Crushed Ramen Is The Topping Your Salads Have Been Craving

Quick-cooking instant ramen is a beloved and affordable meal for busy eaters of all ages. There are countless ways to elevate a package into a restaurant-quality meal. However, soup isn't the only vehicle for the crunchy, cooked, and dehydrated noodles.

To give your salads added texture, crush the noodles with your hands or by smacking the closed package with a rolling pin before opening. Then, toss them into prepared and dressed greens. Hold off on adding the noodles until you're ready to dine, as leaving them overnight will encourage sogginess. If you've made an overabundance, try sprinkling the noodles over individual portions so your leftovers are noodle-free.


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This tactic works especially well with shredded cabbage, either in salads or slaws, but you can apply the idea to your favorite tossed greens. The broken noodles have a neutral flavor, so experiment with making a ramen noodle salad by mixing in a punchy dressing, nutty sesame seeds, and sweet mandarin slices to make each bite exciting. Best of all, this quick topping pairs with bagged salads, making it easy to incorporate into an equally fast fresh meal.

Even better crushed ramen salad

Although the simple approach of sprinkling bits of noodle works well, there are several ways to elevate your salad. First, focus on the noodles. To enhance their crunch and give them a richer flavor, try toasting them, along with any nuts, in a skillet or the oven for a few minutes. You can also add a little butter or oil to the pan to fry the pieces until they're extra crispy.

To bring out more of the flavor, consider incorporating the ramen seasoning packet. The salty, umami powder can transform a vinegary salad into a savory main course. Add chopped chicken or shrimp, depending on whether you have a chicken or seafood soup base, to amplify the soup base flavor. Or, sprinkle it into your usual vinaigrette before topping the lettuce.

If you're a miso ramen enthusiast or a vegetarian, take a different approach and try roasting vegetables, particularly mushrooms, in a miso glaze to draw out similar flavors. A vinegary dressing will mimic some of the sharpness of pickled veggies, but a creamy miso vinaigrette can also complement shredded cabbage and broccoli. For even more ramen-like flair, add defrosted frozen corn for sweetness, chili oil for heat, or even Kewpie mayo for a deluxe flavor boost.

Other uses for dehydrated ramen noodles

Although cooks can use the whole crushed block of dried noodles in their salads, solo diners may find they have extra topping after finishing their meal. Instead of discarding the ingredient, which may become soggy or stale in a humid kitchen, try repurposing it. Those with a hankering for soup will find that the topping fits just as well when dusted over ramen for a crunchy element as it does when cooked up in a stew of your choice.

Toasted noodles can also add texture to creamy pasta dishes, like macaroni and cheese or carbonara. You may need to give the noodles a quick blitz in a food processor or a more thorough crushing with your rolling pin to reduce some of the crunch. To mimic the effect of bread crumbs, try toasting the noodles with parsley and plenty of fat before pairing them with seafood dishes. Alternatively, use the pulverized textured bits to enhance your breading mixture, suitable for coating everything from chicken to fish.

Experimental cooks can also take inspiration from the ramen burger, a dish featuring "buns" made of boiled ramen noodles coated in egg, shaped into disks, and fried. The crunchy odds and ends of your salad topping may not form a neat circle, but they're easy to prepare in a similar fashion. Top the noodle bites with cheese, lettuce, and a beef patty to mimic sliders, or fry an egg and build a breakfast sandwich.