Happy Tuesday y’all! It feels like summer is seriously whizzing by these last few days. I just can’t believe it’s almost time to move back to Dallas! My goodness! I’m so excited, but can’t help feeling like I don’t want to leave home! Sometimes you forget how good it is to be home until you plop yourself on the couch for a movie night with the fam.
And they have been so patiently supportive of all my blogging endeavors recently! I’m sure I am driving my mother crazy with the mess I make in the kitchen as I experiment with new recipes each week, but she never complains. And this week, I know she had her doubts when I told her I was making an Asian-inspired meal for dinner.
As she knows, when it comes to Asian food, I am much better at consuming it than cooking it (oops!). My poor family has had to try a few too many failed attempts to properly use fish sauce in a recipe. In particular, I would like to sincerely apologize to them for the first – and last – time I made pad Thai. Since then, fish sauce and I have been taking some time apart.
But, this week, I stepped back into the Asian cuisine scene (some unintentional rhyming lol). Having gone through three family size bags of lettuce in 10 days, I figured it was time to expand my horizons. That being said, I have yet to make eye contact with the stove, who I’ve been shamefully avoiding over the last 21 consecutive days of triple digit heat. So, rather than pull out my pots and pans, I plopped myself in my sun-scorched car, and set out for Whole Foods in search of some inspiration. Ten minutes later, I cleaned out their produce aisle, and yes, was that person who touches all the avocados just to make sure I get the ripe one. But, I somehow returned home with all the ingredients needed to do a spin on a Thai salad. So, here we are.
This recipe is like the “liger” of the food scene, but instead of being part lion, part tiger, it’s more like part pad Thai, part Thai crunch salad. It’s got the noodle factor – minus the noodles – the crunch factor, and a kick-butt Thai peanut dressing to boot.
And, not to get on another CPK rant, but can I just say that I think I nailed their Thai peanut dressing from their Thai crunch salad?! Every time I have attempted to do this, I haven’t even come close, so it seems fitting that I could only recreate it accidentally. I think the key is Mother in Law’s Gochujang fermented chile sauce (quite the mouthful). If you haven’t heard of it, you’re not alone because neither had I until a week ago. In an aimless pursuit to find harissa, I stumbled upon this sweet and spicy gem. I could literally eat it with a spoon – it’s DELISH!
Calories per serving: 214 cal
- zucchini spirals (I love Cece’s Noodle Co.)
- 1 cucumber
- 1 bell pepper (or 4 mini)
- 1/2 head purple cabbage
- 1 scallion
- 1/4 cup cashew pieces
- 1/2 avocado
- sesame seeds (optional)
- cilantro to garnish (optional)
For the Thai Peanut Dressing:
- 1/3 cup creamy peanut butter
- 1/2 cup cilantro
- 1 1/2 tbsp rice wine vinegar
- 1 1/2 tsp Mother In Law’s Gochujang fermented chile sauce (or any other brand)
- juice of one lime
- 1 clove minced garlic
- 1 tsp minced ginger
- 2-3 tbsp water
- Start with the dressing and combine the peanut butter, rice wine vinegar, cilantro, chile sauce, lime juice, garlic, and ginger in a blender/food processor. As you blend the ingredients together, gradually add in 1 tbsp. of water at a time, adding as much as you feel you need. Depending on the consistency of the peanut butter, you can adjust the amount of water you add to thin the dressing. Store this in the fridge while you work on the rest of the salad.
- Onto a baking sheet lined with paper towels/cloth lay the zucchini noodles in an even layer on the baking sheet. Sprinkle lightly with salt, and lay another paper towel over the top of the zoodles for 10-15 min. This will allow any extra moisture to leave the zucchini (any extra moisture will affect the flavor once you add the dressing).
- In the meantime, prep the rest of the ingredients. Taking the red cabbage, slice the cabbage in half and remove the flimsier outer layers of the half you are using. Lay it flat on a cutting board, and putting one hand over the top of the half, cut horizontally through the middle of the cabbage. Next, holding the original shape of the cabbage in place, thinly slice from top to bottom all the way across the cabbage. This should give you thin shreds to incorporate with the zoodles. Set the cabbage aside.
- Thinly slice the bell pepper and cucumber next. If you have a mandolin, this comes in handy for slicing the cucumber (no worries if you don’t though!).
- Setting these aside, take one scallion and chop off the white base. Thinly slice the green segment of the scallion left behind.
- Measure and roughly chop 1/4 cup of cashews.
- With the avocado, slice in half and peel the skin off of one half. Cut 1/4 inch thick slices horizontally across the half.
- To assemble the salad, transfer the zoodles from the baking sheet to a large bowl. Add in the cabbage, bell pepper, and dressing. To toss the salad, it’s easiest to use tongs with the zoodles.
- Plate the tossed ingredients on a plate and garnish with the cashews, cucumber, scallions, and avocado.
- Optionally, you can also top the salad with a handful of cilantro and sesame seeds.
- Serve immediately!
This salad is a great plate to share family-style whether as an entree, or a light summer side! If you make it, and need someone to share it with, I’ve already got my fork in hand! But seriously, thank you for reading!! I cannot express how much it means to me when y’all take the time to visit my site. You are all so wonderful!