I am not a vegetarian but I find myself turning more frequently to meals built on a base of vegetables and grains and use meat more as a condiment. Ultimately it’s more economical, better for my health and I actually prefer the variety of textures and flavors that a vegetarian diet offers. I also enjoy the challenge of making a meal that my family will eat that isn't your typical meat and potatoes offering. I don’t like to say anything is off limits when it comes to eating, but I do believe that consuming a variety of foods and keeping portion sizes reasonable is the smartest way for my family to stay healthy and satisfied.
This salad is one of my favorite weeknight meals, it takes a few minutes to chop all the ingredients but comes together quickly and you can do a lot of the prep in advance. Extra dressing is delicious tossed with some noodles or grilled vegetables. For a non-vegetarian version try adding some shredded chicken or shrimp.
Crunchy cabbage salad with peanut dressing
For the salad:
1/2 head napa cabbage, thinly shredded
1/4 head red cabbage, thinly shredded
1 carrot, peeled and grated
½ red bell pepper julienned
¼ cup cilantro leaves
¼ cup basil leaves
1 avocado diced
¼ cup chopped cashews
2 tablespoons black sesame seeds
For the dressing:
2 tablespoons smooth peanut butter
2 tablespoons rice-wine vinegar
1 tablespoon sesame oil
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1 tablespoon brown sugar
½ teaspoon chili garlic sauce
1 clove garlic finely minced
1 tablespoon freshly grated ginger
1 tablespoon water
Combine cabbages, carrots, bell pepper, avocado and half the basil and cilantro in a large bowl. Whisk together all the ingredients for the dressing in a separate bowl. If the dressing is too thick you may need to add a little bit more water. Toss the cabbage mixture with the peanut sauce and top with the reserved herbs, cashews and sesame seeds.