Serves 6 to 8 as a main course
This recipe keeps in the fridge really well. I often make a double batch on the weekend and eat it for lunch for three or four days. Make it ahead so that it has time to chill for at least a couple of hours before serving. You may have had another version of this popular salad before—mine’s a supereasy twist on the classic.
1 1/2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breasts
2 packages (3 ounces each) chicken-flavor ramen noodles, with seasoning packets
1 cup sliced almonds
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1/3 cup rice vinegar
3/4 cup sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground black pepper
5 cups shredded coleslaw mix
1 package (16 ounces) matchstick carrots (about 2 cups)
3 to 4 scallions, sliced
1. Preheat the oven to 350°F.
2. Place the chicken breasts in a medium-size stockpot and add water to cover. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat and cook until the chicken is cooked through, about 20 minutes. Remove the chicken breasts with tongs and set them aside to cool.
3. Break up the ramen noodles and place them on a rimmed baking sheet, reserving the seasoning packets. Scatter the almonds over the ramen noodles and stir to combine. Place the pan in the oven and toast the ramen mixture until very lightly browned, about 10 minutes, stirring halfway through. Remove the pan from the oven and allow the mixture to cool completely, then transfer it to a large ziplock bag.
4. To make the dressing, place the contents of the seasoning packets, oil, rice vinegar, sugar, salt, and pepper in a quart-size mason jar. Seal the lid tightly and shake the jar vigorously until the mixture is well blended. Set the dressing aside.
5. Shred the chicken into bite-size pieces using two forks.
6. Place the coleslaw mix, carrots, scallions, and chicken in a very large bowl and stir to combine. Shake the dressing again, pour it over the salad, and stir to coat completely.
7. Refrigerate the salad, covered, for several hours or overnight, to allow the flavors to develop.
8. When you’re ready to serve, assemble the salad on a platter and scatter the ramen mixture over the top.
Note: This makes a lot but lasts several days in the refrigerator. To ensure that the ramen mixture stays crunchy, keep it separate and add it just before eating the salad each time.
Christy Jordan is the publisher of SouthernPlate.com, a contributing editor to Taste of the South magazine, former editor-at-large at Southern Living, and a judge on the Game Show Network’s Beat the Chefs.She’s appeared on TODAY, Paula Deen, QVC, and a host of other media outlets. She lives with her family in Huntsville, Alabama. Find her on Facebook or Twitter.