It was one of my best friends’ birthday last weekend and she made a wonderful asian- flavored salad with lots of herbs. It was such simple but perfect food on a summer day and it was gone in no time, along with lots of champagne. This is a vegan version, trying to recreate those typical flavors without meat and without fish sauce. I experimented a bit with the dressing and settled on light soy sauce plus a little miso as a fish sauce ‘replacement’, basically something salty and slightly tangy. If you want a bit more substance, serve the salad with rice or rice noodles. Actually, the noodles could also be mixed into the salad itself. And of course you could add chopped peanuts to give it some crunch.
Fresh summer salad with thai flavors
- Five carrots, peeled
- Two organic cucumbers, washed but unpeeled
- Two handfuls of leafy greens, mizuna, baby spinach, kale,...
- Two handfuls of cherry or plum tomatoes
- One wedge of red cabbage
- One small red onion
- One fresh red or green chili
- A handful of mint leaves
- A handful of cilantro leaves
- Juice of five limes or lemons
- About five tablespoons of light soy sauce
- One teaspoon of white miso paste
- One teaspon of brown sugar
- Freshly ground black pepper
- Sesame seeds
- Chop the carrots and cucumbers into small sticks. Quarter the tomatoes, shred the cabbage and cut the onion in half and then into thin slices. Finely dice the chili, or some of it, depending how strong it is. Chop or tear the mint and cilantro leaves into small bits.
- For the dressing, mix the lime juice with the soy sauce, the sugar and the miso paste. Stir well so the sugar and the miso paste dissolve completely. Add a teaspoon of water if it's too strong, or more soy sauce if it's not salt enough. Add the sliced onion and let it marinate in the dressing for a few minutes.
- Mix the greens with the herbs and all the veggies and the chili on a serving platter or in a bowl.
- Add the dressing with the onions, mix everything well and sprinkle some sesame seeds as well as freshly ground black pepper on the salad.