|Asian cole slaw - spicy, rich and flavorful, it makes an iceberg wedge cry - Photo by Wasabi Prime|
I'm the guiltiest of the guilty when it comes to making Brown Food for the winter months -- meals lose their color and you're eating something that while tasting good, is a reminder that you're probably not getting your dose of vegetables. Look out, scurvy, here I come! A weird habit I took on over the summer is something I'm hoping to carry-over through the fall and winter months -- having salads for breakfast. Crazytalk! Madness! Or is it...? It's mostly on the weekdays, when I don't have time to cook something in the morning and I don't want a heavy meal to weigh my stomach down for the day. Salads are the optimal meal choice because they can be savory or sweet, and they're relatively quick to throw together, especially if you have all the base ingredients semi-prepped.
I heartily enjoyed the salad days of summer -- I did a whole post on tasty dishes to make on hot days, which ended up being mostly salads, but they were all unique and meant to appeal to different flavor cravings. Sweet and savory, with prosciutto-wrapped melon; something light with shaved raw zucchini; a heartier main course-styled salad inspired by the Italian bread salad, panzanella. And I kept my plate colorful with whatever showed up in our CSA box -- I did a lot of sliced beet salads with citrus, goat cheese and toasted pecans or walnuts. They worked as first courses, but were just as filling when eaten as a meal. It didn't feel like a meal substitute at all.
|Salads of all sorts, from summer through fall - Photos by Wasabi Prime|
|Simple parts of a tasty cole slaw - Photos by Wasabi Prime|
I like using a mix of heartier vegetables that won't wilt as quickly as plain cabbage -- the purple cabbage is both colorful and sturdy, shreds of carrots and bean sprouts stay fairly crispy, and bell peppers also hold up nicely. You can use shreds of any vegetable you like. The biggest trick is avoid dressing the cole slaw until you're ready to serve. It can sit in the dressing for a little bit, but I wouldn't toss the raw ingredients with the dressing all at once, if you know you'll be eating it for a couple of days. I prefer mixing the dressing separately in a glass jar and just having that ready for when you want to have the salad. This is good as a general rule for regular salad-eating: mix your own simple dressings and keep them a glass container; pre-wash your greens and keep them in salad spinner-gadgets that keep them fresh but dry; if you like eggs in salad, pre-boil them; and chop any cooked meats you want to add ahead of time, so they're in sprinkle-able form. Having basic ingredients semi-ready makes it easier to just throw a salad together for a meal, and that's the best way to ensure there's at least one meal of greens a day.
Thai Inspired Cole Slaw
12 oz mix of shredded carrots, red cabbage, green cabbage, broccoli - any combo of your favorite raw veggie shreds
8 oz fresh bean sprouts
1 red bell pepper, seeded and minced finely
1 small bunch of cilantro, stemmed and roughly chopped
1-2 cups dry roasted unsalted peanuts (OK to leave out if you're allergic)
Optional: slices of cooked pork, chicken or shrimp
1/2 cup of mayonnaise
1/4 cup of rice wine vinegar
2 teaspoons of sugar
1 teaspoon soy sauce
1/2 teaspoon sesame oil (OK to leave out if you're allergic)
1 heaping teaspoon of Sriracha if you like heat - even more if you LOVE it
Preparation: Mix the dressing ingredients in a glass jar - shake or mix well to fully incorporate.
Take all the raw vegetables and toss evenly in a bowl. If you're serving all at once, mix in cilantro, but if you're eating the salad incrementally, keep the cilantro in a separate container, so that it doesn't wilt too quickly. Depending on how you're serving, toss the salad with the dressing and peanuts in whatever portion size you need, and serve. So easy! Enjoy.