I could eat this fresh, healthy, flavorful………..just plain old delicious salad every day! A special cutting technique and a delicious dressing takes these simple, ordinary ingredients and turns them into nothing short of extraordinary!
I love the vibrant flavors of Vietnamese cuisine and this wonderful salad really spotlights all of them: crunchy raw veggies, mango, avocado, lots of fresh herbs (basil, mint and cilantro) are all married together with a gingery sesame soy dressing (yesterday’s recipe). Sometimes I include a shower of toasted almonds, peanuts or sesame seeds.
Most recipes for salads similar to this one utilize a piece of equipment called a mandoline (no, not the musical instrument!) Mandolines are easy to find nowadays, but can be quite expensive, bulky to store and a bit complicated (and dangerous!) to use. The technique I used to transform these veggies into a literal work of art is done with this simple. inexpensive gadget – it might look like an ordinary vegetable peeler but has a tiny little “teeth” along the blade. When you run it along the length of a carrot or any other firm vegetable, it cuts it into tiny, perfectly uniform, ribbons of deliciousness! You can find these at most kitchen supply stores and they’re also easy to find online.
Oh, and check back on Thursday for another fun, interesting way to serve this Vietnamese Table Salad – a unique, mouthwateringly delicious sandwich recipe – Grilled Banh Mi Sandwich – often sold by vendors on the streets of Vietnamese cities and towns, creating incredibly delicious aromas wafting through the air that entice both natives and visitors alike!
Vietnamese Table Salad
2 medium carrots, peeled and julienned*
1 small daikon radish**, peeled and julienned*
½ medium English (seedless) cucumbers, washed and sliced on a long diagonal, then sliced thinly
1 medium mango, slightly firm, (not super soft like you would normally choose) peeled, thinly sliced and then cut into julienne strips (match-size)
1 medium avocado, slightly firm, (not super soft like you would normally choose) peeled, seeded and thinly sliced then cut into julienne strips (match-size)
½ cup cilantro, roughly chopped
20 fresh mint leaves, sliced lengthwise into thin slivers,
12-15 medium fresh basil leaves, sliced lengthwise into thin slivers
2 tablespoons toasted sesame seeds, chopped peanuts or toasted almonds, optional
Place all sliced and julienned vegetables and herbs in a large mixing bowl and toss gently to combine. Sprinkle with sesame seeds, peanuts or almonds, if desired. Serve with Ginger-Sesame Vinaigrette. I like to add about 2 tablespoons of the dressing when I’m tossing the ingredients together and then I pass the extra at the table.
* – I used this little fun device, you can read more about it above.
** – Sometimes daikon radishes are hard to find, I have substituted a peeled julienned parsnip and it was equally as good.