Monday, October 10, 2011

Makeover Monday: Ramen Slaw Salad

I love Ramen Slaw Salad.  And that is saying something because I'm not a coleslaw person.  This dish is what my mom always brings to family get-togethers and it is always a hit.  A while back ago I finally asked her for her recipe.  A quick glance at the ingredient list and I knew why it's so good.  And I knew it had to get a makeover before it would be prepared in this dietitian's kitchen!

The base of coleslaw, cabbage, is a nutrient powerhouse.  The fat that we tend to glob on it to make it taste respectable, is not.  But does coleslaw really need all that fat to make a delicious side dish?  I thought not. 

While I have always enjoyed my mom's Ramen Slaw Salad and appreciated its ability to get me to eat a veggie I don't particularly like, I have noticed that when you get to the bottom of the bowl it is dripping in its oily, sugary dressing.  So when I went to make it on my own, my main objective was to increase the ratio of veggies to dressing.  I love it when I get to use the word "ratio." 

There is nothing brilliant about the changes I made.  The original recipe calls for one cup of oil.  That wasn't going to work for me.  So I used half of that and added a little water to make up the difference.  Calorie savings: 960!  I also used Splenda instead of sugar, which saved another 340 calories. 

At this point I had tackled the dressing.  I could have stopped there, but I didn't.  I also used just one package of ramen noodles instead of two.  This saved 280 calories plus 1580 mg of sodium.  The original recipe also calls for one cup each of sunflower seeds and sliced almonds.  They contribute a nice crunch to the salad, and cutting things in half was getting boring, so I used 3/4 cup each.  This saves 375 calories.  Total calorie savings: 1955! 

Now, is this reduced calorie version of Ramen Slaw Salad as sinfully good as the original?  I'll let you decide.  Does it provide a reasonable amount of heart healthy fats, powerful cancer fighting antioxidants, a good dose of fiber, and a pleasant crunch with a hint of sweetness without breaking the calorie bank?  It sure does!

There are a few things I change when preparing this recipe to suit my needs a little better.  First of all, I have never found broccoli coleslaw in my grocery store, so I use the standard coleslaw.  And this most recent time I made it I chopped up some cabbage and carrots myself.  Also, because it is just my husband and me eating this and it takes us a few meals to polish it off, I add the dressing and noodles as we go to avoid a soggy salad. To make the dressing, I put it in a shaker, and shake it.  It makes storing a pouring easy!  Give it a try and let me know how you like it!

Ramen Slaw Salad

1 package beef ramen noodles, uncooked, crushed
8-10 green onions, chopped
3/4 cup sunflower seeds
3/4 cup sliced almonds
1 lb broccoli coleslaw (or regular coleslaw)
1/2 cup canola oil
1/4 cup water
1/3 cup white vinegar
1/2 cup Splenda
1 seasoning package from ramen noodles
Mix oil, water, vinegar, sugar, and seasoning packages.  Place in refrigerator to cool.
When ready to serve, toss slaw, onions, almonds, and sunflower seeds.  Pour chilled dressing over slaw mix and toss.  Just before serving, add uncooked noodles and toss again.

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