Chopped Thai Salad with Sesame-Garlic Dressing

Chopped Thai Salad with Sesame-Garlic Dressing
slightly adapted from Pinch of Yum

Ingredients

For the dressing:
1/3 cup grapeseed or vegetable oil
3 cloves garlic, peeled
3 tablespoons low sodium soy sauce
2 tablespoons water
2 tablespoons rice wine vinegar
2 tablespoons honey
1 tablespoon sesame oil
1 tablespoon grated ginger

For the salad:
16 ounces frozen shelled edamame
5-oz bag baby kale (or kale-spinach mix)
3 large carrots
2 bell peppers (I prefer red, orange, yellow in this)
1 cup cilantro leaves
3 green onions
3/4 cup cashews

Method

Puree all the dressing ingredients in a food processor until smooth. Taste and adjust to fit your preferences. Transfer to a dressing jar and rinse the food processor out for use later.

Cook the edamame by boiling it for 3-5 minutes in a pot of boiling water. Drain and allow it to cool. Meanwhile, slice up the kale, carrots, peppers, cilantro leaves, and green onions into thin strips or shreds.

Place the cooked edamame in the food processor and pulse 5 times to get a minced texture. Transfer to a bowl and repeat the same process for the cashews. Toss the kale, carrots, peppers, cilantro, green onions, edamame, and cashews together until well combined.

Serve immediately.

NOTES

This mix of vegetables is fabulous enough on its own, but then you add the dressing on top of it and holy moly. Best. Salad. Ever. I’ve served it multiple times with my Thai Red Curry Chicken, twice for guests, and it is a huge hit.

Quinoa and Vegetable Salad

Quinoa and Vegetable Salad
(serves 1, but can easily be scaled up as needed)

Ingredients

1/4 cup dry quinoa
1 clove garlic, grated
2 tablespoons lime juice
1 teaspoon Kosher salt

1 bell pepper, finely diced (or 1 large slice each of red, yellow, green)
1/4 cup minced red onion
1 carrot, peeled and julienned
1/2 lb broccoli florets, cut small
1 Thai birds eye chile, seeded and minced
5 or 6 mint leaves, minced

(optional: sriracha for serving)

Method

Put quinoa and 1/2 cup water in a small pot. Bring to a boil, then reduce to a low simmer for 10 minutes, until water is absorbed and quinoa is fluffy. Remove from heat and add grated garlic, lime juice and salt. Set aside.

Add the bell pepper, onion, carrot, broccoli, chile and mint to a large serving bowl. Add the quinoa mixture and toss to combine.

Serve immediately with sriracha on top, if desired.

NOTES

Very simple recipe, but one that was so unexpectedly delicious, I wanted to save it here to make sure I could replicate it exactly in the future.

When I make quinoa salad, it’s almost always a variation of this one with tomatoes and corn and scallions and cumin and sometimes I add black beans… but tonight’s was a total departure from that, more Thai salad influenced, and it was reeeeally really good. Like, I could eat this every week for multiple lunches good. Which I will.

Toasted Quinoa Salad

Toasted Quinoa Salad
courtesy of Ezra Pound Cake

Ingredients

For the salad:
1 1/2 cups quinoa
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
1 cup fresh corn kernels (from 2 ears)
1 cup diced (1/2 inch) cherry tomatoes
1/2 cup thin-sliced (1/4 inch) scallions (white and green parts)

For the dressing:
2 teaspoons ground cumin
4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1/2 cup fresh lime juice, plus more to taste
1 tablespoon finely chopped seeded jalapeno pepper, plus more to taste
1 garlic clove, grated
1 teaspoon coarse salt

For the garnish:
1 ripe avocado, halved, pitted, peeled and diced (1/2 inch)
1/2 cup finely chopped fresh cilantro

Method

Rinse the quinoa in a fine-mesh strainer under cold water for at least 45 seconds. Shake the strainer to remove as much water as possible.

Heat the oil in a large skillet. Add the rinsed quinoa and cook, stirring, over medium heat until it is light golden brown, about 10 minutes. Add 2 cups water to the quinoa, and bring to a boil. Cook, covered, over medium-low heat until the water is absorbed and the quinoa is translucent, 18 to 20 minutes.

Let stand, uncovered, until cool, about 10 minutes.

Meanwhile, make the dressing: sprinkle the cumin in a small skillet and toast over medium heat, stirring, about 3 minutes. Remove from heat. When the skillet is cool to the touch, add the oil, lime juice, jalapeno, garlic and salt. Transfer to a large bowl, and whisk to blend.

Add the cooled quinoa, corn, tomatoes and scallions to the dressing, and toss to blend.

Spoon the salad onto a large platter, and garnish with the avocado and cilantro.

NOTES

Holy crap, people. Hoe. Lee. Crap.

This is the best salad I have ever had in my life. I knew when I spotted the recipe that it would be good, but this… this blew me away.

The nutty flavor of the quinoa blends with the sweetness of the corn, the acidity of the tomatoes and the creaminess of the avocado and then, THEN, you get hit with the jalapeno lime toasted cumin dressing. My god, the dressing. The smell of it in the bowl when you whisk it together is intoxicating, and I don’t use that word lightly.

A “must make” before summer is over. Must.