Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Sweet n’ Sassy Salad with Pickled Ginger and Pepitas

Every time I see a salad recipe, I think - really? Directions to make a salad? How hard can it be to throw ingredients in a bowl and top with a basic oil/vinegar dressing? Then I remember how salads have slowly become so second nature to me ever since I started this vegan venture. Not just lettuce or green salads, but bean and grain combos, shredded veggie slaws and the like. I never think to write up a recipe for them because they are truly a no brainer. Perusing through recipes on my own, I never stop to read the salad recipes. It isn’t until I make a crazy awesome, crunchy, yummy salad that I am possessed to make it possible for others to replicate the deliciousness.

This turned out to be one of those brilliant yet simple salads. Looking for a post-work snack yesterday, I was trying to avoid resigning myself bread, crackers or chips. But I didn’t want to work too hard for my snack. This came together so easily! Grape tomatoes are veggie manifestations of convenience, and sugar snap peas are effortlessly flavorful. Seeing as though I cannot make salads with fewer that 5 ingredients, something else had to be added.

Pickled ginger is typically used for one thing and one thing only: sushi. But it’s too delicious to be confined to this limitation. I tossed some in hoping it would mesh well with an Asian dressing and it worked! The pepitas (roasted pumpkin seeds) gave it a rounded crunch in contrast to the severe crunch of the snap peas. So where do dulse flakes come in? Well Whole Foods had this sale once where you can buy one get one…yeah a lot of products in my kitchen start that way. Anyway, if you have some other kind of dried seaweed, the mild sea flavor gives the salad a lovely finish.

Just a note: I didn't actually make a dressing for this. I simply drizzled a little bit of rice vinegar on top, but if you are a fan of dressing, the one below should work nicely.

Sweet n’ Sassy Salad with Pickled Ginger and Pepitas
Makes: 3-4 servings
Prep time: 5 minutes


4 c. romaine lettuce, rinsed and chopped
1 c. grape tomatoes, whole or halved
1 c. sugar snap peas, chopped
¼ c. green onions, chopped
¼ c. pickled ginger, chopped
¼ c. pepitas (preferably unsalted)
2-3 T. dulse flakes

3 T. rice vinegar
½ T. soy sauce, low sodium or regular
½ T. agave nectar or maple syrup
¼ tsp red pepper flakes (optional)
1/8 tsp. sesame or canola oil (optional)


In a large bowl, combine first 4 ingredients and toss well. Top the salad off with pickled ginger and pepitas. Reserve dulse flakes for noe.

Prepare dressing by combining all ingredients in a small bowl and stirring to blend well. Adjust flavors to taste - if you like a milder dressing, add more canola oil and skip the sesame oil. If you like tart dressing, skip the agave and lower the soy sauce. Drizzle your preferred dressing over salad and top with dulse flakes.

Optional: You can pump this up by making a faux sea creature salad by mashing up some chickpeas, mixing with veganaise, green onions, pimentos and seaweed flakes (dulse or kelp). If you’re an omnivore, feel free to top with some kind of sustainably captured sashimi. Not advocating…just sayin.

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