This Asian salad is super simple, very tasty and is easily customisable.
You can throw in whatever vegetables you like, cut them however you want and the dressing can be kept in the fridge for 2 weeks. I often double or triple the recipe for it so that the salad comes together even easier.
The salad tastes better the next day, but it’s also delicious to eat it immediately after preparing it (or while you’re still stirring it and you take the occasional bite to taste-test. Or at least I tell myself it’s only for taste-testing purposes haha).
If you eat any kind of salads in Asian restaurants, make sure to check the ingredients for the dressing. I very often say that I’m allergic to fish, because fish sauce is something that is always added and not everyone is kind enough to leave it out for you!
The dressing I am using here is really simple, but the fresh lime juice and spices provide enough flavour to make this vegan salad without using animal ingredients.
Ingredients for 2 people:
For the salad
- 1 large carrot, julienned
- 1/2 cucumber (you can use Lebanese cucumbers, but personally I prefer the continental ones), julienned
- 1/2 cup red cabbage, shredded
- 1/2 cup nappa cabbage, shredded
- 1/4 cup roasted, salted peanuts (I often crush half of them)
- 1 scallion, finely sliced
- 1/2 red pepper, julienned
- tofu or any other protein if desired (I used kidney beans because I didn’t have anything else at home and it worked just fine)
- 1 teaspoon of sesame seeds, keep for garnishing
For the dressing
- juice of 1/2 lime
- 2-3 tablespoons soy sauce
- 1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil
- 1 tablespoon peanut butter (I always get one without added sugar, salt and oils)
- 1 teaspoon chilis flakes or finely chopped fresh chili (add less or more depending on your preferences)
- 1 teaspoon grated ginger (you can peel it easily with a back of a spoon or knife)
- 1 teaspoon ground coriander seeds
- ~ 1-2 tablespoons of warm water
Combine all dressing ingredients and stir well – I normally use a fork or a whisk. You want the dressing to be smooth. Have a taste and see if you want more acid, salt or even sugar. I don’t like sweet things, but if you do, a teaspoon of maple syrup would work well. You are mixing the dressing with a lot of water vegetables, so it can be quite salty!
Mix all vegetables in a big bowl and combine with the dressing. Stir well and lit sit for a while before eating if you can. The vegetables will release some water and make the dressing less sticky overall, so don’t worry if at this stage it seems like there isn’t enough.
When you are ready to serve the salad, portion onto plates, sprinkle with the peanuts and sesame seeds and add protein of choice if desired.
TIP: If you do not own a julienne peeler, I would highly recommend getting one! They are so inexpensive and make eating vegetables way more fun. Alternatively you can use a vegetable peeler or simply cut the vegetables into thin strips with a knife. Whatever floats your boat.