Wednesday, October 17, 2018

Dumpling Salad with Peanut Dressing

I have a very quick post today, sharing a meal idea that we've eaten on repeat throughout the summer. This one uses a few staples from the fridge and freezer to put together a light and satisfying dish in a semi-homemade sort of way.

Also, I ardently love Chinese take-out and this salad topped with warm dumplings and a tasty peanut sauce easily satisfies that longing for take-out on a random weeknight. It does have a few components to it, but nothing that's labor or time intensive.

Component 1: Salt and pepper tofu

Drain and blot away liquid from a block of extra firm tofu. Cut into bite size cubes.
Heat a couple teaspoons of oil in a nonstick skillet.
Place the cubed tofu in a single layer in the hot skillet. Let it cook patiently until golden. Resist the urge to keep stirring the tofu! Then, flip the tofu cubes and repeat.
Once the tofu is fairly golden, add 2-3 tbsp. nutritional yeast and salt and freshly ground pepper to taste. Keep turning the tofu cubes gently until they get a nice golden crust.

The salt and pepper tofu is so tasty by itself and versatile- it can be added to many different dishes. Set it aside while you make the sauce.

Component 2: Peanut sauce

I always riff on this recipe and don't think I have made peanut sauce the same way twice. Here is my "choose your own adventure" formula for peanut sauce.

The basic ingredients are
Peanuts (as peanuts, or as peanut butter or powdered roasted peanuts or whatever form you tend to stock)
Soy sauce for the salty taste, or tamari or teriyaki sauce or black bean paste
Sweetener (honey or maple syrup or sugar, say)
Something tangy (rice vinegar or lime juice or tamarind)

Other optional additions:
Creamy additions like coconut milk or tahini
Aromatics like onions, ginger, garlic, scallions, cilantro
Something for heat, like sriracha sauce or crushed red pepper or Thai curry paste.

Place ingredients in a blender, blend until creamy, then taste and adjust the balance of flavors. Peanut sauce can be stored in the fridge for a few days and used in salads, noodle dishes and as a dipping sauce.

Component 3: Dumplings. It is really fun to make these from scratch. More practical for a weekday, however, is to buy bags of dumplings and store them in the freezer. My favorite is Trader Joe's Thai vegetable gyoza. Cook as per package directions. 

Component 4: The salad base. This can be any mixture of greens and raw veggies. Our house standard is the 50-50 blend of lettuce and baby spinach that is commonly sold in supermarkets. Sometimes I'll add shredded carrots and sliced raw bell peppers to it.

Assemble the dumpling salad with the salad base on a plate, topping with cubes of tofu and warm dumplings, and finally a generous drizzle of peanut sauce.

What have you been cooking and eating on repeat lately?


  1. On a quick note, among other things, we have been making your thai curry for dinners recently. But does the paste in the jar, can it be used for anything else?

    1. Hi Fatima, I often use it in soups and salad dressings too.

  2. great idea - I love this sort of salad with spring rolls on it - perhaps I should try that - but I am very open to dumplings on top of salad too as I am very partial to dumplings

    1. Same here- dumplings get my vote every time. In this case, they're balanced out by a pile of vegetables and it makes for a good meal. Spring rolls would be nice too, I'll have to try that.

  3. I have been trying to include tofu in our weekly menu and will definitely try this recipe. Love peanut sauce.
    My cooking has been super random and weird lately. I seem to have lost my cooking mojo. Need to get back into menu planning or some sort of routine.


    1. Anu- I definitely go through those phases when my cooking drags- I must say having a food blog is prime motivation for trying new things in the kitchen. I think you will enjoy this recipe- can be modified with cooked veggies, cooked grains/noodles etc. into customizable bowls.

  4. What an interesting idea! I love dumplings.

    Currently, it's all about one pot meals in my kitchen. Vegetable and dal heavy khichdis, one pot sambhar rice with lots of veggies, etc have been the week day staples since they are so quick to put together. But I'm sure we'll tire of it soon. Looking forward to soup weather and soup and sandwich dinners.

    1. Inji- we finally have chilly weather here and sambar with lots of veggies sounds heavenly right about now!

  5. Looks yummy. Never had dumplings in salad. I love dumplings in any which way (fave is in broth based soup or pho), so will def try it out.
    I have been on a granola spree lately. Trying out various versions and eating it by the handfuls. Such a fun thing to make.

    1. Neha- Granola is fun to make and eat. My husband eats it every single day, has been doing so for decades! So I make a lot of it- will post my "house recipe" one of these days.


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