so make it several hours ahead. Just prior to serving, crush the dry Ramen noodles and mix in. (I save the seasoning package in the soup for another use; although some recipes include it in the salad.)
And here’s to the last of my winter garden. A colorful, zesty and nutritious salad. We can all eat more of these salads. This is one of my favorite salads, enjoy!
Ramen Chinese Cabbage Salad
- 8 oz Chinese Napa Cabbage (4 cups finely chopped)
- 2 carrots, peeled and sliced or slivered
- 1 bunch green onions, sliced whites and parts of greens
- 1/2 cup slivered almonds
- 2 Tbsp sesame seeds
- 3 Tbsp rice vinegar
- 1 Tbsp soy sauce
- 2 Tbsp sugar
- 1/3 cup vegetable oil
- 1 Tbsp sesame oil
- 1 (3 oz) package chicken flavored ramen noodles (from package of Ramen Noodle Soup)
- cherry tomatoes, optional
Method and Steps:
- Wash the Napa cabbage leaves and discard any damaged ones. Chop finely and add to large bowl.
- Add peeled and sliced or slivered carrots, green onions, slivered almonds and sesame seeds and toss to combine.
- In another small bowl add rice vinegar, soy sauce and sugar. Stir to combine well.
- Stream in vegetable oil and sesame oil stirring constantly to combine.
- Pour over cabbage salad and toss to combine.
- Chill for several hours.
- Just prior to serving, break-up package of ramen noodles. Add to cabbage salad. (Save soup seasoning mix for another use.)
- If desired, garnish with cherry tomatoes.