Asian Vinaigrette

Happy Saturday Fellow Foodies!

We have been experiencing a massive heat wave here in the High Desert of California for the past week or so. As you can imagine, I have done very, very little cooking. The thought of eating hot food when it's 110F (no I am not exaggerating), even after dark, is just not my idea of enjoyable. Thus, I have been making a record number of salads, which on the bright side, has been great for my overall health!

My favorite salad lately is an Asian style salad, topped with grilled chicken (or shrimp when I have it), and a spicy lime-sesame vinaigrette that is so wonderful, I could almost drink it by itself!

The ingredients may be a bit of a challenge to find, but I assure you, dear reader, that it is worth all the effort in the end. So here is the recipe:

Asian Salad with Lime Sesame Vinaigrette

for the vinaigrette:
1/4 cup FRESHLY SQUEEZED (please don't use the bottled stuff) lime juice
1 Tbs. chili garlic sauce *see note below
2 Tbs. soy sauce (or 3 Tbs. for vegetarian version)
1 Tbs. fish sauce (omit for vegetarian version)
1-3 Tbs. packed light brown sugar-depending on your sweetness preference
1 tsp. ginger paste (yes use the jarred stuff here)
1 Tbs. toasted sesame seeds
2-4 Tbs. toasted sesame oil

Combine everything in a non-reactive bowl, whisk and set aside in the fridge while making your salad.

for the salad:
1 head of shredded romaine lettuce
1-2 cups thinly sliced red cabbage
1 cup each: sliced baby carrots, sliced celery
2 red bell peppers-julienned
1 English cucumber-halved lengthwise and thinly sliced
1 cup very finely sliced chives or green onions in a pinch

 Toss with the dressing, and place into 4-6 LARGE bowls; or toss what you'll use, and bag the rest in the fridge for another day. This salad will keep 5-6 days, and the dressing keeps indefinetely.

Top each salad with:
a few toasted cashews
one grilled and chopped up chicken breast, or thigh, or peeled shrimp (use smoked tofu for the vegetarian version)
a small handful of crunchy chowmein noodles


NOTE: if you really just simply CANNOT find chili garlic sauce anywhere (but seriously you can get it on the internet, you know!) just use a minced Jalapeno and 1 tsp. minced garlic in place of the sauce. It won't be quite the same in the end, but it'll be close enough for horse shoes!

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