Meatless Monday: Two Asian-Inspired Sides


Depending on where you live it’s either still the dead of winter with just a hint of spring around the corner or full on spring but with a few new vegetables hitting the produce section and the farmer’s market. Here are two great sides, perfect for any tofu dish or even a simple peanut noodle dish.

The dressings can be made a day ahead and refrigerated but they are so simple and fast, you can easily prepare them while your vegetables are steaming. Let the dressing come to room temperature before serving time. For making peanut noodles all you need are cooked egg noodles and your favorite prepared peanut sauce. A favorite of mine is from Sisters Pantry.

Asian Broccoli Salad with Cashews (or Peanuts)

1Tbsp. Tamari sauce
1 tsp. sesame oil
1 to 2 Tbsp. rice wine vinegar
1 to 2 Tbsp. fresh lime juice
1 Tbsp. fish sauce (or soy sauce)
1/4 cup peanut oil

Whisk all ingredients together and pour over cooled broccoli and salad ingredients (see below). If you would like this to be spicy, add a tsp. of Siracha to the dressing.

1/2 cup roasted peanuts or cashews, chopped
1 lb. broccoli florets and stems
1/2 cup freshly chopped scallions
1/2 pint halved cherry tomatoes (optional)

Steam the broccoli: Peel the stems and chop into large chunks on the diagonal. They take a few minutes longer than the florets to steam so add them first and after 2 minutes add the florets. Steam until crisp tender then plunge them all into cold ice water to stop the cooking. Add the remaining vegetables and then toss with the dressing (see above).

Sesame Green Beans (or Asparagus)
1/2 cup sesame seeds, toasted, divided
1/4 cup soy sauce
2 Tbsp. sugar
(I like palm sugar or brown but white is fine)
2 tsp. freshly grated ginger
sea salt to taste
1 lb asparagus or green beans, steamed and plunged into ice cold water.

Grind 6 Tbsp. of the sesame seeds in a spice grinder. Transfer to a food processor and add the soy sauce, sugar and ginger and puree for a smooth dressing. If you prefer a more rustic dressing, skip this step.  When I made this the second time I didn’t use the food processor which is why you can see the sesame seeds in the photo above. It’s really up to you.

Steam the green beans or asparagus until just cooked through and then plunge them into cold ice water to stop the cooking. Toss with the dressing adding the chopped scallions and garnish with the remaining sesame seeds.

FMI on Meatless Monday, click here.

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