After an extra gloomy June here in Santa Monica, summer has officially arrived full force with sunny and warm days. With the first heat wave, we broke down and bought a floor AC unit and I really couldn’t be happier. There’s nothing worse than sweating indoors, right? Especially when you work from home.
We’ve taken to firing up the Big Green Egg several times a week to smoke ribs, grill fish, vegetables, and pizza. I made a big batch of fresh roasted tomato sauce (half went in the freezer) and have already eaten my body weight in stone fruit. I bought the first ears of summer corn from the farmers market last week which have been blistered over the fire and devoured or tossed into a succotash.
On nights we don’t want to turn on the grill, I’ve been making big, vegetable-centric salads. I made this crunchy thai salad twice in the last week, partly because it’s so delicious but also because it keeps well for lunch leftovers. It’s also easy to adapt to your tastes and current pantry situation.
This time, I made it with tender raw blue lake green beans, sweet red peppers, red onion, and lots of thai basil. Last week, I didn’t have thai basil so I used sweet basil and I also added shredded poached chicken (from a whole chicken which yielded two quarts of broth, too! If you want to go through the effort with the chicken, I explain how to do that in the recipe, but it’s just as filling without it). Cilantro would make a lovely swap or addition to the basil here, as would the addition of avocado, cherry tomatoes, or shaved or spiralized zucchini.
One thing to note: if you plan on eating this as leftovers, leave out any tender leaves like butter lettuce and soft herbs until you’re ready to eat.
- 1 whole chicken (optional)
- 1 small head cabbage, thinly sliced (green or napa cabbage)
- 4 carrots, peeled and julienned
- 1 small red onion, halved and thinly sliced
- 2 cups tender young green beans, trimmed and sliced
- 1 red bell pepper, cored and thinly sliced
- 4 scallions, thinly sliced
- 1 cup sweet or
thaibasil leaves, julienned
- 1 small head butter lettuce (optional)
- ½ cup slivered almonds
- sesame seeds, to taste
- 2 tbsp toasted sesame oil
- ¼ cup melted coconut oil
- 3 tbsp rice vinegar
- 1 tbsp soy sauce (gluten-free if needed)
- juice and zest of 1 lime
- 1 tbsp palm sugar or honey
1 inchpiece fresh ginger, grated
- 2 cloves garlic, grated
- 1 serrano pepper, minced (optional)
thaichili powder (optional)
- For the chicken, place in a large pot and fill with cold water to fully submerge the chicken. Add 1 tbsp salt and bring to a gentle boil. Partially cover and reduce to a simmer, cooking for about 30 minutes or until the chicken is cooked through. Remove the chicken from the pot and set aside to cool, reserving the cooking liquid. When cool enough to handle, pull the meat off the bones and shred. If you'd like to make the easiest chicken stock, return the bones and cartilage to the pot with the cooking liquid. Return to a bare simmer and cook for another 6 hours, until the liquid tastes good.
- While the chicken cooks, prepare the remaining salad ingredients.
- To make the dressing, put all the dressing ingredients in a lidded jar and shake thoroughly to emulsify. Taste and adjust seasonings to your liking.
- Combine half the dressing with the cabbage, carrots, and onion in a large salad bowl. Massage or toss thoroughly and let stand at room temperature to soften the cabbage for at least 30 minutes.
- When ready to assemble, toss in the remaining vegetables, as much shredded chicken as you like, the basil and almonds. Garnish with sesame seeds and serve.