Off late I have been eating a lot of salads…..you see I am determined to lose a lot of weight. Like Queen Latifah, I am not going to tell you how much …..just that by my birthday, at the end of the year, I am going to be a new me !!!! To that goal, I have been exercising like a maniac and eating right……..not a minuscule amount just enough . I am also eating the right foods hence salads although I eat most of my salads at dinner not lunch like many. I have always wondered about that….people eat sandwiches and salads for lunch and then eat meat, potatoes, pizza, pasta, rice and so on for dinner . But you go to bed after dinner whereas after lunch you still have to chug on with the rest of the day. I know eating a big meal and then working is hard but that does’nt mean you can’t eat a small portion to give you fuel. This reduces snacking let me tell ya !!!! I have’nt snacked in days. I have also lost a good amount of weight. I still have to lose more but I am taking it slow and doing it right so that I can keep the weight off and not gain it back !!!!
Anyway, since I began all this , its been hard to eat outside especially at lunch with the kids as they prefer these burger joints and fast food places and even though I love salads , I do not like to eat a bowl of salad greens with some random white dressing …which is what you get at those places if you get it without the meat !!!! My sis ,S, a few years introduced me to a chain of restaurants called “ Sweet Tomatoes “ …….its a salad bar where you go along the buffet , pick ingredients for your salad, then the dressings and toppings . There are also some prepared salads and you have soups, pasta and fruits . I love the place and the thing that pleases me the most is that the variety of choices is perfect for kids. They are not limited to eating just one thing …….D loves to eat pasta and corn while A loves to eat the foccacia topped with tomato sauce and cheese ….he calls it a pizza and crunchy noodles. N will eat pasta, apples, crunchy noodles and all three will literally wipe their plates clean just so that they can eat the soft serve ice cream !!!!
While there a couple of weeks back, my friend M and I ate a salad with this delicious and creamy peanut dressing and between the 2 of us we kinda figured out some of the ingredients. Last week when we were there for lunch we had the same dressing but this time it was in a pasta salad and it was equally delicious !! I had seen a peanut dressing in one of Nigella Lawson’s cookbooks and another in Ina Garten’s ……… are my stars telling me something ???? So off to the market to pick up some ingredients for the salad. The dressing however is made with ingredients from the pantry only !!!! I have made is twice since then and I love it every single time.
SALAD WITH CREAMY PEANUT DRESSING
2-3 cups Mixed Salad Greens
1 cup Mangoes, peeled and cubed
¼ cup Red Onions, sliced
½ cup Bell Peppers, cut in strips
1 stalk Spring Onion, cut on the diagonal
½ cup Carrots, grated
2-3 tbsp Sunflower, toasted
1 ½ tbsp Basil, cut in a chiffonade
1 ½ tbsp Mint, cut in a chiffonade
1 ½ tbsp Cilantro, chopped
3 tbsp Peanut Butter
3 tbsp Vegetable Oil
1 tbsp Sesame Oil
juice of 1 Lime
1 tsp Chilli Paste
1 ½ tbsp Honey
1 tsp Ginger, grated
1 tsp Ginger, minced
½ tsp Pepper
1 ½ tsp Salt
Mix together all the ingredients for the salad.
Dress the salad and serve immediately.
This is one delicious salad and the dressing is superb……..oh yes I love it !!! The peanut butter makes the dressing creamy and since I use natural peanut butter, you get an intense peanut flavor without the overwhelming sweetness. The ginger adds a warmth and earthiness….since a very small amount is used, you just get the warmth and you have to analyze it for a moment to arrive at ginger. Though the amount of chilli paste seems large , it is required to balance the honey .
I used a mix of salad greens….Bibb lettuce, romaine lettuce, red cabbage and so on. I used mangoes as we had some ..I think asian Pears would be great in it. The same goes for the sunflower seeds…I had a large bag and I love them. I suppose you could do the obvious and garnish with crushed peanuts or even crunchy noodles for that matter. I find that cooking is as much as process of using flavours you savour as it is following or creating a recipe. Did I make sense there ?? I added herbs for the freshness and the aroma……it is like taking a whiff of the garden .
A couple of interesting facts for your perusal……..almost 2 % of the north American population is allergic to peanuts. Now that does not hold true for the other countries where peanuts are widely grown and eaten…places like India, China, Pakistan, Peru, Southeast Asia, certain parts of Africa. A study indicates that it is the roasting process used in the US that causes this reaction. Also the fact that children here are not exposed to different cuisines also contributes to this !! Another interesting titbit…..most people who are allergic to peanuts are not allergic to refined peanut oil that has’nt been used to cook peanuts !!! I have to say google and wikipedia ….some of the best things ever invented !!!