Thai Veggie Salad
1 tsp. sesame oil
1/4 cup light vegetable oil (such as canola oil)
1/4 cup seasoned rice wine vinegar
2 Tbsp. lemon juice (or lime juice)
1 Tbsp. soy sauce
1 Tbsp. dark brown sugar
3 Tbsp. smooth peanut butter (adjust according to thickness and peanutyness-yes, peanutyness)
1 1/2 tsp. ground ginger (original recipe calls for 1 inch fresh ginger, which I didn't have on hand, but sounds fab)
1 large garlic clove, peeled and chopped rough
1 Tbsp. Asian chili paste (adjust on how spicy you like it-I like my Thai a bit spicy)
1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro leaves, divided into thirds
3 cups cooked chicken, cut into 1-inch cubes (optional)
1/2 cup green onion, chopped (green & white parts)
1/2 cup shredded carrots
1 red bell pepper, seeded and ribs removed and chopped into small dice
1 1/2 cups bean sprouts
1 1/2 chopped peanuts
3/4 savoy cabbage, chopped
1 large head romaine lettuce (optional, if making wraps)
corn tortillas (optional, if making wraps)
Note: Original recipe calls for chicken, but if you omit chicken, you will want to double the vegetables in order for it to still serve six people.
Put the first 11 ingredients in a blender or food processor. Blend of pulse until smooth. Add 1/3 of the of the chopped cilantro and pulse only slightly to evenly distribute the cilantro in the dressing. Transfer the dressing to a small mixing bowl and set aside. The dressing can be made up to two days in advance. (Cover & refrigerate the dressing if making ahead.)
Honestly, this is the best Thai peanut sauce I have ever tasted. Ok, continue.
Put chicken (if using), onion, carrots, bean sprouts, red pepper, 3/4 cup peanuts, & another 1/3 of the cilantro in a large mixing bowl. Add 1/2 (more or less, depending on your taste) of the dressing and toss gently to coat evenly. Pour the remainder of the dressing in a small bowl or a wee pitcher.
Rinse the lettuce (if using). Remove and discard any brown or tough outer leaves. Remove 12-14 whole leaves (large leaves can be torn in half). Rinse each leaf again and pat gently with a paper towel to dry each leaf. To serve, mound 2-3 heaping tablespoons of the salad mixture onto a lettuce cup (or a tortilla, if using). Top with your chopped peanuts, cilantro, and more dressing if you so desire. Fold the cup over "taco" style, and enjoy. Trust me, you will.
Source: adapted from Better Recipes
This is perfect if you are vegan, or gluten intolerant, or are just a regular Joe (or Josephine) who loves great food.
Music Accompaniment: "Something Good This Way Comes", Jakob Dylan, Friday Night Lights Volume 2
(Kiss My Spatula always has great music while she cooks as well, & since she is so brilliant, I decided to share my taste in music with you fine people. Enjoy.)