I have mentioned the avocado and cashews, but didn’t want to scare you by mentioning one of the other key ingredients in this rather heavenly salad. It is an ingredient that I usually cannot abide with anything other than a bowl, and perhaps a squirt of lime.
Not to sound like Dr Suess, but I don’t want it upside down on a cake, embedded in a perfectly good pizza, or plonked into a Chinese meal. No, no, no. Can you guess what it is?
I am assuming that you are like me.
Pineapple. Perfectly ripe white or golden pineapple needs nothing at all but itself. Its sugar-dripping self. Like a sun-warmed, just-picked peach or mango, your best accompaniment is always going to be a sink. Or bath, if you are lucky.
Messing with any of these is like a slap in the face to Mother Nature. Peel it, shove it in your gob and get over any pretension of improving it. You won’t.
I’ve made a notable exception to my exceptionally purist stance for this summery, fresh vegan meal salad. It just goes.
And how it goes. Leave it out at your peril. The zing, the sweet, the perfume. Heaven on a plate. It won’t beat eating slices of just-cut pineapple on a paradisiacal island from whence it was grown; or over the kitchen sink, juice whizzing everywhere. But it might come close.
I’m away to the bath…
Fragrant Thai Avocado and Cashew Salad
This mix of soft herbs and avocado, crunchy cashews, bursting pineapple and the drinkable dressing is heavenly; the key is to have everything chopped, sliced and otherwise prepped before assembling.
Add cooked chicken or prawns if you aren’t bothered about keeping it vegan. Play with other additions, too: blanched mung bean sprouts, shredded carrot, fried tofu, spring onions. But don’t forget the pineapple. It’s a knockout. And the salad is full of healthy, satisfying fats, too.
Amounts are approximate; use weights and measures as you see fit. The dressing will do for two plates. Enjoy. xx
Two large handfuls of watercress or rocket (or spicy leaves of any kind) OR spinach, rocket, watercress salad mix
1/4 small ripe pineapple, peeled, cored and thinly sliced or as chunks (you may have ore than needed here)
1/4 (English/hothouse) cucumber, deseeded and thinly sliced
Handful of radishes, topped, tailed and thinly sliced
Coriander/cilantro leaves, picked over – about a palmful
Mint leaves (Vietnamese if you can get it), picked over – about a palmful
50-75g raw cashews, either roasted in a 180C oven for 8 minutes or dry-toasted in a pan on the hob, cooled
2 heaped tbsp puffed brown rice or quinoa, lightly toasted in oven or dry pan – optional
2 heaped tbsp large coconut flakes, lightly toasted as above
1 small ripe, creamy avocado, sliced
2 tbsp crispy, salt-free shallots (found in tubs in any Chinese supermarket and many grocery stores)
Palmful of sprouts, such as quinoa and broccoli (I use Good 4 U Nutrition ones, available at Tesco and Sainsburys)
Lime wedges, to serve
The Thai Dressing
1 tbsp light soy sauce, coconut aminos or fish sauce
Juice of half a large lime
Any pineapple juice leftover from your chopping duties
1 fresh red chilli, deseeded and very finely chopped (nibble the tip of the chilli for hotness and judge whether to use it all or not)
1 flat tsp palm sugar or light brown sugar – more to taste
1. Mix of the dressing and set aside for the sugar to melt.
2. Layer all of the ingredients onto each plate, ending with the puffed rice, coconut and shallots. Drizzle over the dressing just before serving.
Variation: add drifts of cooked vermicelli rice noodles for a “Summer Roll” salad.
** If you are reading this from the website Easy Low Cal Recipes, this is published without my permission – as are all other posts of mine on this site. **