Sturdy Spring Salad

By • May 18, 2014 0 Comments

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Author Notes: This is one of those substantial but refreshing salads that seems like it can hold its own as a meal, be topped with an egg, and even keep in the fridge for a day afterward without going limp (so it's great for taking to work or on a picnic). It gets its crunch from mung bean sprouts and fresh asparagus that has been lightly charred. There’s a spicy sweetness to the dressing which is balanced by the slight bitterness of endive, and the bright kick is balanced by a little avocado. Never trust a salad recipe that claims you have to follow it exactly. Think of this as the beginning to a beautiful friendship.Katie Okamoto


Serves 4


  • 1.5 cups mung bean sprouts, rinsed thoroughly and drained
  • 2 small garlic cloves, chopped finely
  • 6 button or cremini mushrooms, or equivalent Japanese King Trumpets if you're fancy
  • 1/2 mid-sized yellow onion, sliced into 1/4"-wide slivers
  • 8 stalks spring asparagus, washed, with the tough ends snapped off, and sliced into 1"-long pieces
  • 1 small endive, bruised leaves removed, chopped in thin slices shortwise
  • 1 large carrot, washed and peeled
  • 1 small cucumber, sliced in half lengthwise, seeds removed, and sliced thin
  • 1 bunch fresh cilantro, washed and dried, tough stems removed, and chopped roughly
  • 1/4 ripe avocado, diced
  • 1 tablespoon canola or safflower oil for the pan
  • 1 splash Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil
  • 2 teaspoons dried chili flakes
  • salt and pepper to taste


  • 1/2 cup raw unsalted cashews, chopped roughly
  • 1 organic lime, washed and zested
  • 1/4 cup rice vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon sriracha or gochujang
  • 1/2 teaspoon agave nectar (or 1 tsp honey)
  1. Heat a frying pan on medium high and lightly coat it with canola oil or another neutral oil. Add chopped garlic and chili flakes to the pan, stirring them around to prevent burning. When the garlic is turning blonde and has begun to brown, add the mung bean sprouts to the pan and toss them around. Add a scant dash of Worcestershire sauce and stir fry until they are just tender (no longer than two minutes). Turn off the pan and drizzle with toasted sesame oil, using a light hand, as the sesame oil is very flavorful. Remove the sprouts to a large heat-safe salad or mixing bowl.
  2. Bring the same pan to medium heat and add the sliced onions. Add a sprinkle of tap water and cover the pan for about one minute to sweat and brown. Remove the cover and stir the onions to prevent burning, then add the sliced mushrooms. Cook until the mushrooms are tender and beginning to brown. Remove from heat and add them to the bowl.
  3. Bring the pan to high heat and add the asparagus. Sprinkle with a pinch of sea salt and allow the asparagus to char in the pan by not stirring them more than a couple of times. When the asparagus is lightly charred on a couple of sides, is bright green, and still has snap to it, remove it from the pan and add it to the bowl.
  4. While this cools slightly, take your carrot and carefully peel long ribbons with a vegetable peeler. When the carrot is becoming too thin to peel, eat the rest of the carrot. Add the ribbons and sliced endive to the bowl, top with chopped cilantro, avocado and sliced cucumber, and toss.
  5. Dress the salad, sprinkle with chopped cashews, and eat.

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