Monday, May 28, 2012

Summer Asian Salad with Sesame Dressing

This crunchy Asian salad, made by my friend Cindi, is a gluten free adaptation of an Asian noodle salad she has been making for years. The original recipe (from an Australian noodle package) contains a bunch of ingredients that are not gluten free. We were at my friend Jennifer's beach house, which is well stocked with gluten free ingredients, so Cindi omitted the obviously gluten free ingredients (like the crispy noodles) and swapped out a few ingredients which contain gluten (soy sauce and white vinegar*) for gluten free equivalents (San-J tamari gluten free soy sauce and rice vinegar.)

Every summer I have a signature recipe that reminds me of the summer. Years ago, when I was in college, while everyone lounged by the pool, I made tarts. A few summers ago from Memorial Day to Labor Day, it was kale. Another year, I made glazed baby back ribs. And last year, June, July and August it was granola. A strange, very unseasonal choice for summer but I was a guest and everyone wanted gluten free granola for breakfast.

Well, I have had this Asian salad three times already--and summer has just started--so this might be this year's favorite summer recipe. The simplicity is part of it's appeal. Plus, it's versatile--you can use whatever greens you have on hand or throw in red peppers or sugar snap peas. The cabbage is delicious but I also like it with romaine as raw cabbage can lower thyroid function.

Happy summer!

Summer Asian Salad Recipe
Serves 4-6

1/2-1 cabbage or romaine, shredded finely
6 green onions
1/2 cup slivered almonds
1 cup chopped or shredded chicken (optional)

1/4 cup rice wine vinegar
2 tablespoons sugar
2 tablespoons soy sauce
1 tablespoon sesame oil
1/3 cup olive oil or oil of choice

Combine all dressing ingredients in a saucepan. Stir well over low heat until sugar is dissolved. Cool. Toss the cabbage, chopped green onions, almonds and chicken in a salad bowl. Add dressing and mix well.

***While Heinz white vinegar is technically gluten free because it is distilled from corn this white vinegar the 50% grain vinegar (which refers to the acetic content of the vinegar) ingredient list was confusing, so I would prefer to use a different vinegar. White vinegar can be made with any grain so check with the manufacturer.