I have searched high and low for a crisp, crunchy and flavorful Asian salad recipe. I have dined on many Asian salads in restaurants throughout the years, and I like aspects of most, but I would not say that I love any. I have also made quiet a few, all with the same humdrum results. Yesterday I stumbled upon this recipe on the Food and Wine website (just flipping aimlessly through the recipes with pictures...yes...I am one of those people that will only make recipes with pictures!). I was intrigued by this Vietnamese version (pretty picture), I bought the few ingredients that I needed, I made the salad, and I have subsequently fallen in love with this light and bright creation!
Beautiful puppy Cort
I love her white stripe...it is almost like a painter painted this stripe!
We paired steak rather than chicken with this salad because we were really craving steak, but we didn't want an overly heavy dinner. I almost always associate steak with gluttonous over-indulgence (buttered potatoes, mac and cheese, bold red wine). However, with this salad, steak can be part of an everyday dinner that is tasty, comfortably filling and healthy!
I omitted a few ingredients (serrano chile, mint, cliantro, shallots and onion) either because we do not like the flavor, or my grocery store did not have these ingredients on that particular day, and I was not motivated enough to go have a scavenger hunt for the missing ingredients. I also added shredded apples, Chow Mein Noodles (for crunch), used almonds rather than peanuts and used steak rather than chicken. I think it is so fun and important to be able to make substitutions based upon personal preferences and individual situations. I think it makes you a more confident chef and gives you ownership of your kitchen creations! What recipe can you change up to make it your own?
Getting into trouble together! Caught digging!
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Ingredients for Salad Dressing:
2 tablespoons of sugar
2 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon of Asian fish sauce
1 1/2 tablespoons of fresh lime juice
1 1/2 tablespoons of distilled white vinegar
1 tablespoon of water
1 small garlic clove, minced
Ingredients for Salad:
4 cups of green cabbage, finely shredded
2 carrots, finely shredded
1 apple, finely shredded
1 tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil
3 tablespoons of sliced almonds
3 tablespoons of Chow Mein Noodles (crunchy noodles that you can find in the Asian section of your grocery store...even my tiny neighborhood grocery store had these!)
6 ounces of sliced beef tenderloin, cooked (you can use whatever type of beef you wish, or chicken)
Steps for the Dressing:
1. Gather all of your ingredients.
2. In a small bowl, combine the sugar, fish sauce, lime juice, vinegar, water and garlic.
3. Stir to combine and then set aside for at least five minutes.
Steps for the Salad:
1. Gather all of your ingredients. I shredded my cabbage and carrots myself, but you can easily by these items shredded to make your prep work a bit easier.
2. Combine the cabbage, carrots, apple, almonds, Chow Mein Noodles.
3. Toss to combine, adding the olive oil.
4. Add your sliced steak (or chicken).
I seared our beef tenderloin in a heavy pan on our range with a bit of olive oil and salt and pepper.
It turned out really perfectly!
5. Add the dressing and toss to combine.
6. Enjoy with a crisp and clean Chardonnay!