Napa Veggies

The salad we loved so much at Rainforest Cafe was just called “Napa Vegetables.”  I couldn’t get it out of my mind, so I did an online search and found the ingredients for it.  There were no quantities given, but I figured it’s a salad-how could I mess it up?  No one else here except Jim knows what it is supposed to look or taste like, so I felt free to experiment.

There were no ingredients given for the dressing, but I remembered the server saying it was just a “light vinaigrette.”  Okay, I can do that.  Online searching again netted dozens of vinaigrette recipes, so I took the most basic of them and sweetened it up.

It turns out it was still not as sweet as I remembered, but I’ll fix that next time.  Otherwise, I pronounced it a roaring success!

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They say we should “eat the rainbow” every day–I think we just about got it here!  We’re only really missing blue.  I’m telling you, this has everything but the kitchen sink.  Yellow and green zucchinis, red and yellow peppers, carrots, red cabbage, jicama (yes, jicama!) and golden raisins.   I actually liked it better the second day, after it had marinated overnight.  The veggies soften a bit and the flavors blend and it’s just so good.  In fact, it was in this softened state when we ate it at the restaurant, but if you don’t have time to wait overnight and you want to eat it right away, go for it!

If you haven’t tried jicama in a salad, please give it a try.  It has a texture not unlike apple and a mild flavor.  It adds a nice crunch.

This is not a quick fix thing, guys; I’ll tell you that right up front.  I used a food processor so I could get get the nice thin slices and not take all day, but you still have to do a lot of cutting to get the pieces small enough for the processor.  I puttered with peeling, cutting and processing for at least 45 minutes and then worked on the dressing for other 20 minutes or so.  You could certainly take a short cut and use a good bottled dressing if you have one that you particularly like.  I don’t think there are any shortcuts for the rest.  You can buy many of these veggies sliced in the store, but they are not as thin, they are definitely more expensive, and you do lose some nutrients by using veggies that are cut ahead of time.  If you are going to have the processor out anyway (because some things just can’t be bought sliced or shredded), then by all means, just do all of it.

I can’t tell you how many servings I got.  We ate it for two nights, 4 people one night and three the next night, and there were still leftovers taken to another house to share with yet more people.  I used two small zuccinis, three carrots, one yellow and one red pepper, one jicama and only about a third of a large head of red cabbage.  Golden raisins I just threw in until I felt you’d get one in nearly every bite.  That’s a personal preference, because they are going to add sweetness.  Feel free to change the proportions of everything for your preference or for what you have on hand, but this amount of everything feeds at least 10 with very generous servings (seconds even.)

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