We came home from California this week to truly beautiful sunny weather (June in Oregon is often quite dismal). It feels like summer is on, but we still have busy school and work schedules to slog through for another week. I can feel myself shifting to summer eating. As the farmers markets begin to hit full swing, I am craving big fresh salads and bowls of fresh berries.
I love a great big heaping of slaw. Not the limp mayonnaise-y kind, but rather a bowl of crunchy veggies with a sweet-salty-spicy vinaigrette. Fresh herbs are key, and peanuts round out the flavors I love from Southeast Asian cooking. Slaws are a great opportunity to throw in a vegetable that is not part of your usual repertoire (something mysterious in your CSA box?) or that you don’t usually eat raw—once sliced thin and tossed with salt, sugar and vinegar—it’s all good. For the batch shown here, I used red cabbage, bok choy, mint (really plentiful in my garden right now), carrots and red bell pepper. I love the rainbow mix of colors.
I like my slaws crunchy and fresh, so I always put the dressing on at the last minute, but this slaw is good the next day as well. The veggies mellow a bit as they pickle in the vinaigrette (great on a homemade Banh Mi sandwich). If you have dressing left over, dip some salad rolls in it.
Fresh Vegetable Slaw with Asian Dressing
5-6 cups mixed fresh cruciferous vegetables (pick and choose according to your taste and what’s in season):
cabbage (red, green or savoy)
broccoli stalks (julienned)
seeded jalapeno pepper (for a kick!)
carrots (grated or julienned)
mung bean sprouts
cucumber (seeded and julienned)
1/4 cup packed chopped fresh herbs like mint, cilantro or basil (or a mixture)
1/4 cup sliced scallions
1/4 cup chopped roasted peanuts
1/4 cup rice vinegar
juice of one lime
3 tablespoons brown sugar
2 tablespoons fish sauce (soy sauce is fine too if you are vegetarian)
1 teaspoon grated fresh ginger
1 garlic clove, minced or crushed
2 tablespoons oil (I use a canola/coconut mixture)
Sriracha or other hot sauce to taste.
Wash and chop/slice your vegetables so they are relatively even in size and place in a large bowl, sprinkle with a pinch of salt. Toss the vegetables with the herbs, scallions and peanuts. For the dressing, mix the vinegar, lime juice, sugar, fish sauce, ginger, and garlic until the sugar dissolves. Stream in oil and mix to combine. Season with sriracha to taste. Just before serving, toss the slaw with the dressing (you may not need all the dressing depending on what vegetables you’ve used).