Am I the only one who ate and drank too much this Christmas? Probably not. And the cooler weather has not helped, but the thought of a week at the beach and how much I want to look good in my new Contessa Vopli swimsuit, has me moving away from the heavier festive options and on to something lighter. This salad is like summer in a bowl. Full of crunchy fresh salad vegetables, a good dose of herbs and a tangy sweet/salty/spicy dressing, it has so much flavour! I make this salad often and in several variations depending on what is in the refrigerator. Last night it accompanied our Chicken Satay dinner, and on boxing day I took it to a family celebration with the Thai Chicken Meatballs. The Thai flavours are so fresh in this dressing, and the salad is a lunch in itself. (I just had a large leftover bowl for lunch -yum!) The veggies can be chopped ahead of time and kept in an airtight container in the fridge, same with the dressing – and then it all comes together at the last minute!
Chop a baby cos or half a cos lettuce into smallish pieces and place in a bowl with mint and coriander. (Basil is also a good flavour combination here, but I didn’t have any and wanted to avoid a trip to the shops – you can see how this can change every time you make it!)
Add a small carrot cut into julienne strips:
Add in cucumber and sugar snap peas that have been sliced on a diagonal :
Add some halved cherry tomatoes:
Now in an ideal world of fully stocked fridges, I would have added some bean sprouts and green onions also cut on the diagonal. You can also use snow peas instead of sugar snap peas, or even blanched green beans cut into similar lengths to the carrot. See how easy it is to change around? I have also made with Savoy cabbage instead of lettuce. Too easy!
Now for the dressing. In a small bowl combine caster sugar and warm water and stir until sugar has dissolved. Add fish sauce, the zest and juice of a lime (thanks Rosemary, those limes you gifted me before Christmas have been well used and appreciated! New Years Resolution #2 – plant a lime tree) rice wine vinegar, sesame oil ,vegetable oil and half a long red chilli.
I just cut the chilli and left to infuse in the dressing to release flavour and some heat, as I have Mr L to consider. If you like heat, chop it up and add in. If even the infusion is too much, try a little sweet chilli instead – the heat really does add to the flavour, so try not to remove all together. the flavours of the dressing intensify over time with the infusion, mmmm.
Chop about half a cup of roasted and salted peanuts roughly to top, and you are ready to relax until dinner needs to be served.
Let me know if you come up with different combinations- enjoy!
- 1 baby cos lettuce or half a cos lettuce, chopped
- ¼ cup mint
- ¼ cup coriander
- ¼ cup basil
- 1 carrot, cut into julienne strips
- 1 Lebanese cucumber, deseeded and cut into similar sized strips as carrot
- Handful of sugar snap peas or snow peas, sliced on the diagonal, about 70g
- 1 punnet of cherry tomatoes, halved
- 2 green onions, cut on the diagonal
- handful of bean sprouts
- ½ cup roasted and salted peanuts, roughly chopped
- 2 tbs caster sugar
- 1 tbs warm water
- ½ long red chilli, either chopped finely or split to infuse (see note)
- 2 tbs fish sauce
- zest and juice of a lime
- ½ tsp sesame oil
- 1 tbs rice wine vinegar
- 1 tbs vegetable oil
- Place lettuce, herbs and julienned vegetables into a bowl. Cover and refrigerate until ready to use.
- In a small bowl, mix together the sugar and warm water and stir until dissolved. Add the fish sauce, lime juice and zest. oils and rice wine vinegar along with the chilli. Mix to combine.
- When ready to serve, top salad with chopped peanuts, and add dressing
Vegetables can be left out if not available or not to your taste
Rice wine vinegar can be substituted with other white vinegar