Crunchy Asian Salad w/Ginger Sesame Soy Vinaigrette

It's Monday and you'll have to excuse me for a minute while I happy dance across the room because I FINALLY WON a week of Fantasy football! I'd like to thank Adrian Peterson, Eli Manning, and Brandin Cooks for kicking assssssssss this weekend. TY TY TY!! In other news, guess what's almost here...Thanksgiving! I look forward to it all year, every year, and this year my parents are coming out here to celebrate with us in LA. Now that means that this year, I'm Jiro (inside joke, one which I'll share later) and the menu's all mine. After much deliberation, I decided on an Asian themed menu. And of course, I kinda, sorta thought that I was pretty darn creative. That is until I realized both Steph and Michelle did their own epic versions last year (see here, and here).  So, maybe not so original but yayyyy anyway!! Bring on all the Asian-themed Thanksgiving feasts! In fact, you should probably have a few Friendsgivings before the actual day and cook all Asian-influenced Thanksgiving feast menus. 

I really think we all have a lot to be thankful for, so let's take the time to think about all the wonderful things in our lives right now. We are all luckier than we know, and we really have so much to be grateful for. My heart both feels like it breaking and overflowing with love right now. Hug your dear ones and tell them how thankful you are for them, guys. And while you're at it, send some of that love out to the rest of the world too, ok? xo

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I'm kicking it off with this crunch Asian salad with a ginger-sesame-soy vinaigrette because how could I not? The colors, flavors, and textures are so fun and festive and are honestly perfect for a Thanksgiving feast or a dinner in. You can use this recipe as a jumping off point and add whatever your heart desires: more protein (turkey, chicken, salmon), more greens (green beans, shredded brussels, cilantro), or more orange (carrots, mandarin, etc.). It really is up to you. If you aren't a fan of lotus root chips and/or frying, you can add wonton chips or taro chips, or anything else you can find in the market. This salad is super customizable and honestly, pretty much a guaranteed showstopper. It's just sooo pretty!! Anyway, it's got loads of crunch, sweetness from the fruits, and crazy umami from the vinaigrette. And it's so good that I've been throwing together different versions of this for the past three nights. 

P.s. Don't forget to check back throughout this week (and probably a little of next) for the rest of our menu! 

P.s.s. That mason jar in the background is fitted with The Mason Tap, which turned the same jar I shook up my vinaigrette in, into a dressing dispenser!  Huge thanks to W&P Design for sending it my way. My salad game def got infinitely cooler. 

P.s.s. That mason jar in the background is fitted with The Mason Tap, which turned the same jar I shook up my vinaigrette in, into a dressing dispenser!  Huge thanks to W&P Design for sending it my way. My salad game def got infinitely cooler. 

Crunchy Asian Salad w/Ginger Sesame Soy Vinaigrette

Serves 4 - 6 people

INGREDIENTS

SALAD

  • 1 lotus root
  • 1 - 2 c. ice cold water
  • 1 tsp. rice wine vinegar
  • Canola oil, for frying
  • 1/2 napa cabbage, julienned
  • 1/4 green cabbage, julienned
  • 1/2 red cabbage, julienned
  • 2 fuyu persimmons, thinly sliced
  • 1 Asian pear, cored and peeled, thinly sliced
  • 1/3 c. cashews, toasted and lightly salted
  • 2.5 oz. pomegranate seeds
  • 2 scallions, sliced on a bias
  • Optional additions: carrots, cucumber, wonton chips/strips, cilantro, avocado

DRESSING

  • 1 clove garlic, finely grated
  • 1/2" segment fresh ginger, peeled and finely grated
  • 2 Tbsp. rice wine vinegar
  • 1 1/2 Tbsp. soy sauce
  • 2 Tbsp. toasted sesame oil
  • 1/4 c. + 2 Tbsp. grapeseed oil (or other mildly flavored oil, like canola)
  • 2 Tbsp. honey
  • 1 Tbsp. toasted black sesame seeds
  • Cracked black pepper, to taste

TOOLS

  • Pan
  • Sharp knife
  • Mandoline
  • Measuring cups and spoons
  • Chopsticks/tongs
  • Mason jar

 

FIX

SALAD

  1. Combine ice cold water and rice wine vinegar in a medium bowl. 
  2. Using a sharp knife or a mandoline, thinly slice lotus root into 1/8-inch or thinner rounds. Immediately transfer to ice water bath and let sit for 10 minutes. Rinse, drain, and pat slices dry.
  3. Add enough oil to pan to cover lotus slices, about 1/4-inch. Heat on medium. Once oil is hot, add lotus slices, being careful not to crowd the pan. Fry in batches until golden brown. Transfer to a wire rack lined baking sheet and immediately salt. Repeat until all slices have been fried.
  4. Combine remaining ingredients in a large bowl or serving platter, topping with chips right before serving.

DRESSING

  1. Combine all ingredients in a mason jar, cover, and shake until emulsified.
  2. Dress salad with desired amount of dressing (start with a little, then add more to taste). Give everything a quick toss right before serving, and enjoy!