Thai Quinoa Crunch Salad Jars (V)
Next time someone asks “where’s the party?” tell them it’s in the produce isle.
Have you seen the variety lately?! *Right now* is the opportune time for flavorful, colorful produce. The warmer months welcome plenty of raw fruits and veggies back into my diet because they’re ripe and inexpensive!
Many of us “eat seasonally” whether we recognize it or not. But today, I want to encourage you to consciously choose seasonal produce! Let’s talk about the many benefits of eating seasonal food beyond just taste. Ready?
Seasonal produce meets our seasonal needs.
In winter, nature provides foods like citrus which are high in Vitamin C. Vitamin C helps to prevent infections (i.e. winter cold and flu!) Winter vegetables are dense and hearty; they can be used to make healthy stews, soups, casseroles and other warming meals.
By contrast, summer foods like stone fruits provide us with extra beta-carotene and other carotenoids that help protect us against sun damage—how cool is that? Summer fruits are naturally sweet and provide quick energy for outdoor activities. Summer vegetables like peppers, cucumbers, zucchini, and fresh herbs all taste great raw!
Seasonal produce is environmentally-friendly.
Eating seasonally reduces the demand for out-of-season produce which and supports more local produce and farming in your area. This equals less transportation, less refrigeration, less hot houses, and less irradiation of produce.
Seasonal produce is cheap.
If you can find a pineapple in November, it’s gonna cost $6 and taste like garbage.
Seasonal produce tastes the best.
Most people know the taste of a juicy mango in the summer or perfectly green asparagus in the spring. When fruits and vegetables are picked at peak season, they have much better flavor—and contain more nutrients!
ONTO THE SALAD JARS
This is one of the best salads I’ve ever made. I don’t know how often I’ve made that claim, but I 100% mean it with this Thai-inspired combo. The two reasons: spicy cashews and the homemade dressing.
The dressing has so many notes: Tangy lime and ginger, warm sesame oil, and a subtle sweetness from honey. I would literally drink it.
The sriracha cashews are so interesting! They’re a little spicy, a little sweet, and perfectly crunchy. You’ll want a cashew in every bite! See my recipe for homemade sriracha cashews here.
Use a sharp knife and do your best. The finer you can chop the ingredients, the better each bite becomes. My mandoline has been a game-changer for cutting perfect peppers, cabbage, carrots, and more. If you have $20 to invest in a kitchen tool, a mandoline is 100% worth it.
Jars are picturesque, aren’t they? These are 20 ounce mason jars but they’re not essential. You can use any container you choose for these salads. A couple pointers for the best tasting salads are:
Use paper towels to pat vegetables dry before storing. Give pepper slices a good squeeze!
Store quinoa on the bottom of your container
Store cashews (or any crunchy toppings) on the very top
Do not add dressing until you’re ready to eat!
These salad jars take a little prep work and perhaps a few ingredients you don’t have on hand, but they’re 1000% worth it. Quinoa, edamame, and cashews all have a substantial amount of protein, so count on them to fill you up.
thai quinoa crunch
SALAD JARS (V)
Perfect for meal prep, these Thai-inspired salad jars will become a summer fave. This plant-based meal prep keeps you full with hearty quinoa and sriracha-roasted cashew pieces, all topped with a sesame ginger dressing.
Servings: 4 jars
4 16 to 20 oz Mason jars (or preferred container)
1 1/2 cups prepared quinoa
1 large bunch kale
1 small head cabbage
1 bell pepper
1 cup edamame
1 cup sriracha cashews (see note 1)
SESAME GINGER DRESSING INGREDIENTS
1/3 cup oil
3 TBSP soy sauce
3-4 garlic cloves (peeled)
2 TBSP honey
1 TBSP sesame oil
1 TBSP grated ginger
Squeeze of lime juice
1-2 TBSP water (to thin)
Make sure quinoa is cool before assembling your salads. I cooked mine a day before and refrigerated it overnight.
Steam edamame over the stove or in a vented microwave-safe dish. This takes between 5-10 minutes.
While edamame steams, wash your kale, cabbage, and peppers then finely chop them. Pro tip: A mandolin is a lifesaver for consistently thin slicing.
Using a few paper towels, PAT DRY all vegetables before assembling your jars. Give pepper slices a good squeeze to remove excess moisture.
Spoon quinoa into the bottom of the jar (about 1/4 cup), followed by kale, cabbage, peppers, edamame, and Sriracha cashews on top.
TO MAKE DRESSING: In a blender or food processor, combine all ingredients and blend until smooth. Small fragments of garlic and ginger may remain, it’s okay.
Note 1: Jump to my recipe for homemade sriracha cashews here.