Just this morning, I noticed a pattern. I write about a travel adventure filled with food and drink excitement and hedonistic consuming and then the posts with dinner salad recipes come forth. Yes, I am of that age where just a few cupcakes and bites of rice pudding along with a sip of kumquat mojito and cucumber martini can put on 2-3 pounds in a few short days.

Growing up, I hated salads. I still do not like raw tomatoes or iceberg lettuce and I seem to remember that was what a salad was back in the day. Spring mixes and frisse weren’t exactly in the forefront of produce sections in the 1980’s in the Midwest. As a food-loving adult who wants to enjoy everything but not gain too much weight, I have forced myself onto salads. And the truth is… I am starting to like them.

Asian salads are my favorite filled with the fresh flavors of napa cabbage, watercress, cilantro and often colored with carrots and red cabbage. This Thai Steak Salad is so refreshing, packed with fresh herbs and still with enough protein to fill you up. The salad ingredients are quite flexible. I use the recipe as a guide and mix and match whatever I have on hand.

(That lime photo makes me smile every time I look at it. I keep imagining a conversation between them about how they all ran out of hair gel and just can’t manage their unruly strands.)

Thai Beef Salad
from Cooking Light

1/3 cup fresh lime juice
1 1/2 T brown sugar
1 T grated peeled fresh ginger
1 T Thai fish sauce
1-2 teaspoons chile paste with garlic

1 1/2 lb. flank steak, trimmed
1 T cracked black pepper

3 cups trimmed watercress
1 cup thinly sliced red cabbage
1 cup loosely packed fresh basil (I used thai basil)
1 cup loosely packed fresh mint leaves
1/2 cup loosely packed fresh cilantro
1/2 cup julienne-cut carrot
2 T finely chopped, unsalted, dry-roasted peanuts

Combine all dressing ingredients and whisk in a bowl. To prepare steak, heat a large skillet or grill pan and cost with cooking spray over medium high heat. Rub with pepper and add to pan, cooking 6 minutes on each side or until done. Remove and place on cutting board. Cover with foil and let stand 5 minutes before slicing. Place slices in a bowl, cover with half the dressing and toss well.


To prepare salad, combine watercress and next 5 ingredients in a large bowl. Drizzle with remaining dressing and toss well. Divide salad evenly on 4-6 plates and arrange steak over top. Sprinkle each with 1 teaspoon of chopped peanuts.