The Zen Salad
(From this week onwards, I will add a new short section on how you can spice your day/week with one of the ingredients I have in my recipe. It could be a spice, herb, vegetable, or fruit that I want to bring to the forefront to highlight its benefits. I hope this will be a welcome addition to my blog).
Spice of this week: Purple Cabbage
Benefits - Has a beautiful purple color that can enhance the appearance of any dish. High in Vitamin A, C, and K. Please click here to find more nutritional benefits.
Cooking tip: When cooked, the cabbage turns blue in color. In order to avoid this add a few drops of vinegar into the cooking medium.
As you all know, before coming to the U.S., I lived in Israel for a few years. It is a beautiful country with warm hearted people, awesome weather, white sandy beaches, and some darn good food. Even a normal roadside coffee shop serves the freshest salads. The bakeries there are to die for and showcase many different kinds of pastries and bread than anywhere else in the world. People there are just foodies and enjoy a much more laid back life, living in the moment.
One of my favorite chefs in Israel is Avi Conforti. He is a celebrity chef who owns multiple restaurants in Tel-Aviv that boast a dynamic and diverse menu. I love the way he puts different ingredients together to create dishes that are bold, bursting with flavor and color. This post is dedicated to him as I aspire to create something similar to what he serves in his restaurant, Zepra. On his menu he calls it the Buddha Salad, but I renamed it the Zen Salad as this dish has the perfect combination of colors, textures and flavors that totally satisfy my senses. The winner ingredient in this dish is the purple cabbage. The color just pops and gives a feeling that this salad is alive!
Thanks to my daughter, who insisted that she wanted to eat this salad a few evenings ago, I was forced to remember what the salad tasted like, which encouraged me recreate this recipe. I love the way the pictures have come out for this post; the colors are vibrant and enticing and does justice to the way this salad tastes.
The Zen Salad
Serves: 3-4 people
Prep and assembly time: 25 min
Equipment needed - A French Mandoline or something similar
Ingredients for the salad:
1 cup bean sprouts
1 cup fresh pea shoots
1 cup purple cabbage, thinly sliced
1 cup julienned (cut into matchsticks) carrots
½ cup julienned green apple
½ cup julienned jicama
¼ cup scallions, sliced thin on a diagonal
⅓ cup minced cilantro and mint leaves
¼ cup coarsely broken caramelized peanuts for garnish
Ingredients for the dressing:
1 Tbsp peanut oil
1 Tbsp apple vinegar
1 Tbsp Mirin
1 Tbsp Honey
juice of ¼ lime
zest of ½ lime
1 pinch crushed red pepper
Salt to taste
Combine all the ingredients for the salad in a big bowl, reserving only ¼ cup of the pea shoots for garnish. In a separate bowl whisk all the ingredients for the dressing. Now, add the dressing to the salad bowl and mix well. The tastes in this salad should be a bit exaggerated...it should be all of the following...sweet, lemony, and salty with touch of spice. Serve individually on plates and garnish with the reserved pea shoots and caramelized peanuts.