Thai Cashew Chopped Salad with Sesame-Garlic Dressing
Happy Friday, friends!! I have a gnarly sinus infection!
Not gonna lie, life’s been a real strugglefest this week.
I actually started feeling sick early last week, but I figured it was just a spring cold/allergy combo, so I wasn’t overly concerned. I hit all the natural remedies hard (with a healthy side of Theraflu), pressed pause on the #fitnessjourney, crushed a ridiculous amount of soup, and kept my fingies crossed for a speedy recovery.
Then…I went to Dollywood.
That’s right, folks. One of my besties threw the classiest of bachelorette parties in beautiful Pigeon Forge, Tennessee, and although I wasn’t feeling great on Friday, I’d sooner die than let a stuffy nose and a headache keep me from one Ms. Bay Hudner and her Mary Poppins’ bag of wigs and sequins. So this sniffly bitch packed up her finest sister-wife outfits and got on that plane down South, dammit.
All I have to say as I sit here now with a sinus infection likely exacerbated by flying, moonshine cherries, fried everything, and rollercoaster handle germs is this:
I HAVE NO REGRETS.
I am also now a Dolly Parton fangirl.
In addition to building her own hilariously magical butterfly-themed amusement park, Dolly installed a bathtub on her tour bus and is worth half a billion dollars. I have never been more inspired!!
p.s. Did you know she wrote “I Will Always Love You”? Whitney’s version was a cover. Mind blown.
Anyhoo, I woke up Monday morning feeling like I got hit in the face with a baseball bat, and by Tuesday, I had no choice but to head to the doctor. (For the record, I hate going to the doctor and therefore never go. He reminded me it might be nice if I stopped in for a physical soon. You know, since my last one was in 2015…) The aforementioned sinus infection was quickly diagnosed, antibiotics were prescribed, and I was sent home with strict orders to “take good care of myself.”
Assuming said orders meant drink water, eat several pounds of vegetables, and watch (extra) hours of Dawson’s Creek in the bath, I am being a very good patient.
Needless to say, I’ve continued my soup kick this week (particularly into this one right now), but I also whipped up the fancy Thai Cashew Chopped Salad on your screen from my friend Ali’s latest book, Inspiralized & Beyond, and it was glorious.
If you don’t already know Ali Mafucci, she is the spiralizing queen (she also has her own spiralizer, The Inspiralizer, which blows all others out of the water), and she’s written…count it…three cookbooks. They’re all great, but I have to say, I’m particularly fond of this one because it’s filled with seasonal veggie-packed meals that aren’t necessarily spiralized (hence the “Beyond” in ze title). Think Sweet Potato Skin Nachos, Zucchini Pork Dumplings, Cacio e Pepe Kale, and Spiralized Tuna Tataki Bowls.
There’s a long list of things I want to make from the book, but I was instantly drawn to this salad because it involves so many of my favorite things: color! crunch! quinoa! edamame! And it’s one of those nutrient-packed recipes that I’m convinced will make me smarter and prettier ASAP. (Especially after my Pigeon Forge diet of exclusively beige and tan colored foods.)
All I have to say is that this salad more than delivered. It’s packed with flavor and texture, super satisfying, and the dressing. Dear God, the dressing! It’s garlicky-ginger perfection, and I shall be using it on everything from salad to fish and meat in the future.
On top of its deliciousness and health benefits, I dig this Thai Cashew Salad for several reasons. First and foremost, it makes a TON. This is great news for those feeding friends/family/roommates, and it would make quite the showstopping a side for late spring/summer gatherings. Plus it holds up realllly well undressed in the fridge thanks to its hardy ingredients, making it perfect for potlucks and sassy desk lunching. (I’m currently eating a bowl of leftovers and am extremely happy about it.)
A couple quick notes before I leave you. First, Ali’s recipe calls for spiralizing the veggies (which is actually much quicker than chopping), but if you don’t have a spiralizer, don’t panic. Truth be told, I dropped my poor Inspiralizer last month and broke it, so I hand-sliced my veggies. Worked like a charm. Second, This recipe calls for a small amount of cooked quinoa. I am a weird blog lady that has things like cooked quinoa in her fridge, but if you don’t, you can sub whatever whole grains you do have, OR make a big batch of quinoa and save leftovers to use in future salads, quinoa bakes, breakfast bowls, soups, etc.
Thai Cashew Chopped Salad with Sesame-Garlic Dressing (Serves 4 generously as an entrée/8 as a side)
1/3 cup roasted cashews
12 ounces shelled edamame, steamed
4 cups shredded rainbow chard leaves (I used baby kale and loved it.)
1 large carrot, spiralized with Blade D, noodles coarsely chopped (or 1 heaping cup shredded carrots)
2 scallions, chopped
1 red bell pepper, spiralized with Blade A, noodles chopped into 2-inch pieces OR thinly sliced
1 yellow bell pepper, spiralized with Blade A, noodles chopped into 2-inch pieces OR thinly sliced
2 cups spiralized or thinly sliced red cabbage
½ cup fresh cilantro, coarsely chopped
½ cup cooked red quinoa, preferably chilled
1 tablespoon sesame seeds for garnish (optional)
For the dressing:
2 tablespoons avocado oil or extra-virgin olive oil
3 tablespoons sesame oil
3 tablespoons low-sodium soy sauce or tamari
2 tablespoons rice vinegar
1 teaspoon fresh lime juice
2 tablespoons honey
1 tablespoon grated fresh ginger
3 garlic cloves, chopped
-Make the dressing! In a food processor, combine all the ingredients for the dressing and process until smooth. Transfer to a small bowl. Clean out the food processor bowl and blade.
-In the clean food processor, combine the cashews and edamame and pulse until minced. (Don’t over process, friends. You want a fine chop not mush.)
-Transfer to a large bowl. Add the chard, carrot, scallions, bell peppers, cabbage, cilantro, and quinoa.
-Drizzle the dressing around the rim of the bowl, toss the salad well to coat, garnish with the sesame seeds, and serve.
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