I know I said I was taking a break from blogging… (you should probably just ignore me every time I say that) but I am finally starting to figure out how to eat a delicious, produce-heavy, vegan diet while living in Japan (not an easy task), and I just can’t keep my discoveries to myself! So, you can look forward to some Japanese-inspired, BLE-friendly recipes in the near future. 🙂
Confession: I make this salad on repeat almost every day for lunch, and I have for months now. Why mess with a good thing? The sweet fruit combined with the creamy, tangy, nutty, umami-action of the miso tahini dressing makes for a killer and satisfying combo.
Satsuma oranges are winter fruits in Japan and in the northwestern US. I find them to be a sweet, shining, delicious beacon of light in the cold, dark, fresh-produce-deficient winter months. These easy-to-peel oranges are different than “cuties”, tangerines, or other small oranges, but feel free to use whatever sweet citrus-y fruits are your favorite and in season where you live. In Japanese they are called “mikan” and we have been enjoying them all winter here.
Because I am currently living in Kyoto and immersed in a culture of sea vegetables, I always throw a little wakame into my salads. Wakame can be found at most supermarkets these days in the Asian foods section and it’s nutritious, delicious, and a great way get vegetables during the winter. To use it, just put about a tablespoon full of the dried wakame in a small bowl of water and let it sit for 5 minutes before squeezing out the water. But if seaweed isn’t your thing, feel free to leave it out.
- salad greens I like mizuna, red lettuce, or spinach
- cabbage, shredded I buy pre-shredded
- cucumbers sliced
- Salad sprouts optional
- 1 Tbsp dried wakame seaweed optional, rehydrate in water for 5 minutes, then squeeze out water
- 2-3 satsumas or other small oranges separated and halved
Miso Tahini Dressing
- 1 Tbsp tahini (1/2 BLE protein serving)
- 1 Tbsp light, untoasted sesame oil (1 BLE fat serving)
- 1 Tbsp rice vinegar
- 1 Tbsp white miso paste
- 1 tsp mirin optional
- 1 tsp sake optional
- If using wakame, put about 1 Tbsp in a bowl of water and let sit for 5 minutes to rehydrate.
- Toss together the salad ingredients.
- Combine the dressing ingredients in a small cup or bowl and stir with a fork. Taste and adjust as desired. You can add more miso or mirin for sweetness and vinegar for tanginess.
- Dress the salad, garnish with a few sesame seeds for presentation if desired, and enjoy.
- Feel free to scale this recipe up for a family or a crowd. I like to make a large batch of dressing ahead to store in the fridge. It will keep for a long time, although I usually go through it in a week.
- I recommend white miso for this recipe, as it is much sweeter and more delicate than red or brown miso.
- I do not recommend using seasoned rice vinegar or sushi vinegar, just use regular rice vinegar. The other stuff has other additives and usually a bunch of sugar.
- Use light colored sesame oil, not the fragrant dark toasted sesame oil. That stuff is delicious and has a time and place, but it will be too overpowering in this context.
- For more info on recommended brands of mirin and sake (which are essential staples in Japanese cooking) check out this page.
- The recipe for the Miso Tahini Dressing above makes a generous serving for one person and contains 1 BLE fat serving and 1/2 of a BLE protein serving. Add half a serving of your favorite salad protein to complete the meal. I love to put walnuts in, but my husband thinks it’s weird. I like it. You do you.
- Mirin is sweet rice wine and sake is alcohol, so they are in the BLE grey area. They are used in very small amounts and are probably not triggering for most people, but please take care to leave anything out that doesn’t serve your recovery.
- Weigh your salad before adding the fruit and dressing, and supplement as needed to reach your vegetable quota.