Summer is in full swing! Gardens are popping, CSAs are getting more bountiful by the moment, and everything we grow for food is exploding into abundance. We’re also doing some important and heavy work right now, in more than one area. We’re all juggling (and definitely also floundering!) some combination of figuring out how to safely have summer during a pandemic, learning how to stand up for others and show up for our values, and navigating a lot of uncertainty--including not knowing where the toddler has secretly stashed the car keys today. We’re both leaning on and looking out for friends, family, neighbors...each other. Food is fuel for all of it, so we’re back with another easy meal inspiration, and this time it’s almost entirely fresh foods! The Pantry gets a night off too!
Here’s how to make this super-crunchy and very satisfying salad. Great as a main meal, side dish, potluck offering when we can have those again safely, or lunch for the week. Dress it on your plate and this bountiful seasonal delight will stay just as crunchy as day 1 in the fridge for several days. You can dress it up with essentially any protein of your choosing: grilled chicken, steak, chickpeas, tofu, salmon, soft boiled eggs, tuna--you name it, it would probably be great atop this crunch-fest. Quantities are approximate; when we made it, the end result filled an entire 7qt pot to the brim, which if you’re using as a base for a main meal, should feed about 5-8 people depending on your protein choice and appetites. Go with your taste buds and intuition.
One more thing: if you’re not sure about the XL size Z Wrap and where it might help in your kitchen, here’s a great example! The XL is perfect for big salad bowls, the monster truck sized Napa cabbage in the photo, and even a 7qt dutch oven so long as it isn’t going in the oven! Our dutch oven was the largest vessel available in the kitchen to contain this salad, and as there were only two eaters around, it ended up staying there for an entire week--as crunchy and gorgeous as the day it was made! Something about the Z Wrap teaming up with the heavy lid really kept everything crisp, without any wet towels or slimy leaves. We folded our XL wrap (in Farmer’s Market design) in half to cover the dutch oven, but you can also trim down an XL wrap to any size you find handy! Just use good sharp scissors for a clean cut.
For the Salad:
- ½ a head of Lettuce: whatever kind you have, we used red leaf head lettuce
- ½ a head of Cabbage: Napa cabbage is a great option; green and purple cabbages also work, or a mix!
- Double handful of Pea Pods: sugar snap or snow peas are great, but any edible-pod pea or even bean would work.
- ~4 Green onions: whites optional
- 2-4 Garlic scapes (optional, very garlicky when raw so adjust to taste)
- Carrot: 3-4 whole
- Celery: 4-6 ribs
- Chow Mein Noodles or other crunchy snack- sesame sticks, crispy fried noodles, potato sticks, etc (optional; the link is to the La Choy version of this product, strictly to give you a sense of what we mean. Any crunchy carb/starch would probably be great)
- 1-2 big handful of Cilantro
- Lime wedge (optional, garnish)
For the Dressing:
- ¼-½ Cup soy sauce (regular, reduced sodium, Bragg’s aminos, or Tamari for gluten-free needs)
- ¼ Cup rice vinegar (sub. Apple cider vinegar if you don’t have rice)
- 1+ teaspoon red pepper flake (make it 2 if you prefer spicier)
- 2-3 Tablespoons fresh ginger, grated (frozen ginger knobs grate easily!)
- 1 Tablespoon of honey, maple syrup, sugar, or other sweetener of your choice
- 2 teaspoons Toasted Sesame Oil
- 1-2 Tablespoons neutral oil (ex: Canola)
- 1-2 Tablespoons tahini paste
- 2 Tablespoons sesame seeds
- Additional garlic or garlic scapes (optional)- minced
- Additional green onions (optional)- minced
- Additional sesame seeds (optional, garnish)
- Additional lime juice (to taste)
- Shred cabbage and lettuce, about 50-50. More cabbage usually means more crunch.
- Chop up the cilantro and toss it in.
- Bias-cut the celery, pea pods, and green onions.
- Shred the carrot using a large grater (if you don’t have a large grater, mandolin slices work as does a thinner bias cut).
- Finely chop the garlic scapes if using (remember they pack a big punch raw).
- Add all the dressing ingredients to a blender cup, bottle, or mason jar and pulse/shake/whisk to emulsify.
- Top salad with protein of choice, a couple sprinkles of chow mein noodles, a sprinkle of sesame seeds, and dress gently (a little goes a long way). A good squeeze from a wedge of lime adds a burst of refreshment.
If you try this one out, let us know what you think on social media by using our community hashtag, #myzwraps. There are lots of twists you could try with this recipe, like a peanutty version using peanut butter or powdered peanut butter instead of tahini, and crushed peanuts, honey roasted peanuts, or cashews instead of chow mein noodles. What about some fennel instead of celery? Or adding some black beans and corn while going more heavy on the lime and cilantro? The summer growing season is your crunchy, plant-based oyster. Spread the love if you find a new twist on this cool summer classic and let us know!