Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Thai Inspired Cabbage Salad with Creamy Tahini Lime Dressing...

This is one of my favorite salads. Seriously. I’ve been making it frequently over the past couple of years and though it’s super simple and easy it never fails to amaze me just how satisfied I am after eating it. This is one of those recipes that came about because a growling hunger was gnawing at my stomach at a time when my refrigerator was looking pretty sparse, so I had to make due with what I had. Sometimes that’s the best way to cook. Though it can be restrictive to cook with an empty fridge and an empty pantry, it can simultaneously be inspiring. It can provide you with the kind of freedom to be creative that you might not have otherwise. There’s always something a little magical in that.

Over the years this recipe has changed and transformed. The basic heart of it however has stayed the same. It was initially inspired by Thai flavors, - Thai cuisine being one of my favorites - and those hot lazy days of mid-summer when you don't want to do a lot of cooking anyway. Though no matter how I choose to make it these days, it always has the same six basic ingredients. Cabbage, cilantro, green onions, tahini, lime juice and soy sauce. Some days I use a little more of this, or a lot more of that. Some days I throw certain ingredients in, and leave others out, it all depends on my mood and what I have on hand, and that’s the beauty of this. It’s versatile! There are no hard and fast rules to making it, as long as you have those six basic ingredients it’s a winner every time.

I really do love the cool crisp cabbage slathered in thick rich, creamy, and nutty tahini. The sourness of the lime, the saltiness of the soy sauce, the bite of the onion, and the earthiness of the cilantro. It’s such a satisfying combination, made even better by various additions. A little sweetness from agave, or bell pepper, extra crunch from bean sprouts, a little spice from the radish. Cool and creamy avocado, or sweet mango, a hint of ginger or a hint of garlic. This version that I present to you is definitely a more jazzed up version of that original salad that I first made years ago, but it is extremely delicious. Of course it’s meant to be simple, so if you don’t have everything on the list don’t fret. In keeping with the spirit of the original work with what you have, and enjoy!

Thai Inspired Cabbage Salad with Creamy Tahini Lime Dressing 

1 Small Nappa Cabbage sliced thin
½ Head Red Cabbage sliced thin
1 Large handful bean sprouts
2 Large Carrots shredded
1 bunch green onions Sliced
1 bunch cilantro Minced
6 Red Radishes Sliced Thin
1 Cucumber Sliced thin
1 Red Bell Pepper Sliced thin
Handful of Raw or Roasted Unsalted Peanuts

Half a Mango sliced thin (Optional)
Half an Avocado sliced thin (Optional)

Creamy Tahini Lime Dressing

4 TBSP Tahini
4 Tbsp Lime Juice
2 Tbsp Tamari
2 Tbsp Water (as needed)
1 Tbsp Agave
1 small piece Ginger Grated finely
1 Clove Garlic Minced
1/8 tsp Cayenne

- To make the salad slice, chop or mince all ingredients as directed and place into a large mixing bowl.

- Whisk together all the dressing ingredients in a small bowl and taste for flavor. Adjust seasonings as needed if you want more lime, more tamari, more garlic etc.. or if you need to thin it more with a little water.

- When the dressing is to your taste pour it over the salad in the mixing bowl. Mix the salad thoroughly to combine and serve!

- Enjoy garnished with extra cilantro and peanuts if desired. Or with sliced avocado and/or sliced mango.

PS: I chose to use Tahini here in the dressing because I love it, and it's what I had on hand. However if you were interested in a more traditional Thai taste, you could easily substitute almond butter or peanut butter for the Tahini. Though it's not something I do myself i'm sure it would be just as lovely.


  1. i think am going to love this the color and the sauce specially the kick from cayenne

  2. Thank you, I hope you enjoy it. Cayenne is always such a great addition to dishes, because in most cases you don't need to use that much to get a lot of flavor!