Posts Tagged ‘great salads’

Do you sometimes get inexplicable cravings? I’m not referring to the sudden craving for a little something sweet or salty in the afternoon. I’m talking about the sudden, strong craving for a specific dish.

Well that happened to me about a month ago. I suddenly started craving Gado Gado, the common Indonesia salad of fresh vegetables, egg and peanut curry sauce. We don’t go to any Indonesian restaurants here in the Bay Area, so it’s not like I simply hadn’t been in a while and was missing a favorite dish. In fact, we typically go to an Indonesian restaurant only once a year, when we’re in Amsterdam visiting my husband’s family during the summer holiday. But we missed going this year–despite having a reservation at Kantjil in Amsterdam, since our flight from France was severely delayed. (Do not get me started on Easy Jet flight horror stories!)

The strong craving I experienced came on suddenly and would not go away. But luckily, I have a great recipe for Gado Gado that’s super easy!

This is a basic recipe (for 4) which you can modify to your liking. For example, you can substitute other vegetables, but I think this combination makes for the best in terms of taste, texture and color. The great thing about this salad is you need very little prep time, and you can often make it with ingredients you already have on hand.



1 tsp salt

1-1/2 cups green beans, trimmed

4 large organic eggs

1-1/2 cups fresh bean sprouts

1-1/2 cups radishes, trimmed and quartered

1/2 English cucumber, peeled, halved lengthwise and cut crosswise into 1/4-inch-thick slices

1 package 14oz extra-firm tofu

1 tbsp cornstarch

2 tsp red curry or Madras curry powder

1/2 tsp sea salt

2 tbsp avocado oil


Peanut Sauce

1/2 cup smooth peanut butter

3 tbsp hot water

3 tbsp fresh lime juice

1 tbsp soy sauce

2 tsp brown sugar

2 tsp Thai red curry paste

1/4 tsp sea salt

2 tsp sambal oelek or Sriracha (optional)



Place tofu on a plate layered with 2-3 paper towels. Place eggs in a saucepan and cover with water and a sprinkle of salt. Bring to a rolling boil; cover, turn off heat and let stand 12 minutes. Remove eggs from pan using a slotted spoon; rinse with cold water; peel and cut in half.

Return pan to boil; add green beans and cook 4-5 minutes or until tender-crisp. Drain; rinse with cold water; pat dry and set aside.

In the meantime, prepare the tofu. Cut the block lengthwise into four 1/2-inch-thick slices. Place the slices on 2-3 layers of paper towels on a plate. Cover with more paper towels and a plate turned upside down. Let stand at least 5 minutes. Cut cross-wise to make 1/2-inch cubes. Combine cornstarch, curry powder, and 1/4 tsp salt. Gently toss tofu to coat.

Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add oil to pan. Add tofu and cook for 10-12 minutes or until nicely crisp and browned on all sides.

Prepare peanut sauce by whisking all sauce ingredients together. Adjust seasoning to taste. If the sauce is thicker than you want, add a little extra hot water to thin it down. Note: I leave out the samba oelek or Sriracha if it’s a family dinner since my kids don’t like things too spicy–yet.

Cut the green beans into 2-inch pieces; arrange on a platter. Arrange eggs halves, bean sprouts, radishes and cucumbers. Serve with sauce on the side. Store leftover vegetables and sauce separately in airtight containers in the refrigerator. They make a great lunch the next day!






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This is one of my forever favorite salads. I know that┬ásounds a bit corny, but it’s accurate. I think most people consider this a winter salad because that’s typically when you find endive and pears in abundance, but depending on where you live, you can get these ingredients year-round.

I love this salad because it’s bursting with flavor, full of prebiotics (which feed the good bacteria, probiotics, in your gut), and it reminds me of many a meal eaten in France–being the hopeless romantic I am. I also appreciate that this salad works as well served alongside grilled or roasted meats as it does served with a rich-tasting, creamy-textured soup, such as butternut squash or cauliflower.

This salad looks prettiest if you tear your radicchio leaves and leave the endive leaves whole. It also looks best with the pear thinly sliced. However, it also makes for more challenging eating, so the salad is captured here with everything chopped into very manageable bites.

But let’s get on with it.


Ingredients for 4 servings

2 heads endive, trimmed, leaves separated and cleaned

1 bunch/small head radicchio

1 large pear (use Bartlett, Comice, D’anjou)

1/3 cup crumbly Gorgonzola cheese

2 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil

2 tsp champagne vinegar

1/2 tsp Dijon mustard

1/2 tsp honey, optional

Sea salt

Fresh-ground pepper



Slice or tear the radicchio leaves and put in a large bowl. Slice the endive leaves or toss whole into the bowl. Core the pear and slice very thin or cut into chunks.

In a small bowl, whisk the olive oil, vinegar, mustard, honey (if using, and about 1/2 tsp salt and 1/4 tsp pepper. Adjust to taste. Drizzle the dressing over the salad and toss to coat evenly. Crumble the cheese over, toss lightly again and serve immediately.


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