It's fun, delicious and super versatile .... I created this Healthy Crunchy Salad Topping recipe several weeks ago when I wanted something a bit different to top a salad we were having for dinner that evening.
I love to serve salads here at The Café. They're such a great way for to incorporate fresh, seasonal ingredients into our everyday meals. To keep our greens from becoming boring, I'm forever dreaming up new ways to pizzaz them up with great dressings (our current favorite dressing) and unique toppings (we love these roasted almonds).
This time I took crushed Ramen noodles, sliced almonds and sesame seeds (sunflower seeds are a great addition as well) and tossed them together on a sheet pan. A splash of olive oil, a drizzle of honey and a pinch of sea salt and it was ready to pop in the oven. Within fifteen minutes I was pulling out a golden, fragrant tray of Healthy, Crunchy Salad Topping.
Well, I thought it was Healthy, Crunchy Salad Topping. Till I just happened to read the label on the ramen noodles. Oh dear! This is what the ingredient information on the package label reads:
Ramen Noodles: Enriched Wheat Flour (Wheat Flour, Niacin, Reduced Iron, Thiamine Mononitrate, Riboflavin, Folic Acid), Vegetable Oil (Contains One Or More Of The Following: Canola, Cottonseed, Palm) Preserved By Tbhq, Salt, Soy Sauce (Water, Wheat, Soybeans, Salt), Potassium Carbonate, Sodium (Mono, Hexameta, And/Or Tripoly) Phosphate, Sodium Carbonate, Turmeric.
Okay, so maybe it would be better to delete the Healthy part of the title. Right? All those weird ingredients in there that I have no idea about .........
"Not so fast", I told myself (yup, I admit it; I do talk to myself at times, especially when I'm putting together a new recipe). We loved the this salad topping and I couldn't give it up that easily. I did want it to be healthy - after all, that's one of the pluses of eating fresh salads. So I went back to the drawing board and started looking for healthy Ramen noodle options. Guess what I found?
Organic Ramen Noodles. Though I'm not always an ardent proponent and exclusive consumer of organic products, the label on these noodles was incredible:
Noodles: Organic heirloom wheat flour, sea salt.
Yes! I was thrilled. I tried the recipe again with the organic noodles. Just as delicious! How cool is that? They're definitely crunchy and I can now honestly say they're also quite healthy!
You might be wondering, "What about the versatile part?"
I was hoping you would ask.
We've discovered a few other ways we enjoy this fun and delicious salad topping. It's a wonderful to nibble on as a snack and is a delicious alternative to granola for topping for our morning Greek yogurt and fruit. We've enjoyed it sprinkled on top of peanut butter and honey toast (Scott always begs for a second slice) and it's a pizazzy topping for oatmeal. See what I mean?
Try it. I think you'll find it to be fun, delicious and super versatile too! Oh, and if someone gives you a hard time about the Ramen noodles not being very healthy (they've gotten a bad rap lately). You can tell them, "I've done my research"!
- 2 2.1- ounce 60g packages organic ramen noodles*
- ½ cup almonds
- ¼ cup sesame seeds
- ¼ cup sunflower seeds optional
- I tablespoon olive oil
- 1 tablespoon honey
- ½ teaspoon kosher or fine sea salt
Preheat oven to 350˚F. Line a sheet pan with parchment paper for easy clean up.
With ramen noodle package unopened, crush noodles with your fingers. Open package and remove seasoning packet. Discard or save seasoning for another use.
Combine ramen noodles, almonds and seeds on prepared baking sheet. Drizzle with the olive oil and honey. Sprinkle with salt and stir.
Bake for 15 minutes or until golden brown, stirring every 5 minutes (this will prevent topping from browning too much at the edges). Remove from oven and allow to cool completely. Store in ziplock bags or glass jars.**
* Organic ramen noodles can be found at Whole Foods, Trader Joe's and health food markets.
**This topping freezes well in ziplock bags or storage containers. I like to keep a small jar in my pantry and freeze the rest to keep it fresh.