The Pan-Asian All-Purpose Side Salad

August 9, 2010

That title is a mouthful, and so is this recipe.  I came up with this salad, because as the title suggests, I wanted a side salad to accompany any Asian main dish.  It has elements of Chinese, Japanese and Southeast Asian cuisines; the Hoisin sauce is one of the greatest Chinese culinary inventions ever; the rice vinegar and the sesame seeds are a nod to Japanese influence; and the peanuts and fresh herbs are common in Southeast Asia, particularly Thailand and Vietnam.  While regionally divided, the flavors come together nicely.  If you want to take the time to make your own peanut sauce, feel free…I have found a couple of bottled versions that are quite good (just make sure it’s one that’s made in Asia and not someplace like Nashville or Omaha).  As for the veggies, you can certainly add your favorites, but I find less is more, as you want the flavor of the dressing and the herbs to shine through.  As I mentioned, you can pair this with pretty much any Asian main course.  Enjoy!

The MHK’s Pan-Asian All-Purpose Side Salad w/ Peanut-Hoisin Vinaigrette

(serves 4)


¼ cup Hoisin sauce

¼ cup peanut sauce

1 tbsp. rice vinegar

1 tbsp. peanut oil or vegetable oil

½ tsp. red pepper flakes (to taste)

¼ cup chopped peanuts


1 head leafy lettuce (Romaine, butter, red leaf)

½ cup carrots, julienned or shredded

1 cucumber, sliced thin or julienned

½ cup fresh basil, torn

¼ cup fresh cilantro, chopped

1 tsp. sesame seeds (preferably toasted)

Whisk dressing ingredients together in a small bowl until well blended.  Taste for spiciness and salt (you may need a little salt if using unsalted peanuts).  Combine salad ingredients together in a large bowl, pour in dressing and toss to coat.  Eat!


One comment

  1. […] not to put off my less spice-loving diners) – but if you like spicy, add a lot.  Serve with my Pan-Asian All Purpose Side Salad and you’ve got a healthy and delicious meal.  […]

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