Aside from the fact that I served my friend Emily a pile of Jason’s Deli bean salad mixed with tofu and tomatoes, topped with cold, leftover, White Bean & Sun Dried Tomato Pasta, when she came over for dinner the other night….
Although every time people are coming over, I stress and worry that the ratio of side dishes to meat won’t be adequate and that there won’t be enough food or too many desserts* I’m slowly learning that sticking to a few ‘tried and trues’ and letting everything else fall as it may might actually work out most of the time.
So, when The Professor and I decided to have the new members of his department over for a cookout, I first freaked out about the wording of the invitation, the potential of having only four bags of chips and twelve-packs of beer as contributions, and how much work I was going to have to do to prepare.
But then I pushed pause, took a breath, and looked to the binder of tried-and-true recipes I’ve collected from family and friends over the years.
And of course, that was the biggest hit of the dinner.*
Everyone has some version of “the Asian salad“–so called, I’m sure, simply for the use of ramen noodles as a topping. My Aunt Elizabeth’s version–which I’ve recreated before–has nothing really “Asian” about it at all except for those little crunchers (which will get soft if you prep the salad too early, but I like it anyway).*
So I don’t know what to call it, except for the “I Don’t Even Like Salad!” Salad, because that’s a paraphrase of most of the comments I’ve received every time I’ve ever made it.
The “I Don’t Even Like Salad!” Salad
- 1/2 head of cabbage, shredded (about 6 cups or so)
- 10 oz. baby spinach, torn
- 1 bunch green onions, sliced (whites and light green parts)
- 1/3 cup sliced almonds
- 1 package ramen noodles, seasoning packet discarded
- 3 Tbsp. sesame seeds (optional)
- 1/2 cup canola or grapeseed oil
- 2-3 Tbsp. water
- 6-8 Tbsp. rice vinegar
- 1 1/2 Tbsp. seasoned salt
- 1 Tbsp. sugar
- 1 1/2 tsp. dijon mustard
- 1 tsp. black pepper
- 1 tsp. light soy sauce
- just a drop (!) of toasted sesame oil