Isn’t it a little funny how our tastebuds change as we get older? As a kid (who was probably the least picky eater ever I might add - I started eating salad at age 3!), I remember hating the taste of vinegary things. Although I loved pickles, I just could never wrap my head around why my parents would purposely add vinegar to their meat marinades or in salad dressings. The tangy, strong flavor did not resonate with me!
But now in the middle of a Texas summer, vinegary, cold foods are all I can think about. This salad came about when my mom had an overabundance of carrots which she shared with me, and I came home with a dinosaur-sized cucumber from the store. I wanted to make an Asian inspired salad with sesame oil and —yep, you guessed it—vinegar as the base for the dressing. Rice vinegar is a little more mild than regular distilled vinegar and goes great in dressings. The crunch of the cucumbers, carrots, and scallions is so satisfying. The peanuts add protein and a nutty flavor, and the raw ginger gives it a subtlety-spicy oomph that is also so good for you! If you can, I suggest making this a few hours before serving so it can get really cold in the refrigerator and the vegetables can marinade in the dressing. With temps climbing to triple digits here some days, a refreshing hydrating salad is just what we need for lunch time!
Cucumber Carrot Salad with Ginger Sesame Dressing
serves 2 - 4
1 dinosaur-sized (or 2 medium) seedless cucumbers, peeled and sliced into 1/8-inch rounds
2 medium carrots, peeled and julienned
1 scallion, sliced
1 tbl black sesame seeds
1/4 cup peanuts
3 tbl rice vinegar
1 tbl soy sauce
2 tsp honey
2 tbl sesame oil
1/2-inch knob of fresh ginger, grated
Juice of 1/2 lime
In a large bowl, toss the prepared cucumbers, carrots, scallion, sesame seeds, and peanuts. Sprinkle with a pinch of salt.
In a mason jar or liquid measuring cup, combine vinegar, soy sauce, honey, sesame oil, ginger, and lime juice. Whisk/shake until combined.
Pour dressing over salad and toss. Eat immediately or chill in the refrigerator for several hours and up to 1 day.