Summer’s comfort food



A bowl of soup in the winter. It’s warming, it’s nourishing, it’s comforting. It feeds so much more than our bodies.

The summer analog is a salad. Don’t roll your eyes at me! I know I’m always talking about vegetables, but in this case, you really can’t argue. Salads are cooling and refreshing, and what more can you ask for in the summer? Although we don’t tend to think of them in these terms, salads really are summer’s comfort food.

My goal in the winter is to make a big big batch of soup every Sunday. When I achieve my goal, I have soup on hand all week — sometimes it’s paired with bread and dinner is done, other times it simply serves as a nourishing indulgence after shoveling. Similarly, in the summer I try to make a different salad every Sunday. When I do, dinner is a snap (just throw something on the grill and serve it with a side of salad and some melon for dessert!), plus there’s always a snack waiting for me after I’ve been working in the yard!

The key to the weekly salad is variety. (Even I would get bored with a lettuce salad week after week.) The spring roll salad below is one of my favorites. It uses all the ingredients found in a spring roll, but since you’re just chopping, and not having to deal with rolling those delicate rice papers, it’s not nearly as labor intensive.

Salads are to Summer
What Soup is to Winter

AKA Spring Roll Salad
Adapted slightly from

Salad ingredients

• 8 ounces rice noodles (both the thin and the wider style work fine)
• 1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil
• 8 ounces cooked shrimp, chicken, or tofu
• 1 cucumber, julienned or diced
• 1 cup shredded carrots
• 2/3 cup loosely-packed chopped fresh bean sprouts (the co-op now carries a local brand!)
• 2/3 cup loosely-packed chopped fresh cilantro
• 2/3 cup loosely-packed chopped fresh mint
• 1/3 cup chopped peanuts
• half of a small green cabbage, cored and chopped or sliced
• 1 batch Thai peanut dressing

Thai peanut dressing

• 1/2 cup creamy peanut butter
• 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
• 2 tablespoons rice vinegar
• 2 tablespoons low-sodium soy sauce or tamari
• 1 tablespoon honey (or maple syrup or agave nectar)
• 1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil
• 1 teaspoon sriracha
• 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
• 1 clove garlic roughly chopped
• 1-2 tablespoons water or coconut milk, if needed

Make the rice noodles: Cook rice noodles according to the package instructions. Once they are cooked, drain them, and rinse them in a strainer with cold water until completely chilled. Next, transfer to a large mixing bowl, drizzle with sesame oil, and toss until the noodles are evenly coated with the oil.

Make the sauce: Whisk all the sauce ingredients together until evenly combined.

Make the salad: Add the remaining salad ingredients to the noodles, and toss gently to combine. Drizzle sauce over top, toss again, and serve.


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