If I were truly living the dream (spoiler alert: I’m not there yet), I would own a home in Portland.
Portland, you take my breath away every time I visit. You put on your happy face and have me believing that you’re sunny most days of the year. We know it’s not true. I love your food, your coffee, and even your bearded peoples. I know I’m not cool enough for you, but can we at least be friends? Please?
The food I ate over the weekend was mad delicious. From Russian dumplings to tasty tacos, I left the city with a full, happy belly. However, the first thing I wanted to do when I got back home was to eat a BIG bowl of vegetables. I don’t know about you, but vegetables always take a bake seat whenever I’m traveling. Why bother paying for a salad that you probably can make at home when you can have Korean fried chicken and bibimbap with bacon? Let’s be real.
Even after three trips to Portland, I still haven’t ventured over to the famed Pok Pok. Eek! Shame on me. So, I decided to throw together this spring salad. If I couldn’t get a taste of Thai flavors over the weekend, at least I can make it at home!
MASTER MY MISTAKES / COOKING NOTES
- Notes on flavor: The lemongrass vinaigrette is tangy (from rice vinegar) and slightly spicy (from ginger and garlic). You can start with 3 tablespoons of rice vinegar in the recipe and add more 1/2 tablespoon at a time to get to the flavor you like. If you want the vinaigrette to be less spicy, use 1 teaspoon of grated ginger.
- Make it a meal: This salad is meant to be an appetizer, but you can make it a fuller meal by adding some avocado and your favorite protein! I had this salad with eggs and avocado, and it tasted wonderful.
- Roast leftover asparagus: As you’re shaving the asparagus, you’ll probably notice that you can’t shave off the entire stalk. Just save it for roasting or your stir fry!
Spring Salad with Lemongrass Vinaigrette
- Prep Time: 15 minutes
- Cook Time: 5 minutes
- Total Time: 20 minutes
- Yield: 4
- 4 oz. tender-stem broccoli or broccoli corwns.
- 1/4 cup pepitas or pumpkin seeds
- 1 large head of romaine lettuce
- 1 cup of pea shoots (about a small handful)
- 7 to 8 radishes, sliced thinly
- 1 large carrot
- 6 to 8 stalks of asparagus
- 1/4 cup sliced almonds
- 1 TBS chopped fresh mint (optional)
- 2 TBS stalks of lemongrass
- 1 large clove of garlic
- fresh ginger
- 3 to 4 TBS seasoned rice vinegar, depending on your taste
- 1/2 TBS low-sodium tamari (use soy sauce if not gluten free)
- 1/2 tsp sesame oil
- 1 TBS sunflower oil (olive oil works also)
- 1 1/2 TBS lime juice
- 1/2 to 1 TBS maple syrup, depending on your taste
- Chop tender-stem broccoli into smaller pieces. Steam them for about 2 minutes, then place them in a bowl of ice water. This helps keep the broccoli crisp while you prepare the other ingredients.
- Lightly toast pepitas on a pan. Stir pepitas often to prevent them from burning. When they’re done, plate seeds.
- Rinse romaine leaves, and chop them to smaller pieces. Place in a large bowl. Add pea shoots and sliced radishes.
- Peel carrot and use your peeler to create carrot shavings. Shave asparagus with your vegetable peeler. Note that you’ll probably only be able to get about 4 or 5 shavings on a stalk. Just save the rest for roasting or a stir-fry. Add shaved vegetables to the bowl. Add tender-stem broccoli, pumpkin seeds, sliced almonds, and chopped mint, if using.
- Prepare lemongrass vinaigrette. Remove the tough outer 2 layers of a stalk of lemongrass. Grate the larger end on a microplane, until you get about 2 to 2 1/2 tablespoons of lemongrass shavings. Place in small bowl. Grate garlic and add to the bowl. Grate ginger until you get about 1 to 2 teaspoons of it. If you want a spicier vinaigrette, use 2 teaspoons. Add to bowl with other spices.
- Mix in rice vinegar, tamari, sesame oil, sunflower oil, lime juice, and maple syrup.
- Toss salad and drizzle with lemongrass vinaigrette.