Here’s the thing about salad… and Mondays.
Yes, they are typical to put together, BUT the way I do it is it a little different than the way some may do it.
Monday’s can be pretty rough (at least for me), so instead of a salad with boring lettuce and a dressing that lacks flavor, you know, the ones that make you wish it was Friday again and eating the cheesiest of pizzas. The way I do a salad is worthy of a Friday night meal…but still healthy!
Because in my opinion, that is the only way to do salad. And Monday.
This salad has some of my all time favorite flavors. Especially now that it is summer, Thai food just screams summer food to me.
I mean can we just look at the beautiful colors going on in this salad for a second? Gosh, I just love the colors. They make me smile.
So, there is kind of a lot going on here.
Let’s just start with the salad base. I was at the grocery store and they had this huge box of baby kale with an even huger (is that a word?) mark down sticker on it. Of course I had to go check it out. You guys, this baby kale was the cutest. Not a bad leaf in sight. Obviously, I snatched that box up before anyone else even knew it was there.
But then, when I got home, I didn’t know what to do with the baby kale. I thought “Oh NO! I have all this cute baby kale. What do I do with it?”.
From there I just decided to throw it in a big bowl and stare at it for a while. Then I went to the pantry, grabbed a handful of my all-time favorite Thai ingredients (my homemade sweet Thai chili sauce included – because I cannot get enough of it) and started mixing things. Then I knew I was going Thai all way with this one.
I had also bought some flank steak at the store, so that was going in too. Aside from the steak there had to be tons and tons of veggies. I can never get enough veggies and fruits – love them, but I bet you already knew that.
I also threw in some hard-boiled eggs because I had some in the fridge since my little sister Asher eats like six a day. NO JOKE. The little five-year old loves hard-boiled eggs. Honestly, she practically survives off them. We better hope those little chickens of ours can seriously crank out the eggs. We shall see soon…
Once I had all the veggies and kale in a bowl, I just looked at it. It seemed to be missing an element. Then I remembered the edamame in the freezer. YES. Just what the salad needed.
FYI, I recommend buying the shelled edamame. I think I spent thirty minutes of my day shelling edamame. So boring.
For the dressing I wanted to keep it simple and light, but still somewhat creamy. I went with a tahini based dressing because I never use tahini and wanted to do something a little different. So glad I did, this dressing is one of my most favorites. It is so good. If you are a dressing lover, I highly recommend doubling it. You are going to want it all for yourself.
As for the cashews? Well, I think every salad needs a good crunch factor and nuts are my go to. Especially cashews, they are my favorite. So to top it all off, I took my cashews and went and added some sesame oil, chili powder and lime to the mix. Pure perfection atop a salad if you ask me.
Wow, I am realizing I just talked your ear off about this salad. And on a Monday too! Ugh. So sorry, I am clearly very excited about this meal. It’s a new favorite and I know it may seem like it has a lot of ingredients, but I promise the recipe comes together so quickly. TRUST ME. You have to try this one.
Thai Steak Salad w/Sweet + Spicy Tahini Dressing and Sesame Chili-Lime Cashews.
- Serving Size: 4-6
- Preparation time: 25 minutes
- Cook time: 15 minutes
- Total time: 40 minutes
- 1 teaspoon sesame oil
- 1/2 teaspoon chili powder
- 1 1/3 cups raw cashews
- 1-2 teaspoons honey
- 1 lime, zested
- 2 limes, juiced + the zest of 1 lime
- 2 tablespoons fish sauce (don't be afraid!)
- 2 tablespoons ponzu sauce (or soy sauce, but ponzu sauce is best and works better here)
- 2-3 tablespoons sweet thai chili sauce (I used 3 tablespoons)
- 1-2 cloves garlic, minced or grated (depending on you taste, I used 1)
- 1 tablespoon fresh ginger, grated
- 2-3 tablespoons tahini (sesame seed paste) (may sub peanut butter, but I loved the tahini)
- 4 cups baby kale or other dark leafy green
- 1 (16 ounce) bag frozen shelled edamame, defrosted and cooked for 3-5 min. in boiling water
- 3 carrots, shredded or chopped
- 2 bell peppers (red, yellow and or orange), sliced thin
- 1 cup fresh or frozen mango, chopped into chunks
- 2 lemongrass stalks, chopped
- 4 green onions, chopped
- 3/4 cups of fresh basil, cilantro and mint (I only used 1/3 cup mint)
- 4 hard boiled eggs, chopped (optional)
- 1/4 cup black and/or white sesame seeds, toasted
Heat a small skillet over medium heat and add the sesame oil, cashews and chili powder, toss well. Cook over medium heat until lightly toasted and browned, about five minutes. During the last minute of cooking add in the honey (I used 2 tablespoons). Remove from the heat and add the lime zest and 1 tablespoon black sesame seeds. Toss well and set aside.
Add the steak to a glass pyrex dish or gallon size ziplock bag.
In a glass measuring cup or bowl whisk together the lime juice + zest, fish sauce, ponzu sauce, sweet thai chili sauce, garlic and ginger. Pour about 1/4 -1/3 of the dressing over the steak, cover or seal the bag and place in the fridge while you prep the rest of the salad, at least 15 minutes (the longer the better).
Meanwhile add the tahini to a small bowl and microwave until melted and smooth, about 15-20 seconds. Add the melted tahini to the dressing, whisk until smooth. Taste and add more tahini or sweet thai chili sauce to your liking, set aside.
In a large bowl add the kale, edamame, carrots, bell peppers, mango chunks, lemon grass and green onions. Give it all a good toss.
Heat a grill or grill pan to high heat.
Once hot sear the steak for 5-8 minutes, flip and sear another 5 minutes or until your desired doneness is reached. Remove the steak and allow to rest 5 minutes. Slice steak thinly against the grain and add to the salad. Add the dressing and remaining sesame seeds. Toss to coat and massage the dressing into the veggies for 1-2 minutes. Add the eggs and cashews. Serve warm or cover and place in the fridge until ready to eat. I personally love this served warm.
*You can add the dressing just before serving or add it and let the salad sit in the fridge a few hours. The kale holds up nicely and the flavors have a chance to mend together in the fridge, but I love this salad slightly warm!
I can guarantee it will spice up your Monday!