Once the temperatures climb into the 90s, where they have hovered all week long, I start trying to find recipes that require as little stove and oven time as possible. Thankfully, the farmer's market is fuller each week of fresh local veggies and what hasn't arrived at the market yet is waiting at my local Whole Foods.
When the heat begins to soar, one of my favorite summer salads to prepare is this Asian-inspired veggie and cellophane noodle (or bean thread) salad. Unfortunately, none of my kids are sold on it, except Finn who will pick around the raw cabbage. That just means I'll have some for lunch tomorrow too, which doesn't hurt my feelings a bit!
The great thing about this salad is that it can really be made with almost any veggies on hand. The secret is in the dressing and the cellophane noodles. On this particular occasion, the veggies I had available were red cabbage (which I almost always include in this salad as it lends great substance), a medium zucchini, 2 smallish carrots, a half of a green bell pepper and half of a pound brick of tofu.
The drained and cubed tofu was tossed in a sauce of 2 tbsp coconut oil and 1 tbsp soy sauce and baked in the oven at 450 for 15-20 minutes, stirring frequently, until the tofu was crispy on most sides.
Summery Asian Salad Dressing
2 tbsp soy sauce
2 tbsp rice wine vinegar
2 tbsp honey
1 tbsp sesame oil
3 tbsp vegetable oil
1 tsp sesame seeds
2 tsp ground ginger
Shake vigorously in a separate container before pouring over the veggies and noodles.
Soak the noodles according to the directions on the package and cool. Toss with julienned and thinly sliced veggies. Pour dressing over salad and chill for one hour. (Or 20 minutes in the freezer if you are rushed, like I sometimes am. :)
Garnish with mung bean sprouts, or extra sesame seeds, or whatever will make the salad your favorite summery Asian salad.