I love salads. Let’s be honest. My salad recipes are some of the strongest out there. Colorful. Flavorful. Interesting. Filled with fresh ingredients. Different. Inspiring. What’s also great, is that my style of cooking is very flexible. You don’t have an ingredient? Swap it out. Don’t feel like making lentils? Leave it out. Don’t have time to chop red leaf lettuce? Use ready to go baby spinach. Life is crazy. Make it work.
But it’s not just the recipe that makes a good salad. There are techniques and tricks to learn that can step up your salad game in an instant.
You can’t dress wet lettuce. It’s like trying to apply sunblock to a wet child. Get my point? Not going to work. You must invest in a salad spinner. My choice? This one by OXO is the one I like best. If you are too cheap (I hear ya) then lay your lettuce out on towels and let them air dry for a while. But that takes some time- so plan ahead.
No bottled dressings from the supermarket. If you are lucky enough to have found one that your grocer makes fresh AND you can pronounce all the ingredients? Then mazal tov! You have hit the mother-load. Otherwise, I don’t want to hear it. A very lovely French lady once taught me, all you need to make dressing is a splash of red wine vinegar, good extra virgin olive oil, salt and pepper. And she was right.
Toss well. Invest in a box of rubber or vinyl gloves and start dressing your salads with gloved hands. This allows for very thorough, even distribution of the dressing.
Take these tips and apply them to this fresh and colorful cabbage salad. This salad is layered with nappa and purple cabbage, snow peas and radish, sunflower seeds and black sesame seeds. If you can’t find nappa cabbage use any cabbage light in color, or even romaine lettuce chopped small. If you don’t have black sesame seeds use white. If don’t have snow peas then leave them out. Do what works.
But this is a great salad to keep on hand. Once it is chopped it can stay fresh for 4 days! How about that??
1 very large handful snow peas, peeled and chopped small
4 large radishes, halved and sliced into thin rounds
1/3 cup sunflower seeds
2 tablespoons black sesame seeds (or regular ones if you can’t find)
Ingredients for dressing:
2 cubes of frozen ginger (or 1 tablespoon chopped fresh)
¼ cup sesame paste
¼ cup rice vinegar
2 tablespoons honey
3 tablespoons sesame oil
3 tablespoons avocado oil or any neutral oil (canola, safflower etc.)
In a large salad bowl place your purple cabbage, nappa cabbage, chopped snow peas, sliced radishes, sunflower seeds and sesame seeds and set aside.
In a medium mixing bowl place your ginger, sesame paste, vinegar and honey. Whisk together until the sesame thickens. Try to use a small whisk if you have one- it works better than a fork for the sake of the sesame paste. Slowly whisk in your sesame and avocado oils until your dressing is well combined.
When you are ready to serve, mix all of the dressing with the salad and toss thoroughly using GLOVED HANDS. This salad really benefits from a thorough mixing with gloved hands. Go slow and be patient. The dressing is thick and it takes a few moments to mix through.
This salad can be cut up to 4 days before serving. You can put it directly into your serving bowl lined with paper towel or alternatively, you can store the components separately in zippered bags lined with paper towel. The paper towels help absorb any excess moisture.