I’ve been going through the recipe archives, looking at some of my favorite recipes and realizing that they’ve changed a bit through the years. I’m also a much better photographer now, so every once in a while I plan to reshoot some past recipes and update the posts. Here’s one of my favorite salads, a potluck staple in Hawaii.
Somen salad is one of my favorite midnight snacks. I almost always have the ingredients around, and it makes me think of Hawaii. The first time Eric tried it, he said “Wow, that’s very Asian!” (that was a compliment in case you were wondering) Instead of lettuce being the base for the salad, it’s noodles! The somen salad dressing is made with soy sauce and rice vinegar, and it includes SPAM. Not your typical American salad. But I can eat a ton of it!
At every potluck I ever went to in Hawaii, we all made certain someone was in charge of bringing somen salad. No potluck felt complete without it. I remember the flavors and ingredients very well, but out of curiosity, I searched for some somen salad recipes, and found each one to be different.
Below is my version that I found easiest to make with things you’re likely to have around the house. For instance, it’s called somen salad because you typically use somen noodles. But you can buy a big box of ramen noodles from Costco or Sam’s Club, or buy the traditional somen noodles in an Asian grocery store. Either one is very affordable, but somen noodles are healthier and gluten free. Also, somen salad usually has fish cake and char siu pork, but those aren’t ingredients I use often, so I go with SPAM. Finally, the sesame seeds are typically mixed in the dressing, but if you’re storing it for a while, they get all bloated and gross, so I add them to the salad.
If you’re not afraid of SPAM, or even if you are, give this recipe a try. It’s a nice blend of flavors, textures and temperatures. I’d suggest preparing the dressing in advance so it can be refrigerated beforehand, but it’s not necessary. If serving this for dinner, just layer everything in individual bowls. If serving it at a potluck, layer it in a large casserole dish. I like to mix the dressing in a jar, makes it easy to shake it to mix everything together. But it’s often difficult for people to pour from a jar so you can also use a dressing bottle or any squeeze bottle.
I have to clarify that this is not a healthy salad recipe. It’s not a salad you’d eat to try and lose weight. But it is packed with protein and makes a filling dinner. If you’re looking for a healthier Asian salad, I suggest my healthy Chinese Chicken Salad Recipe.
- 1/2 cup soy sauce
- 1/2 cup rice vinegar
- 1/8 cup sugar (I use sucanat)
- 1/2 cup vegetable oil
- 3 cups somen, ramen, spaghetti, or angel hair noodles, cooked according to package directions
- 3 cups chopped romaine lettuce
- 1 small cucumber chopped
- 1/2 can SPAM
- 4 eggs
- 1 tsp sesame seeds
- Put soy sauce, rice vinegar and sugar in a jar and seal. Shake well until sugar is dissolved. Add oil and refrigerate.
- Place noodles in bottom of serving container then top with lettuce and then cucumbers. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate.
- Chop the SPAM into small cubes and fry in a pan until golden brown.
- Scramble the eggs.
- Add eggs and SPAM to the salad. Sprinkle with sesame seeds.
- Shake dressing well and use on individual servings.
Approximate cost/serving: This costs about $5 to make. That’s 63 cents a serving for 8 servings. If you’re bringing this to a potluck with other food items, it will be even cheaper as people will eat less.
Gluten Free: Somen noodles are made from rice and gluten free (read your package to make sure!). You can also use gluten free soy sauce. SPAM is gluten free.
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 379Total Fat: 22gSaturated Fat: 4gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 17gCholesterol: 126mgSodium: 1320mgCarbohydrates: 31gFiber: 2gSugar: 5gProtein: 14g
Nutrition information is an estimate only.