This salad. I could just cry.
Today is The Day of New Things for me, and an overwhelmingly yummy Chopped Thai Salad with Sesame Garlic Dressing is only appropriate to match the occasion. Remember when we talked about how I was going to leave my teaching job so that I could cook, photograph, and blog about food full time? Today is that first day. *happy screams*
In addition to today being the first day that I can wake up early for self-initiated work and enjoy a lunch date with a friend plus incorporate at least four built-in mango pineapple smoothie breaks into my day, today is also the first day that I’m using a computer with a retina display for my blogeristic work. Umm hello extreme lifelike chopped Thai salad two inches from my face. This is mostly awesome and also a little confusing, because now my mouth is craving some sesame garlic covered power veggies and spicy Thai lime and chili cashews before I’ve even finished my morning coffee. So what meal should I be on again?
By the way. You’ve had these Trader Joe’s Thai Lime and Chili Cashews, right?
I found the half-eaten bag in that little side door compartment in my car after our road trip to Chicago and Indy last weekend (First Place for best road trip snack), and being a lover of spicy cashews and a hater of excess trash, I resurrected what was left of them into this chopped Thai salad. That might be a little gross orrr it might be ultra resourceful and s-m-a-r-t.
Reason #3 for The Day of New Things is that I’m learning how to chop loads of power rainbow veggies (❤) and type words on a keyboard and generally function with an epically puffy and awkward semi-permanent pointer finger bandage. That’s right friends, I am down to just nine functioning fingers after a small but actually MAJOR and dramatic lemon cutting incident that occurred just 30 minutes before the start of our outdoor summer party this weekend. Awe-some. Obviously I kept my cool and downplayed the whole thing and it wasn’t stressful for anyone at all. Promise.
As I was making this salad, I pulled out the big knife, the one responsible for massacring one millimeter of my finger, and I hesitated. For just a half of a tiny second. I mean, CHOPPED Thai salad. The sharp knifery is very necessary, and if we’re being honest here, should I really be making a recipe that requires lots and lots and lots of chopping within 24 hours of the a big fat finger bandage incident?
When Chopped Thai Salad with Sesame Garlic dressing calls your name, you set all else aside and you follow, fat finger bandage and all.
I think it’s actually good for healing or something.
When you start making this salad you will notice that the cutting takes, um, a while. You will be annoyed with me and I will be okay with that. Perks of hiding behind a screen.
But in the end, I pinkie promise that you will be rewarded for your time spent chopping and slicing and shredding and peeling in the best possible food way. The flavors in the salad are like a little friendly fresh-summer-explosion in your mouth. Just phenomally delicious. It gives me happy food chills just thinking about it. And I have this core salad belief that texture is ev-er-y-thing. Even the most awkward and intimidating vegetables can become craveabley yummy when sliced or crushed or grated the right way.
You + knife + veggies. I see good things acomin.
I have lots of favorite salads, which maybe dilutes the label of “favorite”, but this is an easy addition to my personal Favorite Salad Hall of Fame.
A quick recap of things I love about the Chopped Thai Salad:
- no chicken or meat (sometimes I just get annoyed of cooking it, ya know? I think I’m one of those half-way vegetarians)
- lots of veggies (kale carrots peppers cilantro edmame scallions cashews yummm)
- lots of nutrition and filling food power (see veggie list and feel amazing)
- the most zingy Thai sesame garlic dressing (soy honey lime garlic sesame oil lemongrass)
THAI SALAD I LUV YOU.
- ⅓ cup canola oil
- 3 cloves garlic, peeled
- 3 tablespoons low sodium soy sauce
- 2 tablespoons water
- 2 tablespoons white distilled vinegar
- 2 tablespoons honey
- 1 tablespoon sesame oil
- 1 tablespoon lemongrass paste (ginger would also work)
- a squeeze of lime juice
- 16 ounces frozen shelled edamame
- 5-6 cups baby kale
- 3 large carrots
- 2 bell peppers (1 red, 1 yellow)
- 1 cup cilantro leaves
- 3 green onions
- ¾ cup cashews (if you can find them, Trader Joe's Thai Lime and Chili Cashews are the bomb)
- Puree all the dressing ingredients in a food processor until smooth. Taste and adjust to fit your preferences. Transfer to a dressing jar and rinse the food processor out for use later.
- Cook the edamame by boiling it for 3-5 minutes in a pot of boiling water. Drain and allow it to cool. Meanwhile, slice up the kale, carrots, peppers, cilantro leaves, and green onions into thin strips or shreds.
- Place the cooked edamame in the food processor and pulse 5 times to get a minced texture. Transfer to a bowl and repeat the same process for the cashews. Toss the kale, carrots, peppers, cilantro, green onions, edamame, and cashews together until well combined. Drizzle with the dressing, toss gently a few times, and serve immediately.
Agave nectar or sugar would work in place of the honey for vegans.
Those 3 cloves of garlic pack a spicy garlicky punch, so if you don't love garlic, use less.