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The Salt and Stone — Thai Chopped Salad with Veggies and Rice Noodles

Thai chopped salad

Thai chopped salad (Andrea McCoy, special to the Yakima Herald-Republic)

Happy New Year! I admit for as excited and ready as I am to usher in a brand new year, I’m still a little lost in the fog that takes over between Christmas and New Years.

We are most definitely watching too much TV and sleeping too late. The snack situation is a little out of hand and as of this very moment I haven’t quite tackled putting away the Christmas tree. All of this is a little out of character for us (and feels a tiny bit like a confession) and yet feels wonderful to just embrace a slow pace for a few weeks. I think we underestimate how good and necessary it is to rest.

My new year’s resolution is to incorporate more vegetarian meals into my family’s life. We do an OK job of eating our fruits and veggies but we rely heavily on animal proteins for our meals.

I’m starting very simple, at this point just focusing on how to add more plants and whole grains into our daily lives. A vegetarian chili here, a big pot of oatmeal there, a few easy swaps when we make tacos and pasta (which is all the time) by adding in more grilled vegetables and cooked beans.

My sister-in-law brought over a delicious crunchy Thai-inspired salad last week. The salad itself was pretty simple; just shredded cabbage and carrots, some green onions and bell pepper but the punchy dressing with lime and fish sauce, rice vinegar and a Thai chili left me dreaming of its goodness and wanting to make my own version.

I threw together this easy chopped salad from what I happened to have on hand.

My original idea was to do lettuce wraps but I realized quickly I didn’t actually have any romaine or butter lettuce to make a wrap. But I did have lots of good crunchy veggies, plenty to greens and even one ripe avocado. I love a chop salad and it seemed like the perfect opportunity to throw a bunch of ingredients together. I gave baby spinach and kale a rough chop and then piled red bell pepper, cucumber, edamame, green onion and a few crunchy toasted cashews on top the greens. I added some cooked brown rice noodles to the salad and tossed everything in a quick and easy peanut sauce.

The salad itself was filling and tasty. Even better, the recipe makes plenty of sauce. Just store extras in the refrigerator. And, of course, you could add grilled chicken, shrimp or tofu to this salad. If you happened to have a mango, that would be a lovely addition as well.

• Andrea McCoy writes the column Kitchen Captivated for Yakima Magazine and at The Salt and Stone, a home cooking blog. The Salt and Stone is a nod not just to the essence of cooking, but also to the Yakima Valley. Read more at www.thesaltandstone.com.

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