My CSA listserv lied to me this week. They usually send out an email when the produced has arrived, listing which fruits and vegetables we can look forward to. Here’s this week’s bounty:
Tomatoes (!!, yes, first tomatoes, and they are beautiful)
If you are looking at that list, and thinking, gahh, corn season!!!!! then you are not alone. It didn’t take more than a hot second for me to rush out the door ready to get this corn, bring it home, and shove it in my face.
Too bad when I got there, there was no corn.
It was a mistake on their part, putting it on the list. But ‘corn’ and ‘bell pepper’ are spelled nothing alike! I still think some sneaky switching went on…
But I digress. I am MORE than happy to accept an armful of gorgeous bell peppers. I’ve been trying to include more salads/raw foods in my diet (and I decided to start tagging ‘high-raw’ recipes on my blog, too). I’m no WFPB-purist, but I love the way that a big serving of raw fruits and vegetables makes me feel, and fills me up without being heavy. Besides, it’s summer, prime season for so many things that are delicious raw – from fragrant herbs, to bitter greens, to crunchy carrots, to sweet, luxurious bell peppers. (Don’t even get me started on cucumbers – or stone fruits, for that matter – especially since I didn’t get any cukes this week and I’m sad).
About the lemon basil. I’ve never even heard of it until this week. I had to sit next to the vegetables at work for about two hours before I could go home and put them away and the aroma of lemon basil was just destroying me (and everyone else in the office) (in a good way). It’s like you think it would be – a cross between basil and lemon, but it’s more complex than that. After an hour or so I started to think it was reminiscent of Asian cuisine, and when I looked it up at home, I turned out to be right. It’s used in Thai, Indonesian, and Lao cuisines, among sometimes others in the region. That’s how I came up with this simple and refreshing, Thai-inspired (loosely) dressing to go with.
Speaking of corn, I bet it would be really delicious in this salad as well, but I ain’t got none of that for you today. However, even without that, this salad is delicious, nutritious, and a celebration of my Maryland summer, and I think you’re gonna love it.
Thai-inspired cabbage salad with lemon basil
Makes a big ole’ bowl, enough for a few people but depending on if it’s a main or a side
Peanut lime dressing (makes extra)
Juice of 1 1/2 limes
1/4 cup tamari or soy sauce
2 tb crunchy peanut butter (or use creamy & add chopped, roasted peanuts)
2 tb olive oil or other oil
3 cloves fresh garlic, minced
2 tb agave nectar, honey, or other sweetener to taste
1 tb sriracha or other chili sauce
1 head cabbage, shredded (I used a mix of red & green)
1/2 bunch fresh cilantro, chopped
1/2 bunch fresh lemon basil, chiffonade
1 white onion, very thinly sliced
2 medium bell peppers, very thinly sliced
Optional (I did not have on hand, but would be delicious): shredded carrot, thinly sliced green apple, corn…
Peanut lime dressing, to taste
Make the dressing. Combine all ingredients in a jar and shake well; alternatively, whisk together. Set in the refrigerator to chill.
Make the salad. Combine all ingredients except dressing in a big bowl, mixing by hand or with salad tongs until well integrated. Toss with dressing before serving; top with extra chili sauce if desired (I desired it).
Notes: All proportions are totally approximate and customizable. Let your own palate guide you! I prefer to dress this salad to order so that it stays crispy for longer in the fridge. But it’s still best to eat it within a couple of days. Don’t have lemon basil (I hear it’s rare, and like I said, I had never heard of it before)? Thai basil or even regular basil will be delicious in its place.