This salad was inspired by a wrap that I had for lunch one day at a restaurant by my work. I don't know if I've eaten anything Thai-inspired that I didn't like, but I especially like the peanut flavored sauces. Can you go wrong with peanut butter in anything? I didn't think so. For a week after eating this wrap the peanut flavored sauce would just call to me and beg me to eat it again. Since I'm not much for going out to eat a lot, I tried to recreate the wrap at home in a salad form. (I'm just as inept eating wraps as I am tacos. In my opinion, all my food is much better of being speared by a fork than handled by my hands.) I looked up some Thai peanut sauces and dressings and found most sauces were yummy but WAY too heavy for a salad with lettuce. After some trial and error, I put together a dressing that is peanutty enough for my cravings but not too much to put on a green salad. This salad works great with some chicken as a dinner salad, or as a side dish. You can even put it in a wrap if you are more coordinated than I am, which I'm sure you are.
To put it together I start with the dressing. If you cook Asian food a lot these are things you probably already have. If not, I'd say most of them are easy to find in the Asian section of your grocery store. The bottled fresh ginger, which I think is genius in terms of convenience and shelf life, is usually in the produce section on an endcap with the minced garlic and sundried tomatoes.
All you do is put everything together and whisk it up. If you have on of those little dressing shakers, that would work, too. The peanut butter is the hardest part to mix in, so you might need to be patient.
Next, prepare your rice noodles. These are also in the Asian section of the grocery store. To soften them, just cover with hot tap water for about ten minutes and then drain.
Chop up your veggies. I usually used red bell pepper because I like the taste and color.
Throw everything together in a big bowl.
Add your dressing and serve.
Simple Green Thai Salad
3 T peanut butter
2 T rice wine vinegar
2 T lime juice
2 T soy sauce
1 tsp fresh ginger, minced
1/2 tsp sriracha chili sauce
1 tsp sesame oil
Mix together and taste. You might want to add a few T of water to get the dressing to a consistency/strength that is good for you.
1 head of romaine lettuce, chopped
1 red bell pepper
1 cup rice sticks (sometimes called rice noodles)
1 cup bean sprouts
1/2 peanuts, chopped
1 1/2 cups cubed cooked chicken (optional)
1 T chopped green onions (optional)