Happy New Year!
If you are lucky enough to live close to a California Pizza Kitchen and lucky enough to have already tried their Thai Crunch Salad, you will be thrilled with my post today. If not, how does this sound? Napa cabbage is tossed with romaine lettuce, julienne carrots, sliced green onions, avocados, shelled edamame and roasted peanuts in a spicy cilantro lime dressing and then DRIZZLED with thai peanut sauce. Crazy good. Crazy good.
I have to credit my beautiful daughter for her suggestion during our umpteenth visit to CPK, one where I pretended to peruse the menu, knowing all along I would order my favorite salad.
“Hey Mom, I think we could make it at home.”
A couple of google searches later and wowza! We had an inspired recipe. (We tweaked it a bit when we made it at home.)
I love the napa cabbage in this recipe. Napa cabbage originated in Beijing, China and is used extensively in Asian cuisine. It’s less crunchy and milder than regular cabbage. Right after we got married, my husband’s family introduced me to their tradition of eating cabbage every year on New Year’s Day. In the German culture, eating cabbage on New Year’s Day results in good luck, happiness and health in the upcoming year. Since I am Irish, this was new to me – we eat our cabbage on St. Patrick’s Day.
We’ve tried lots of fun cabbage dishes on New Year’s Day over the years, but sometimes we end up just dunking a piece of cabbage in peanut butter and stuffing it in our mouth in order to meet the German cabbage eating requirements. (There seems to be a direct inverse relationship between the number of drinks downed the night before during New Year’s Eve celebrations and the elaborateness involved in cooking the next day’s cabbage dish.)
We snuggled in at home on New Year’s Eve this year, so I had lots of energy to cook on New Year’s Day. We enjoyed this wonderful Thai Crunch Salad (with cabbage) and are looking forward to a healthy and happy coming year!
Don’t be daunted by the long list of ingredients for this recipe. They are readily available at the neighborhood supermarket and also give you a good start toward building a well stocked pantry for Asian cooking. The dressing and the drizzle are both a snap to make, just assemble the ingredients for each into the food processor and give it a quick whirl.
2-3 cups napa cabbage, sliced into 1/4 inch strips
2-3 cups romaine lettuce, sliced into 1/4 inch strips
1-2 cups julienne carrots (I buy the prepared bag of julienne carrots in produce section)
1 bunch green onions, thinly sliced
2 cups cooked, shelled edamame beans (soybeans - I use frozen)
2 cups roasted peanuts
2 ripe avocados, pitted and diced
handful of fried wonton strips or chow mein noodles
1 small bunch of fresh cilantro
4 TBSP honey
4 TBSP white vinegar
4 TBSP lime juice
1 TBSP dijon mustard
1 tsp asian sesame oil
1 tsp fresh minced ginger
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp ground pepper
3/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/4 cup crunchy peanut butter
2 TBSP rice vinegar
2 TBSP honey
1 TBSP soy sauce
1 tsp salt
1/2 to 1 tsp red cayenne pepper, depending on how much heat you want
2 TBSP olive oil
drop of water (optional) to thin out drizzle if too thick
Place salad ingredients in a large bowl and toss. Pour Lime Cilantro Dressing (below) over salad and toss to mix. Drizzle the Thai Peanut Drizzle (below) over the top of the dressed salad. Sprinkle with fried wonton strips or chow mein noodles. Serve immediately. If you are assembling salad ingredients early, wait until right before you serve to add the avocado, peanuts, dressing and drizzle.
Assemble all the lime cilantro dressing ingredients except for the olive oil in the bowl of the food processor. Pulse a 3-4 times to chop. With the food processor on, slowly stream the olive oil into the dressing to create an emulsion. Pour into storage container. Can be prepared ahead and refrigerated for a couple days.
Assemble all the drizzle ingredients in the bowl of the food processor. Pulse a 4-5 times to chop and combine. Add a little drop of water and pulse again if too thick. Pour into storage container. Can be prepared ahead and refrigerated for a couple days.