Asian Crunch Salad
When thinking about what food you choose to put in your body, do you think of the meals that are easy, foods you crave that are indulgent or do you think about about nutrition?
If you consider all three, which do you put first?
I ask this because 10 years ago, I would have said “indulgent” with a thought of the nutrition factor. But until I started learning about plant based eating, I didn’t understand what eating nutritionally meant.
To keep this simple, eating nutritionally for me now is eating the colors of the rainbow. Every color of your food has a different set of micronutrients.
The most traditional foods are not very colorful if you think about it. Pizza is tan & red. Pasta is tan & red. Burgers are tan & brown unless you add a tomato or lettuce on it–but how much nutrition are you really getting from that tiny bit of lettuce? …and here’s the thing. Some people (people I know) will say, “but I ate greens today,” in reference to that tiny piece of lettuce.
Are you getting my point?
Many people are missing the foods that are the most important to creating optimum health. The rainbow.
Now that I have you thinking…
I’m going to share with you a recipe that I dearly love when I’m in the mood for a healthy, light, filling & micronutrient filled meal.
This can easily be made for you to share with one other person (big portion with little calories) OR to take to a party.
An optional add in to bulk it up a bit would be pasta making it an Asian Crunch Pasta Salad.
What ingredients do you need?
For the salad:
TOASTED SESAME SEEDS
For the sauce:
This sauce would also be great for dipping spring rolls into.
How to put it all together.
First, you need to chop your cabbage, julienne the carrots, slice the green onions, thaw the edamame (if you bought frozen) and toast your sesame seeds–if you could not find them already toasted. Mix it all together in a big bowl.
Next make your sauce. Finely dice the ginger and garlic. When I say fine, I mean very fine. You do not want to be in the middle of enjoying your salad and then get a chunk of garlic or ginger. Yowza. It is not good. Add it to a small bowl or jar with the soy sauce, rice vinegar, maple syrup and sesame oil. Mix well or if you used a jar, put a lid on and shake.
Pour the sauce over your salad. Gently mix. You can eat this right away but I prefer to refrigerate it for about an hour. Stir the salad around from time to time to ensure any dressing that drains to the bottom, continues to get soaked by the veggies.
I like to add the toasted sesame seeds and sliced almonds when it’s time to serve so they do not get soggy. I like the crunch.
Could only find raw sesame seeds and not toasted?
Let me share with you how to toast your sesame seeds or any nuts/seeds in general.
Heat a dry pan over medium/low heat. When the pan is of temperature, add your seeds. Shake the pan to ensure all seeds are flat and not overlapping–do not add too many seeds to ensure they do not overlap.
Let them cook for a couple minutes then stir around with a spatula to check the color. Continue to cook for a minute or two then stir until the seeds reach a golden color as seen in the pictures below. Once they are done, remove the seeds from the pan. Since the pan is still hot, even off the burner, they will continue to brown potentially burning them without you realizing. Removing them from the actual pan is important.
Are you planning to take this Asian Crunch Salad to a PARTY?
If so, I suggest to not use the green cabbage and up the red cabbage to 4 cups chopped.
The green cabbage, even as you can slightly see in my pictures, will take on the dark color of the sauce. I like to think of presentation with my food so I wouldn’t want someone to look at this dish and think it’s kind of dingy. Brighter colors are appealing to the eye and can withstand being on a table for a couple hours.
Another suggestion is to create an Asian Crunch Pasta Salad. Cook two cups of pasta. Drain. Let cool then add to the salad. Gently mix together. Most pasta salads tend to have rotini, farfalle or fusilli pasta shapes. Use whichever you like.
Asian Crunch SaladCourse: Main, Side, PartyCuisine: AsianDifficulty: Easy
Crunchy & colorful cabbage salad full of micronutrients tossed with an Asian-inspired sauce made with soy sauce, ginger, garlic and sesame oil.
red cabbage, 2 cups chopped
green cabbage, 2 cups chopped
carrots, 1 cup grated or julienned (approximately 2 carrots)
shelled edamame, 2.5 cups (1 12 oz frozen bag, thawed)
green onion, 2 stalks thinly sliced
basil, 1/4 cup finely sliced (chiffonade)
soy sauce, 4 tbsp (use tamari if gluten free)
rice vinegar, 2 tbsp
maple syrup, 1 tbsp
ginger root, 1 tbsp finely diced (very fine!)
garlic, 1 clove finely diced (again, very fine!)
sesame oil, 1 tsp
- Crunchy Toppings
raw almonds, 1/4 cup slivered (I rough chop whole almonds–you could also buy prepackaged slivered)
toasted sesame seeds, 2 tbsp
- Mix the chopped cabbage, grated/julienned carrots, sliced green onions and edamame into a large bowl.
- For your sauce, add all the ingredients to a small bowl or jar. Mix well in the bowl or if you used a jar, put a lid on and shake.
- Pour the sauce onto the salad. Mix well but gently.
- You can serve this immediately but I like it best when refrigerated for about an hour. The time allows for the cabbage to soften a bit and the sauce to soak into the vegetables. Just be sure to stir it every 20-30 minutes to ensure the sauce doesn’t drain to the bottom.
- When ready to serve, fold in the toasted sesame seeds and almonds. Top with more basil as a garnish if you would like.
- Gluten Free: Replace soy sauce with tamari
- Optional Add-In: rotini, farfalle or fusilli pasta to make an Asian Crunch Pasta Salad. Cook 2 cups of pasta. Drain. Let cool. Mix into the salad at the time of prep.
- Ginger & Garlic: When I say finely dice these two, I mean very fine. You do not want to take a bite of this beautiful salad and have a chunk of garlic or ginger in there.
- Party: If you plan to take this to a party, replace the green cabbage with 2 more cups of the red cabbage. It will give a vibrant presentation without the green cabbage since it can take on the color of the sauce.