I’ve discarded more than I can recall over the years but there’s one that I hold so precious and pull out so often that it’s riddled with the marks of a well-worn life: oil splatters, vinegar stains, bits of grainy powder now glued to its surface for all eternity.
It’s a recipe for broccoli slaw salad — lovingly shared by the very sweet mother of an old boyfriend. I first received it in the 1990s when I was just starting to cook and this was one of just three things I knew how to make.
Years later, my culinary repertoire has expanded, yet I still return to this recipe time and again. It’s incredibly easy to assemble for weeknight dinners and last-minute summer cookouts — and tasty, to boot. And because its ingredients include nuts and seeds, it also makes for an especially lovely fall salad. (Yes, it goes well with turkey, too.)
So, when my Let’s Lunch group, a gang of intrepid cooks spread out from San Diego to Paris who have a virtual lunchdate once a month, decided to do fall salads for October, once again, out came Mrs. Nak’s recipe.
This salad is so easy to make I almost feel silly going into the “how” of it, but here goes.
First, you place some broccoli slaw in a bowl — bags of this are found in the produce departments of most grocery stores. If not, you can also julienne your own broccoli, carrots and red cabbage.
Then, you add sliced almonds, crumbled ramen and seeds and mix it all together.
Now, the recipe calls for sunflower seeds but you can substitute pumpkin seeds, as I have here, for a more fall-like salad.
Then, you stir together sugar, red wine vinegar, vegetable oil and the contents of two ramen spice pouches and bring that combination to a simmer over low heat.
Pour it over the salad mixture, toss it and serve.
It’s that easy.
It also works just as well topped with lightly seared tuna or a little roasted pork to transform it into a light entree.
I like it best on the first day but it’s also delicious after a day in the fridge, too, when the flavors have really seeped into the greens and the ramen’s just a little soggy.
But what I may like best about it is the reminder that boyfriends, they may come and go. But friendships — and recipes — if you’re lucky, they remain.
This one’s for you, Mrs. Nak.
Interested in joining the Let’s Lunch group? Comment below or look up #letslunch on Twitter.
Meanwhile, check out other Let’s Lunch fall salads:
Cathy‘s Peach Caprese salad at Showfood Chef
Danielle‘s Spiced Pumpkin & Lentil Salad at Bon Vivant
Ellise‘s Texas Pickup Chili-Cheese Salad at Cowgirl Chef
Stephanie‘s Grape, Feta and Toasted Walnut Salad at The Cosmic Cowgirl
Mrs. Nak’s Broccoli Slaw Salad
(Recipe via Barbara Gibbs Ostmann)
2 (3-ounce) Oriental-flavored instant ramen noodles
1 (16-ounce) broccoli slaw
1 cup slivered or sliced almonds
1/2 to 1 cup shelled sunflower or pumpkin seeds
1/2 cup granulated sugar
3/4 cup vegetable oil
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
2 packets seasoning mix from ramen
Mix together broccoli slaw, almonds, sunflower seeds and crumbled ramen and set aside. Stir together dressing ingredients in a saucepan and bring to a simmer over low heat. Pour dressing over salad, toss and serve.