Living in Southeast Asia, I eat a lot of Asian food… like this cabbage salad with creamy sesame dressing. But when I go home for the summer, I almost never eat Asian food. Funny that! I have no idea why, since I can get
all most of the ingredients I need at my local grocery stores in Denver… I guess it just doesn’t sound as appealing in North America.
But here, it sounds good all the time!
I demo’d this salad at the Asia CEO Health Summit 2 years ago, and have been making it ever since… with a few modifications, of course! You know me.
Many Asian salads are based on cabbage or some other sturdy green vegetable besides lettuce, likely because it’s too hot to grow lettuce here (except in the highlands)! But that’s just as well, because cabbage is a nutritional powerhouse. It’s packed with Vitamin C, and since it’s eaten raw, this heat-sensitive vitamin is left intact. Cabbage is also rich in fiber, minerals and cancer-preventing phytochemicals. Not that I have anything against a good ol’ dark-green lettuce… I’m just giving the humble cabbage 2-thumbs up for those who have never tried it as a salad base.
This salad is filling, what with the fiber from all the veggies and protein from the edamame & sesame seeds, yet it’s light enough for lunch or even as a side dish. But if you want to bump it up a notch, add some baked tofu or leftover chicken, and some cooked brown rice or quinoa… everyone will call you clever for thinking of it. And then you will have a dish hearty enough for dinner. Go you!
Of course, it’s the dressing that makes the salad… we all know that. This particular one is modified from the traditional Japanese soy sesame dressing that’s based on mayonnaise. I ditched the mayo and used blended cashews instead, along with soy sauce, sesame oil, & lime juice (in Philippines we use calamansi juice.) But if you have a nut allergy, just sub back mayo instead, and if you’re gluten-free, use GF tamari in place of the soy sauce. It also calls for black sesame seeds, but if you can’t find them (like I couldn’t! Go figure…) just use white. Your pictures won’t be as pretty as they could have been…
… but your salad will still be delicious! Enjoy!