In countries like Thailand and Laos, meals include what might be the simplest salad of all: a plate of assorted raw vegetables and herbs. Unseasoned and dressing-free, this type of salad still satisfies, and is especially refreshing during the heat of summer.
The key to a good plate of Southeast Asian-style raw vegetables is having an assortment of flavors and textures. I especially like the crunch of Chinese longbeans, the herbal bite of cilantro and the sweetness of cabbage, but any flavorful green vegetable or herb will work. (Check out our guide to Asian greens for more ideas.)
These salads are typically eaten with your hands, so the vegetables can be cut into manageable — but not necessarily bite-sized — chunks, and the herbs can be left whole on their stems. Simple, flavorful and almost prep-free, this is the type of salad I often turn to when I am cooking a fuss-free meal for one.
What are your favorite vegetables and herbs for this type of plate?
Related: In Praise of Cherry Vinegar and Simple Summer Salads
(Image: Flickr member clayirving licensed under Creative Commons)