Sometimes you just want a pile of something spicy-creamy-comforting... like Pad Thai. But the original dish includes rice noodles (fail), soy sauce (fail), peanuts (fail),...Read More
Thai Yummy Salad
When I was a kid, we ate dinner together every night at 5:00 p.m., and we decided at breakfast what was on the menu for dinner. My family loves to cook and eat — and now, I spend even more time cooking (and cleaning!) in the kitchen than I ever imagined. Dave and I don’t eat in restaurants very often, but about every other week or so, he insists on treating me to a dinner I don’t have to cook. I usually pick Thai Orchid in Hanover because I cannot get enough of their Yummy Salad. That’s not my opinion; that’s the actual name of the salad: Yummy Salad. Who could resist that?!
This recipe is my attempt to make a less-sugary, peanut-free, more veggie-loaded version of that irresistible dish.
The magic in this salad, like all Thai cuisine, is its balance of of the five major tastes: sweet, sour, salty, bitter, and hot. Nothing makes sweet taste sweeter than enjoying it against a salty-sour background.
This recipe uses multiple vitamin-packed veggies, and it hits the five essential flavors. There’s Napa cabbage and spinach (bitter); carrot, cucumber, red bell pepper, pineapple (sweet); scallions and chives (hot); citrus juice (sour); and fish sauce (mmmm… salty). You can swap vegetables in and out of this salad without taking a wrong turn as long as you keep at least one sweet and one bitter. If you don’t have fish sauce handy, you can replace it 2 tablespoons coconut aminos (or this homemade substitute) mashed with 1-2 anchovies.
Thai Yummy Salad
Serves 2-4 | Prep 10 minutes | Inspired by Thai Orchid in Hanover, NH | Whole30 compliant
juice of one orange (about 1/4 cup)
juice of 1 lime (about 2 tablespoons)
2 tablespoons fish sauce
1 tablespoon light-tasting olive oil or avocado oil
1 tablespoon coconut sugar or honey (omit for Whole30)
1/2 clove garlic, crushed
1/2 head Napa cabbage, sliced very thinly
3 scallions, cut into matchsticks
a handful of baby spinach
1/2 medium red bell pepper, cut into matchsticks
1 medium carrot, grated
1/2 cucumber, sliced into thin half-moons
2 stalks celery, sliced thin crosswise
1/2 cup canned pineapple (packed in its own juice)
a handful of fresh chives, minced
a few chopped basil leaves
a few mint leaves
2 tablespoons chopped cashews
Make the dressing. Mix all the ingredients in a small bowl or jar and allow the flavors to meld 1 hour.
Toss the salad. Place all the ingredients except the cashews in a large mixing bowl and toss to combine. Drizzle with the dressing and toss for 1-2 minutes. (If you sing a verse of the Star-Spangled Banner, that should be just the right amount of time.) Sprinkle with the cashews and serve.
Eat immediately. This salad has bold, bright flavors, but the citrus juice also conquers the vegetables rather quickly. Put dressing only on the amount of veggies you think you can eat in one sitting; both the dressing and the salad hold up well in the refrigerator when stored separately. (This is great for potlucks, too; just transport the veggies and dressing separately and toss just before serving.)
You Know How You Could Do That?
It’s really easy to turn this salad into a kickass, protein-powered meal! Dave piled slices of leftover pork chop on top of his veggies; I ate mine with shrimp. (best/easiest way to poach shrimp.) This would also be scrumptious with strips of grilled steak, chicken, or other seafood/fish.
Bonus Tasty Tip: Toss your protein with a little of the dressing before piling on top of the salad.