We’re having a major heat wave in Southern Ontario, with high temperatures and humidity not seen here since 2007. While this is good for growing things such as peaches, tomatoes and grapes, it can be a challenge when trying to decide what to eat for dinner each night. No one wants to run a hot oven when the temperature is soaring so we look for things that are fresh and cooling.
So what should we eat? Salads, of course! Salads are a great option at the peak of summer because a lot of local produce is now available at the market. A vibrant salad packed with fresh vegetables and lightly tossed with an Asian-inspired dressing is the perfect dish for dinner. It pairs well with grilled meats and rice dishes or you can add some grilled shrimp or chicken to make it a substantial main dish on its own. Cooked whole-wheat spaghettini or chow mein noodles would also be a nice addition.
The prep work for this salad takes a bit of time but none of it is difficult. You could use bagged shredded coleslaw mix in place of chopping the cabbage and carrots. The dressing can be made in advance and refrigerated until ready to use. However, don’t dress the salad too far in advance or it will get soggy and limp.
Asian Summer Slaw
Makes 4 to 6 side dish servings (can be made as a main course as well, see above)
- 1/2 cup Hellman’s/Best Foods style light mayonnaise
- 2 teaspoons sugar
- 2 Tablespoons rice wine vinegar
- 1 Tablespoon sodium-reduced soy sauce
- 1 clove garlic, very finely minced
- 1 teaspoon finely minced fresh ginger
- 1/2 teaspoon sesame oil
- 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes (or more, if you prefer a bit of heat)
- In a small bowl, add all ingredients and mix until thoroughly combined. Keep refrigerated until ready to use.
- 3/4 cup snow peas (about 15), trimmed
- 1/2 large red bell pepper, cut into thin strips
- 1 small or 1/2 a large carrot, peeled and cut into matchsticks
- 4 green onions, chopped (white and light green parts – save the dark green tops for garnish)
- 1 cup sliced cucumbers – cut about 1/4″ thick (about 1/2 a large cuke)
- 1 cup bean sprouts
- 2 cups shredded Napa or green cabbage
- 2 teaspoons toasted sesame seeds
- To blanch snow peas: Prepare a bowl of cold water and add a few ice cubes. Set aside. Bring a small pot of water to a boil. Add snow peas and cook for 1 minute. Drain peas and plunge them immediately into the ice water to halt cooking. Drain and dry them once they cool and add to a large salad bowl.
- Add the red pepper strips, carrot, green onion, cucumber, bean sprouts and cabbage to the bowl. Use salad forks (or spoons) to toss all ingredients until combined. Add dressing to the salad a little at a time and stir to coat the vegetables, making sure you don’t overdress the salad (you probably won’t use all of the dressing. Extra dressing can be kept covered in the fridge for a couple of days). Stir in sesame seeds and garnish with green onion slices.
- Serve as a side dish or add some protein and noodles as described above.
Bon Appétit and Enjoy!