This…this makes my heart sing. The color, the different textures, even the fun shapes! I eat salad every day, but there is something particularly exciting about summer salads. Cool, refreshing, wholesome, and extra tasty with all the super fresh produce, I’ll munch my way through salads all summer long.
For the past month or so, I’ve been making a variation on the Laarb gai salad over at Low Amine Recipes. Bright and fresh, I love the balance of tangy lime and mellow mint. If you need something more substantial (here’s lookin’ at you, Mar), you can add ground chicken, sliced pork, or whatever protein floats your boat. This salad is a great vehicle for overcooked meat – I’ve been known to overdue a few things on the grill – as it absorbs the dressing and flavors to create a satisfying complement to the vegetables.
When I made this salad again to shoot some photos and, more importantly, eat dinner…I forgot the meat completely! However, with all the delicious variations of vegetables going on, I wasn’t missing anything. Part slaw, part salad base, and all good, you can mix and match your veggies for a delightful side dish, or truer to it’s inspiration, make it a main meal with some turkey, chicken, beef, pork, or maybe even seafood. This salad is your…oyster?
At any rate – summer is here! Seize the moment – get some fresh veg, beg, borrow or steal a mandolin, get healthy, and get happy! You’ve got some sunshine in a bowl.
Laarb-inspired Summer Salad
Don’t worry about exact measurements for the shredded or grated veggies. If you somehow wind up with a giant bowlful, you can just make and add more dressing to taste. More salad is never a bad thing, right?!
1/4 head of red or green cabbage, shredded
1 Japanese cucumber, sliced thinly on a mandolin
1 medium carrot, grated
1/2 of a red onion, sliced thinly on a mandolin (I also like to use my Quick Pickled Onions – just reduce the vinegar in the dressing to compensate)
1/2 medium yellow or green zucchini, sliced thinly on a mandolin
4 or 5 small radishes, thinly sliced on a mandolin
1/2 yellow, red, or orange bell pepper, optional
3/4 c konbu seaweed, optional (If you’re not in Japan, you can also use these kelp noodles that Elana’s Pantry recommends.)
1/4 c of chopped mint
1/4 of chopped coriander
leftover cooked meat, such as ground chicken, turkey or pork, sliced pork or beef, etc. How much meat you’d like to eat is up to you, but you don’t really need more than a cup. A flavor boost is all I really need, but if you have a lot of leftover, dry meat, then just double the recipe and go for it!
Juice of one lime
1 T apple cider vinegar
2 T olive or sunflower oil. (I really want to try this with coconut oil, but I’m not sure how to get over the fact that it will solidify in the fridge.)
1 T fresh minced garlic
1 t fresh minced ginger
Make sure to wash and scrub all your veggies before shredding. slicing, or grating. A mandolin is really a great tool here. They are very reasonably priced and don’t take up too much drawer space, so this is one gadget I recommend. If you’re lucky enough to own a good food processor, I’ve heard those work wonders too.
Combine the vegetables and chopped herbs in a large mixing bowl. Stir them around a bit to start to mix them up.
Whisk all the dressing ingredients together and then pour over the salad base. Toss to combine. If you are using meat, crumble it up a bit or slice it thinly and then add it to the salad and toss to coat. Serve over a bed of lettuce, as a side slaw, put it on top of a burger – dream big. Salad can take you places this summer.
Bonus: You can use any leftover mint to make infused water!
Need more salad in your life?
Part of Diet, Dessert & Dogs’ Wellness Weekend June 28 – July 2nd
Submitted to June 2012’s Go Ahead Honey, It’s Gluten Free: hosted by Against All Grain. The theme is seasonal salads!