Give Your Greens a Kick with These Asian-inspired Salads


Give Your Greens a Kick with These Asian-inspired Salads

May 17, 2015 //

Are your green salads getting a little boring? Kick them up with an infusion of Asian greens and Asian flavors!

Before you start preparing delicious, nutritious Asian-inspired salads at home, you may want to stock up on some staples. Be sure you have the following “greens and things” on hand so you can make the perfect salad whenever inspiration strikes!

Asian Salad Shopping List

  • Peas
  • Spring onions
  • Bell peppers
  • Cucumbers
  • Carrots
  • Napa cabbage
  • Edamame
  • Bok choy
  • Chinese broccoli
  • Ginger
  • Sesame oil
  • Rice vinegar
  • Fish sauce
  • Soy sauce or substitute
  • Sesame seeds
  • Tofu
  • Peanuts

Our fave Asian-inspired salads for you:

Sesame Noodle Salad

Everyone loves a Sesame Noodle Salad, and you can definitely up the nutrition profile of this delicious dish by serving it over a bed of mixed greens, like spinach, red leaf lettuce, and radicchio. Use whole wheat pasta or soba noodles (a gluten-free noodle made from buckwheat)  to make this salad even healthier.

Asian Kale and Tofu Salad

Kale replaces the traditional lettuce or cabbage in this Asian Kale and Tofu Salad from Clean Eating Magazine. Don’t skip the step of massaging the kale, as it helps tenderize the leaves and make them less chewy. Cucumbers, carrots, cabbage, bell peppers and edamame provide plenty of crunchy texture, beneficial fiber, and lots of vitamins and minerals. Tofu is a great vegetarian protein source, and ground flaxseeds provide a great source of Omega-3 essential fatty acids. This salad would be a great side dish or the perfect star as a main dish on Meatless Monday.

Asian Brown Rice and Peanut Salad

Again, simply serving this on a bed of mixed greens will take an Asian Brown Rice and Peanut Salad and turn it into a healthy green salad. Green and red peppers will provide a hefty dose of vitamin C, and peas provide fiber, vitamins and protein.

Chinese Chicken Salad with Brussels Sprouts

From fall to late winter, brussels sprouts are in peak season and can be found in just about every grocery store and farmer’s market stall you pass. Take advantage of these nutritious wonders, members of the same brassica family as broccoli, kale, and cabbage, and use them in a new, Asian-inspired way. This recipe for Chinese Chicken Salad with Brussels Sprouts from Clean Eating Magazine can be made in under half an hour. Swapping out lettuce for shaved brussels sprouts will add a lot more vitamin C, vitamin K, and folate to your salad.

Asian Spinach Salad with Orange and Avocado

When you want a salad that is light on ingredients, low on calories, and elegant in it’s simplicity, then this Asian Spinach Salad with Orange and Avocado from Epicurious is sure to please. Rice vinegar, sesame oil, and grated ginger provide the characteristic Asian salad flavors, while avocado adds a creamy decadence and orange puts up a punchy bright citrus kick. The best part? This salad has only 152 calories per serving.

Asian Chicken Salad with Snap Peas and Bok Choy

This recipe for Asian Chicken Salad with Snap Peas and Bok Choy from Epicurious can be served warm or cold. It calls for an ingredient you may not be familiar with: ponzu. Ponzu is a citrus and soy-based sauce commonly used in Japanese dishes, as a marinade or as a stand-alone condiment. You should be able to find ponzu sauce in the Asian aisle of your local market.

Certain greens found in Asian recipes may be unknown to you, but don’t be afraid to give them a try. A lot of Asian greens are very high in vitamin K, an essential nutrient that plays an important role in blood clotting, bone health, and can even help lower your risk of insulin resistance.

1. Bok Choy

Similar to cabbage, bok choy is another member of the brassica family of vegetables. It is smaller and thinner than a head of cabbage, with a mild flavor, tender crisp leaves, and stalks that are crunchy, firm, and juicy. The leaves can actually make a wonderful gluten-free “scoop” for salsa or dips, or be used as a “cup” for lettuce cups. Bok choy is an excellent source of vitamin C, vitamin K, vitamin A, folate, potassium, calcium, and fiber.

2. Chinese Broccoli

Also known as Chinese kale, which it more closely resembles, Chinese broccoli has a stronger, more bitter flavor than the broccoli you may be used to eating. The wide flat leaves are similar to collards, and are best blanched, steamed, or stir-fried. If you are going to add Chinese broccoli to a salad, blanch it first by boiling in water for two to three minutes and then plunging it straight into a bowl of iced water to stop the cooking process. Chinese broccoli will add a bunch of beneficial nutrients to your dish, like vitamin A, vitamin C, vitamin K, folate, and fiber.

3. Napa Cabbage

Commonly used in Chinese Chicken Salads, Napa cabbage has a delicate mild flavor that is sweeter than green cabbage. The firm crunchy texture is excellent when shredded into salads. Napa cabbage offers vitamin K, vitamin C, vitamin B6, manganese, fiber, potassium, and fiber to any Asian-inspired salad that you make.

Melissa Zimmerman

Melissa Zimmerman is a freelance writer specializing in health and nutrition writing. A California native living in Central Oregon, Melissa enjoys the outdoor adventures and beauty of the Pacific Northwest. When she is not kayaking on the river, you can find her in a yoga studio or practicing asanas outdoors. Melissa is a big believer in the power of yoga and healthy food to radically improve anyone's quality of life.

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