I love the way humble vegetables offer a blank canvas just waiting for culinary inspiration.
I classify unadorned greens as rabbit food - I confess that you'll never find me biting into a red pepper or crunching dreary celery sticks - but I am constantly amazed at how easy it is to give plain produce Super (Salad) Bowl status.
There are two, amazingly simple tricks to creating showstopper salads:
1: Dress for success with dressings so delicious that you'll want to eat them with a spoon...a drizzle of oil 'n vinegar alone doesn't cut it.
2: Add color 'n crunch whenever possible by combining bright, contrasting colors, and topping with a nut, seed or noodle topping when you can.
Today I'm sharing a favorite, Asian-inspired dressing and nutty noodle 'n seed topping that can transform greens of your choice instantly. Play around with your favorite fruit 'n vegetable combinations and make this basic blueprint your own.
ANYTHING GOES DRESSING
1/3 cup (80 ml) rice vinegar (see notes)
3 - 4 tablespoons (45 ml - 60 ml) silan or honey
1 teaspoon (5 ml) crushed garlic
1 tablespoon (15 ml) grated fresh ginger (see notes)
1/2 cup (125 ml) canola oil
2 teaspoons (10 ml) sesame oil
Salt & ground pepper to taste*
* Can add 2 tablespoons Soya sauce for an Oriental flair though it's wonderful just as it is too. Sesame oil can be replaced with olive oil and a tablespoon of toasted sesame seeds.
1: Whisk ingredients together....that's it.
NUTTY NOODLE SEEDED SALAD TOPPING
1 package Ramen 5-minute noodles (see notes)
1/2 cup (125 ml) sliced almonds
1/4 cup (60 ml) sesame seeds
1/4 cup (60 ml) sunflower seeds (optional)
1 tablespoon (15 ml) honey
1 tablespoon (15 ml) olive oil
1/2 teaspoon( 2.5 ml) salt (Maldon is best)
1: Break up block of uncooked noodles with your fingers - throw away seasoning packet - and combine with the nuts and seeds.
2: Empty onto a lined baking tray, drizzle with honey and oil, sprinkle over salt and stir to mix.
3: Bake at 170 C for approximately 15 minutes, stirring occasionally to brown all sides, then remove from the oven and allow to cool before decanting into sealed container.
Dressing and nutty salad topping can be used on any greens at all. I combine green and red shredded cabbage with chopped spring onion, grated carrot, red pepper cubes, and cranberries or pomegranate jewels. Baby leaves with assorted vegetables and fruit are great too. Always use color, include red fruit/vegetables for appetite appeal, and make sure you have enough dressing to properly coat greens.
NOTES: Rice vinegar can be replaced with slightly watered-down white wine vinegar or apple cider vinegar though rice vinegar has a lovey, gentle flavor. Ginger lasts forever when stored in the freezer and grates best when frozen. Ramen noodles always somehow confuse people. These are the instant noodle packets/bowls sold everywhere with a pack of spices included and heated with boiling water. We've brought them to Meatland - NIS 3.90 each - just to make your lives easier.