This month’s project for The Salad Bar Monthly Blogging Group is an Asian-themed salad. The heap of colorful first-of-fall winter squash at my food co-op tempted me, and in keeping with the Asian theme I picked out a small, pumpkin-like Red Kuri. It turned out to be a good choice. Its firm, non-stringy flesh with a delicate chestnut flavor held together well when baked and cubed.
I’ve used baked or roasted squash in salad several times now and this time turned out the best. I also used steamed broccoli, peas, a little brown rice, and Asian-style Almond Cilantro Sesame Dressing. A peanut dressing would be more traditionally Asian, but since I am allergic to peanuts I use almond butter instead and everyone seems to like it that way.
I used a half-recipe of dressing, without any red pepper flakes this time and with a little extra vinegar to thin it out. My husband and I liked the salad, my son took one look at the broccoli and decided to have bread and raspberry jam for dinner. Oh well.
- For the dressing:
- ⅓ cup almond butter
- 3 Tbsp. brown rice vinegar (or substitute white wine or champagne vinegar if you don't have that)
- 2 Tbsp. maple syrup
- 2 Tbsp. water
- 1 Tbsp. tamari
- 1-2 Tbsp. ginger root, peeled and minced
- 1 tsp. dark sesame oil
- ½ cup chopped cilantro
- For the salad:,
- 5 cups broccoli (florets broken up, stems peeled and chopped, steamed)
- 1¼ cup cooked green peas
- 1 small baked kuri squash (about 1¾#) baked, cooled, skin removed, cubed.
- 1½ cups cooked long or short grain brown rice.
- salt to taste
- For the dressing:
- Combine all ingredients in a high-powered blender such as a Vitamix, blend until smooth.
- For the salad:
- Cook brown rice in water on the stove or in a rice cooker. Rather than make only a tiny bit of rice I used a little over a cup of dry rice and had extra.
- Bake the squash at 350. I bake it for a short while until softened, then remove it from the oven, cut it in half, remove the seeds, and return it to the oven to finish baking. This has the disadvantage of handling the hot squash, but the advantage of not having to cut the very hard raw squash in half. Cook the squash until done, about 1 hour.
- Cook green peas in a pot with a small amount of water for several minutes until just done.
- Cut florets off broccoli, cut or break into small pieces. Peel broccoli stem and cut into small pieces. Steam broccoli florets and stem until tender but not overdone, about 7 or 8 minutes.
- Combine vegetables and dressing in a large bowl, mix. Salt to taste.