Light, fresh foods are my inspiration these days. Fresh is back in my kitchen as I crave the lighter fare with the changing season. Today I share with you this Chinese chop salad which is meant to be enjoyed in abundance! It will make quite a bit so you can either graze on it throughout the day or simply have some, saving the rest for later if not making for a group, or simply half the recipe. It’s meant to be versatile as well, using whatever ingredients you prefer or have on hand. I have used red and green cabbage along with romaine lettuce here. Feel free to use any combination if you don’t want to use all three. The vegetables are in abundance too, I didn’t add any carrots so that my be something you might like to add to yours. I have also included lightly grilled tofu on top of my salad but this is an option. The dressing will add a little extra protein to the salad. It’s another peanut dressing. What can I say?! I love the creaminess as well as the little extra protein and nutrition it gives…and this one is a little different from the others. I used quite a bit of vinegar in this one giving it a nice bright zestiness. If your not a fan of vinegar, like I once was, you’ll see a substitution for you in the notes. As Tim Gunn from Project Runway liked to say, ‘Make it work!’…that’s exactly how we’ll approach this salad with the various tastes we all have. Hope you’ll enjoy it as much as I did. Cheers to the changing seasons and new adventures in vegan fare!
Light, fresh and delicious!
CHINESE CHOP SALAD + PEANUT SESAME DRESSING
- 1 small head green, savoy or napa cabbage, sliced
- 1 head romaine lettuce, sliced
- 1/3 head red cabbage, sliced
- 1/2 red bell pepper, julienned
- 1/2 yellow bell pepper, julienned
- 2 Persian cucumbers or 1 small cucumber, halved and thinly sliced
- 2 stalks of celery, thinly sliced
- 1/2 cup chopped cilantro, loosely packed
- 2 tablespoons black sesame seeds, garnish
- small handful slivered almonds, garnish
- 8 oz. plain or grilled firm or extra firm tofu, cubed (optional)
Peanut Sesame Dressing
- 1/2 cup apple cider or rice wine vinegar
- 3 tablespoons natural peanut or almond butter
- 1 tablespoon pure maple syrup (2 if using raw almond butter)
- 2 teaspoons sesame or toasted sesame oil
- 1/2 inch knob ginger, grated or minced
- 1 teaspoon sriracha, optional
- pinch of pink salt or splash of tamari
In a small bowl, mix your dressing and set aside letting the flavors develop. Taste before serving adding anything you feel it needs.
Prepare your vegetables, place in a large bowl. Here you can either add the dressing and toss to coat then serve in individual dishes. OR, you can toss and serve adding a drizzle of dressing over top once plated. Top with tofu, sesame seeds and slivered almonds.
Use whatever ingredients you like here. There is plenty so if you don’t have access to a few of the items you can sub in something else or omit it all together. Make this a rainbow salad by adding in some julienned or grated carrots. You may like to add in some small broccoli florets, sliced scallions or zucchini too.
If you don’t care for vinegar, I would suggest replacing the 1/3 cup of vinegar with water or unsweetened almond milk and maybe a splash of vinegar for the extra zest it gives. This dressing is meant to be somewhat on the thin side. If you prefer it thicker add a bit more nut butter, to thin add a tad more of the liquids.
For the tofu, you can use uncooked or grilled. I lightly cooked mine using sesame seed oil and a cast iron griddle, about 6 minutes on each side. But it is perfectly fine with tofu from the package, just press if needed and cube it. If you’re looking to use cooked tofu here is tutorial from Olives for Dinner that you can reference: 15-Minute Quick and Easy Tofu.
Enjoy the lighter side!