Right around this time of year, the early summer salad boredom sets in. Potato salad? Eh. Another green salad? Maybe later. So without fail in mid to late June, I start experimenting with different salad and dressing combinations to keep it interesting. Right now, this mixture of crisp napa cabbage, carrots and radishes mixed with a velvety peanut dressing is my absolute #1 go-to salad.
This summer side dish is not quite coleslaw, and definitely not green salad. It's beyond definition and quite wonderful for it. If I can make a confession, I actually make the dressing and keep it in the refrigerator to spread on tofu or veggie sandwiches or to dip veggies in. It has a subtle bite from the citrus, a nuttiness from the sesame oil, and a creaminess from the peanut butter. I think you're going to like it.
I've done this salad with added tofu or even soba noodles to make it more of a substantial entree. Feel free to do either, but I generally also double the amount of dressing in that case to ensure it coats every extra addition evenly. And if you can't find Napa cabbage at your grocery store, feel free to use any cabbage on hand. Also, toss in any little crunchy vegetables you may have laying around in the crisper: celery, bell pepper, or cucumber would be great here.
Peanut, Carrot, and Cabbage Slaw
For the dressing: 3 tablespoons peanut butter 3 tablespoons rice wine vinegar 1 tablespoon soy sauce 1 tablespoon sesame oil 1 tablespoon olive oil 2 tablespoons freshly-squeezed lemon juice
For the salad: 3 cups napa cabbage, shredded (from one head of a cabbage) 4 large carrots, grated 4 green onions, sliced thinly 4 large radishes, sliced thinly 1 teaspoon sesame seeds, to top 1/4 cup chopped peanuts, to top
To make the dressing, combine all of the dressing ingredients in a small bowl and whisk vigorously to combine.
In a large salad bowl, combine cabbage, carrot, green onions and radishes. Toss with dressing. Top with sesame seeds and peanuts. Serve immediately or chill before serving. This salad is best the day it's prepared although it's just fine the next day if covered and refrigerated.