Chinese Napa Cabbage Salad with a Crunchy Topping

Chinese napa cabbage salad is tossed with a sesame soy dressing and topped with ramen noodles and slivered almonds that have been crisped in butter. A party favorite!

Chinese Napa Cabbage Salad

Have you ever been to potluck dinner where there’s a dish that’s the talk of the food table? It’s tasty and unique and you just can’t get enough of it. You want to sneak seconds (and maybe even thirds.) But, well…it just wouldn’t be polite to gobble it all up before everyone else has had a chance to experience its deliciousness. Chinese Napa Cabbage Salad with a crunchy noodle and nut topping is one of those dishes and I had to reign in this type of behavior when I tried it.

The crunchy topping of ramen noodles and almonds browned in butter is what really takes this dish over the top. But, I love the dressing with a hint of sesame too.  The light, crinkly napa cabbage with it’s tender and slightly peppery flavor makes it easy to devour.


In case you’re not familiar with it, this is Nappa or Napa or Chinese or celery cabbage. Yep, it goes by all these names.

I didn’t bring this Chinese Napa Cabbage Salad  to the get together, another mom did. And, she was kind enough to share the recipe with everyone so we could all go home and make up a gigantic salad that we wouldn’t have to share with anyone. 🙂 That was 10 years ago at T-ball end of season party. Yikes. Where does the time go?

Over the years, I’ve lightened it up quite a bit by using less butter and some olive oil. I also nixed the seasoning packet that comes with the ramen noodles which eliminates that animal protein…not to mention, there’s just too much MSG and artificial ingredients in that little packet. You won’t miss it.

For my friends allergic to soy, substitute coconut aminos for the soy sauce.

Chinese Napa Cabbage Salad with a Crunchy Topping
Chinese napa cabbage salad is tossed with a sesame soy dressing and topped with ramen noodles and slivered almonds browned in butter. A party favorite!
Serves: 4 Servings
  • 1 large head crinkly Chinese cabbage (aka Napa cabbage) thinly sliced
  • 5-6 green onions, sliced thin
  • ½ cup canola oil
  • ¼ cup sugar (I can actually get away with a little less, like about 3 Tablespoons or sugar substitute)
  • ⅓ cup rice or cider vinegar
  • 1 Tablespoon soy sauce or coconut aminos
  • 1 teaspoon sesame oil
Crunchy Topping
  • 2 Tablespoons butter, margarine or dairy-free substitute
  • 1 Tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 package Top Ramen noodles, broken into small pieces (Chicken-flavored, discarding the seasoning packet)
  • 1 cup slivered almonds
  • Salt to taste
  1. Mix sliced cabbage and green onions in a large bowl.
  2. Combine dressing ingredients in a jar with a tight lid and shake well to mix.
  3. Pour dressing over cabbage mixture, toss to coat and set aside.
  4. In a large frying pan, melt butter and stir in olive oil.
  5. Add broken noodles, almonds and salt (if desired.)
  6. Saute until noodles and nuts are lightly golden brown.
  7. Sprinkle crunchy noodles and almonds over the cabbage mixture.

Serving Suggestions and Tips for Chinese Napa Cabbage Salad:

  • Make the dressing and crunchy topping ahead of time. Keep separate until ready to serve. The cabbage also stores well after you chop it for a day or two.
  • Add shrimp or chicken (or your favorite protein) for a complete, one-dish meal.
  • Sprinkle with sesame seeds, if desired.
  • Another option is to use pre-shredded cole slaw found in the produce area.

I hope you enjoy this party favorite!

Chinese Napa Cabbage Salad Recipe with a Crunchy Noodle and Almond Topping





  1. I am definitely going back for thirds!!

  2. I love salads and would definitely have more than one serving of this 🙂 Pinned!

  3. this is a yummy salad!! I always add a little toasted sesame oil the dressing and it makes it even better. Toasted sesame oil is strong and a little goes a long way! yum!

  4. Marjory, this looks truly incredible. I love a salad with a good crunch and lots of nuts!