Most-Delicious Crunchy Coleslaw Salad with Tangy Dressing

Darien Telephone CompanyOne of my favorite cookbooks around (besides Coralie’s Mom’s Awesome Cookbook: Mary Made It, of course) is  “Something To Talk About: Simply Coastal Cooking” from The Darien Telephone Company in Darien, Georgia. The only thing better than the food in Darien is the people and this cookbook is a staple in my kitchen. You need to buy this cookbook. Because not only do you get some of the most delicious recipes with adorable art work, but 100% of the proceeds from the sale of this book go to local charities. It is $20 and worth every penny. Two or three of my hands-down favorite recipes come from this book and I am so pleased to share with you the recipe that I get asked for the most after shindigs. The recipe is for “Coleslaw Salad” but I want to add a thousand and four words to that title to further convey its awesomeness. Because it is.

When I think of coleslaw, I normally grimace… because I’ve had some bad coleslaw in my life. Everyone has been to that barbecue/picnic where there is a plastic container of something that is a white, mayonaisey soup with shredded cabbage and flecks of carrots. And for that reason, I think coleslaw sometimes gets a bad wrap. I mean, when done properly, mayonnaise-based coleslaw is a thing of beauty… but, again… we’ve all been to that barbecue.

There are  a lot of people in my life who aren’t big fans of vegetables… and even THEY eat this salad. It’s great for summer parties, Wednesday-dinner side dish, you name it. Its quick, easy, and super different. So, get ready to have your mind blown, because here is the recipe for, what I like to call, “CRUNCHY COLESLAW with TANGY DRESSING .

Crunchy ColeslawIngredients:

-1 (3-ounce) package of chicken-flavor ramen noodles
-1/2 cup vegetable oil
-3 tablespoons cider vinegar
-2 tablespoons sugar
-1/2 teaspoon of salt
-1/4 teaspoon of pepper
-3 tablespoons of butter
-1/2 cup sliced almonds
-2 tablespoon sunflower kernels
-1 large head cabbage, shredded, or 1 (16-ounce) package shredded cabbage
-1/2 cup sliced green onions

Once you have all your ingredients together, this recipe is then really broken up into three parts- sauteing the crunchy portion of the salad, prepping the green part, and the mixing the dressing. If you aren’t feeling ambidextrous you can make the dressing, then toast your crunchy ingredients, and then make the fresh greens portion of the salad- all separately. OR, if you love a challenge, you can do all three at the same time through a carefully orchestrated dance that maximizes time efficiency. Because sometimes you need a great dish quickly.

First, put the 3 Tbls. of butter into a wide pan over a medium-low heat. (“6” on my range) After most of the butter has melted, begin putting crunchy component (almonds, sunflower seeds, and crushed noodles from the ramen noodle packet) into the sauce pan. *Tip* I always open a small section from the end seams of the noodle packet and gently crush the noodles IN the package. It just keeps the mess at a minimum. Now, as soon as the dry, crunchy ingredients get covered in melted butter you have about eight to ten minutes of toasting before they start to burn.
Cruncy Topping saute

Make sure the crunchy ingredients are spread-out evenly over the pan as you saute, breaking up any larger clusters of ramen noodles with the butt of your spatula. While you are stirring this mix frequently, almost obsessively, you can make your dressing. But, always ALWAYS watch this mix. Because when it starts to burn, it happens quickly. So, while the crunchy stuff is sauteing, grab a mason jar and combine the dressing components (oil, cider vinegar, sugar, salt, pepper, and the most secret-est of ingredients- the chicken flavoring packet from the ramen noodles- yeah… flavor packet. Deal with it.) Tighten lid on mason jar and shake ingredients together. Set aside.

You’ve been watching your crunchy stuff, right? I know you have, because you’re awesome. After six or seven minutes, you’ll begin to notice that the almonds are starting to subtly toast. Use this as your index on done-ness of your crunchy mix. The meat of the almond will start to gradually change color. Watch. Its like science and stuff! Once your noodles look golden brown, take them immediately off the heat and spread mixture on a thin layer on a paper-towel covered plate to soak excess oil. It also slows the toasting process… which is key, as it can burn quickly. Can’t state that enough. Now, if you’ve already made your dressing and the crunchy mixture still isn’t toasted then noodles and almonds are still the same color as when you put them in, continue to saute mixture, and cut your green onions.

crucnhy coleslaw onions chicken

Once you have all of the components of this recipe assembled (the crunchy, the green, the dressing,) you can either mix them all together (if you are serving immediately) or store the components separately until you are ready to serve. As soon as you add the dressing to the crunchy mixture, the crunch of the noodles is on a time clock. They’ll stay crunchy for about an hour, once mixed, but you can totally make all of this stuff in advance and keep the components separately until ready to serve.  I’ve known some people who LOVE this salad soggy- like put it between slices of bread/LOVE this salad. I’m its biggest fan of it crunchy, but to each his own!
Here’s the salad out in the wild at a birthday party. We took the train there so I carried the coleslaw bag, the crunch mixture, the dressing, and the green onions in tupperware containers in my back pack. See? Super portable! Got to the party and added dressing. Tossed until evenly coated. I took a picture of it too late as it was almost consumed by the time I got my camera. Which, I guess, is a pretty awesome indicator of how great this it.
Crunchy Coleslaw Salad Gone
Coleslaw Salad
-1 (3-ounce) package of chicken-flavor ramen noodles
-1/2 cup vegetable oil
-3 tablespoons cider vinegar
-2 tablespoons sugar
-1/2 teaspoon of salt
-1/4 teaspoon of pepper
-3 tablespoons of butter
-1/2 cup sliced almonds
-2 tablespoon sunflower kernals
-1 large head cabbage, shredded, or 1 (16-ounce) package shredded cabbage
-1/2 cup sliced green onions

Combine the seasoning packet from the ramen noodles, oil, vinegar, sugar, salt, and pepper in a jar with a tight-fitting lid. Shake until well mixed. Melt the butter in a skillet. Add the ramen noodles, almonds, and sunflower kernels. Saute until golden brown. Remove to a large bowl. Add the shredded cabbage and green onions and toss to mix. Add the dressing and toss to coat. Let stand for 5 minutes before serving.

Note: You can prepare ahead of time and toss the salad and dressing just before serving.
Yield: 10 servings

Avatar photo



  1. FWIW, I think that salad stays crunchy for more than an hour. Not that I’ve gone back for multiple “seconds” at a party where you brought it or anything.

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