Thai Cashew Chopped Salad with Ginger Peanut Dressing

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So, remember that Sweet Thai Chili Peanut Butter from Sprelly. This salad was the recipe I finally picked out to use it. I didn’t end up making the pad thai as I was having a hard time getting over fish sauce. Silly? Possibly. I just can’t get my mind over adding fish sauce to anything. Have you smelled it by itself?

But this? This salad and the dressing were both awesome. In fact, we had enough salad for 4 meals, but only enough dressing for two. My husband was eating it with a spoon. That said, I am excited about the possibilities for this recipe. It was fresh. Light. Simple. Fast. Sounds like the perfect summer meal, and I’m sure we will end up making it all summer.

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The salad itself is just chopping vegetables. I did use actual heads of romaine lettuce, but I’m sure you could swap out prepared salad mix to make it slightly quicker. I mixed the dressing in a small bowl using just a whisk, but you could probably also add this to a blender (or even a smoothie cup) if you wanted to make it easier too.

If you never use ginger, my tip is to buy a piece and freeze it. Then when it is time to make the dressing, you can just peel it and use it on a microplane while frozen. My last tip. Don’t skip the salted cashews (and the salt is key)!

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Enjoy!

(Printable Recipe)

Thai Cashew Chopped Salad with Ginger Peanut Dressing
From The Recipe Critic

Ingredients:
2 heads Romaine lettuce, rinsed and chopped
1/2 head red cabbage, chopped
15-20 sliced baby carrots
1/2 cup frozen edamame, thawed
1 yellow bell pepper, sliced
1 red bell pepper, sliced
3 green onions, chopped
1/2 cup salted cashews

Ginger Peanut Dressing:
1/3 cup sweet thai chili peanut butter (see Sprelly)
2 Tbsp. honey
3 Tbsp. fresh grated ginger
2 Tbsp. rice vinegar
2 tsp. sesame oil
water to thin (I used about 2 Tbsp)

In a small bowl, whisk together the peanut butter, honey, ginger, rice vinegar, and sesame oil. Add water 1 tablespoon at a time until you reach your desired consistency. Set aside.

In a large bowl, combine the salad ingredients through the green onions. Toss. Top with the cashews and dressing.

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Vegetable Spring Rolls with Dipping Sauce

A couple weeks ago, my husband went around on a tour of some of the old-time, local restaurants here in town with a couple of his buddies from work. He came home with a container of salsa from a Hispanic grocery store, a bag of goodies from a bakery, and begging me to find a recipe for spring rolls. I guess they had eaten at this Thai place that he really enjoyed.

Luckily, I didn’t have to look too far for a recipe. Ever have one of those times when a recipe shows up exactly when you need it? It doesn’t seem to happen very often around here, but I had just seen a recipe for vegetable spring rolls here at The Novice Chef Blog the day before. That was the deciding factor. We were going to give spring rolls a whirl.

These rolls really were pretty easy to make. Chopping veggies is probably the part that takes the longest. We did have some trouble locating soba noodles at the local grocery stores, but it was because they were out of stock everywhere we went? I subbed in half the noodles from a package of ramen (without the seasoning), and it seemed to work well enough for our purposes. It did take some time to get used to working with the rice paper, but after I filled a couple papers, I got the hang of it pretty well. The diagram on the back of the rice paper package definitely helped 🙂

The hubby’s verdict: Pretty good for our first go. We’ll have to give these a try again after we get settled because the spring roll wrappers come in packs of 100, but no arguments here. We had these for dinner, but I imagine that you could even use them as an appetizer if you are looking for a side dish. Enjoy!

 

(Printable Recipe)

Vegetable Spring Rolls with Dipping Sauce
Adapted from The Novice Chef Blog

Spring Roll Ingredients:

2 oz. dry buckwheat soba noodles (or half a package of ramen noodles)
1/2 c. cilantro, roughly chopped
1/2 c. scallions, thinly sliced
10 basil leaves, chiffonade or minced
20 mint leaves, chiffonade or minced
1/2 c. grated carrot
1/2 cucumber, peeled and thinly sliced about 2-inches long
1/2 orange bell pepper, thinly sliced about 2-inches long
1/2 yellow bell pepper, thinly sliced about 2-inches long
1 firm avocado, halved and pit removed
1 package of spring roll wrappers

Dipping Sauce Ingredients:
1 lemon, juiced
1 lime, juiced
1 orange, juiced
1 tsp. minced fresh ginger
1/4 tsp. minced fresh garlic
1 tablespoon rice wine vinegar
3/4 c. reduced-sodium soy sauce

Cook the noodles according to package directions. While the noodles are cooking, whisk all the sauce ingredients together in a bowl. Set the bowl in the refrigerator until the spring rolls are ready.

Toss the first 9 spring roll ingredients together. Find an undamaged sheet of rice paper and hold it under warm water for 10-20 seconds or until the sheet becomes pliable. You will be able to feel it come to “rolling consistency” in your hand, but it may take a couple sheets to figure out how this works best for you.

Place the sheet on a wooden cutting board or a large ceramic plate. Place a couple tablespoons of filling off-center on the rice paper on the end closest to you. Using a spoon, scoop out a 1/4-inch thick wedge of avocado and set it on top of the filling. Fold the ends of the rice paper in towards the center (like a burrito) and roll the paper up lengthwise keeping it as tight as possible. The paper will stiffen a little as it dries, but ours stayed pretty pliable. Cut the spring rolls in half and serve with individual portions of the dipping sauce.

Yield: 15+ spring rolls

Thai Chicken Pizza

So I’ve been gone for just over a week as a camp counselor, and it’s about time for a new blog post. I haven’t really been cooking yet since I’ve been home – more like recovering from exhaustion. The energy that children have is amazing. I wish it could be bottled. Anyway, this is a pizza that we made before I left. A friend had combined several different recipes to come up with this beauty. You can read about her post here. We eat a lot of pizza around here. Proabably at least weekly in one form or another. Kaylee hit the spot with this combination. It definately ranks up there with the favorite pizza recipes.

Look at all those fresh veggies. Yum!
Once again, we used our standard pizza crust recipe. I really like making our own crust. For some reason it just feels better that I know exactly what is going in it.

Thai Chicken Pizza
2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cooked and cubed
1/2 tsp. fresh ginger root, minced
1/2 c. peanut sauce
2 c. mozzarella cheese
1/2 c. fresh snow peas
1 red bell pepper, chopped
1/4 c. carrots, thinly sliced
2 green onions, sliced
1/4 c. crushed peanuts
1/4 c. fresh bean sprouts
Prepare dough. Chop veggies while dough is rising. Cook diced chicken in pan with a little oil and ginger root until chicken is cooked through.
Roll dough out on the pan and spread peanut sauce over the crust. Cover with the chicken and ginger mixture. Spread pepper, carrots, snow peas, green onion, and sprouts on top. Add crushed peanuts and top with shredded cheese. Bake according to the directions for the crust or until cheese is melted and crust appears done.