Ok, so this salad was a little bit the result of one thing: I don't really do Thai or Asian flavours all that well, and when I do it's somewhat rare. It's not that I don't love them, (I do!), but I am not very tolerant of garlic or super spicy foods, and in the case of this recipe, I have zero experience with fish sauce or what to substitute for it. Regardless, I was totally drawn to this beautiful recipe as I love fresh herbs in all forms, and I especially love the three included here together. I found this recipe in a book I have by Donna Hay, whose photos I could stare at all day and whose style I just admire so much. As much as I've perused her books, this is the first time I attempted one of her recipes. It was just so lovely and simple - definitely my kind of food. But the catch here? The recipe I was attempting was a Thai Beef Salad. With fish sauce and beef to substitute. Two kind of important ingredients in this classic I would say?
So what did I do? I gathered the fresh greens and vegetables. And then I baked tofu to replace the beef (this tofu recipe is so so good and one of our regulars). And then I attempted the dressing with what I had in the house plus a few juicy fresh limes, and I can tell you that while the result was so lively and so delicious, it was pretty far from a Thai-anything, and more just a really good salad. One I actually can't wait to make again! So here it is, a really, really good salad with really, really good ingredients - all dressed up with a zingy, limey vinaigrette that will definitely brighten your spirits on these last weeks of deep winter.
Want something closer to the real deal? Just substitute the balsamic vinaigrette for fish sauce. Have a wonderful weekend friends :)
A few things I'm loving this week:
This hummus, I can't stop making it! Seriously it is perfected here. Laura's cookbook! I am SO very excited for this book to come out, as I love Laura's pictures and recipes so much. It is looking so beautiful! What a wonderful accomplishment.
This podcast about impulses by The Minimalists. I find myself listening to these while driving and this one was particularly enjoyable. This flatware. Yes, I just ordered some. It was on my list. I'm attempting sourdough again. It seems to be going well thanks to these instructions from Maurizio (one of my favourite Instagrammers). Stay tuned!
Fresh Herb & Green Salad with Baked Sriracha Tofu:
- 1 handful fresh green beans trimmed, and blanched or lightly steamed
- 1/2 large green leaf lettuce, washed and torn
- 3-4 few handfuls of mesclun greens
- 1/2 large red onion, sliced thinly
- 1 medium red bell pepper, cut in thin trips lengthwise
- 1 loose cup mint leaves (or 1 bunch), whole
- 1 loose cup basil leaves (or 1 bunch), whole
- 1 loose cup cilantro leaves (or 1 bunch), whole
- 1-2 mild red chiles, sliced crosswise for garnish as desired
- 6 tbsp olive oil
- 6 tbsp fresh lime juice
- 6 tbsp sugar (I used organic cane sugar)
- 4 tbsp soy sauce
- 2 tbsp balsamic reduction (or fish sauce if you go for a more Thai feel)
Baked Sriracha Tofu:
- 1 pound firm tofu, cubed
- 2 tbsp toasted sesame oil
- 1-2 tbsp sriracha
- 2 tbsp soy sauce
- 1 tbsp rice vinegar (or Mirin works well too)
First, heat the oven to 400 degrees. Add the cubed tofu to a mixing bowl, and add the sesame oil, sriracha, soy sauce, and vinegar or Mirin. Toss gently to coat evenly with your hands. Lay flat on a lightly oiled baking tray and add to the 400-degree oven. Bake for 25-30 minutes, tossing gently every 10 minutes or so to ensure cooking on all sides. This will also keep the marinade from burning in the pan (and instead of ending up cooked onto the tofu where you want it).
Before starting anything else, slice the onion and add to a small bowl and cover with cold water and a pinch of salt. Leave it to soak while you prepare everything else, this will take the sometimes unpleasant raw onion bite out of it. Blanche or steam the green beans to al dente (about 4 minutes is all you need) and set aside to cool. Prepare the vegetables and add all to a large bowl. Combine the dressing ingredients in a jar with a matching lid and shake until the sugar is dissolved (you may adjust to taste). Drain the red onions last and add to the bowl with the greens and veggies.
If serving all of it at one sitting, toss the greens, veggies, and green beans with the dressing as desired and add the tofu to the individual bowls as you serve it. Top with sliced red chiles and micro greens as seen here (both of these are totally optional). Or, if enjoying over the course of a few days, keep the dressing separate and dress as you go.