I have no exciting way to introduce you to this salad of sorts; suffice to say it has taken care of many lunches, and even a few dinners over the past few weeks. It’s the Ichiban salad of my childhood, glammed up with chunks of roasted chicken, and made extra toasty by popping crushed dry noodles in the toaster oven along with the sliced almonds. (Note: do not leave the toaster oven to go check your email. For real.) The resulting jumble is crunchy, sweet and sour, and makes a satisfying sum of its parts. Also: a ginormous bag of coleslaw mix (enough to last at least a week) costs $3, a packet of noodles about a quarter, and a handful of almonds aint much. You also get the health plusses of all that slaw, and the nuts, and a few peas if you want to add the dregs of the bowl of leftovers from the other night. (OK… honestly? I put them in there so I could call it chicken noodle salad. I thought it was catchy. It is kinda fun though, right?)
More selling points: If you’re starving when you get home, it can be put together in under ten minutes, before you devour two pieces of toast and a handful of granola. All the things in it keep well enough to keep on hand in the cupboard or fridge – cabbage has staying power. (You don’t have to add roasted chicken, but if there’s some in the freezer or fridge, it’s a Very Good Thing.)
I’m going to drive structured recipe lovers crazy for awhile here, because this is again one that gets tossed together without reference to measurements.
For two big pasta-size bowls, or enough to put on the dinner table as a side, here’s what I do:
– Crush a bag of Ichiban noodles (spicy chicken is my fave, although you’ll just use a sprinkle of the packet) in its bag, then open it up and shake the contents out onto a baking sheet – it should fit in the toaster oven. Add a handful of sliced almonds and toast until everything smells nutty.
– Mound a generous amount of thinly sliced cabbage or coleslaw mix in a bowl. A couple handfuls per person, I’d say.
– Get a jar, and pour in about 1/4 cup olive or canola oil, 2-3 Tbsp. sugar (it’s sweet), 3-4 Tbsp. rice vinegar and a sprinkle of the seasoning packet. Shake it up.
– Add the toasty nuts n’ noodles to the slaw, add some chopped chicken if you like, and drizzle the lot with dressing. You probably won’t need all of it, but that part is up to you. Toss and eat.
Now I’m all hungry.