I usually make this salad with beef, as is traditional. As always, feel free to use whatever kind of protein you prefer. Chicken, pork, fish, tofu - they all work just fine!
1 Tbs lemongrass from 1 stalk of lemongrass (see directions below)
2 Tbs low sodium soy sauce
1 Tbs honey
1 tsp sesame oil
1 tsp extra virgin olive oil
2 Tbs lime juice
4 Tbs finely chopped mint leaves
1/2 cup green beans, cut into 2 inch lengths, and blanched for 1 minute
2 fresh Anaheim chilis or 1 fresh red or green pepper,
finely chopped, or 4 Tbs canned green chilis
1 jalapeno or serrano chili, finely chopped
8 cherry tomatoes
1 green onion, thinly sliced
3 cups mixed salad greens
2 4-ounce portions of lean protein,
tenderloin beef or pork, chicken breast, or tofu slices
1 tsp minced garlic
1/4 tsp freshly cracked black pepper
1/4 tsp red pepper flakes or cayenne pepper (optional)
1 tsp olive oil (or use olive oil spray)
Start by making the salad dressing. Lemongrass lends a pungent lemon flavor to the dressing. To prepare lemongrass, remove the hard outer leaves from one stalk of lemongrass, finely chopping the tender inner core to make 1 tablespoon. Mix lemongrass and remaining dressing ingredients in a small bowl. Set aside.
Make salad mixture by first preparing green beans. Use either yard long beans, green or yellow beans. Cool beans after cooking, then mix with with remaining salad ingredients. Remove seeds and membranes from Anaheim chilis and jalapeno if you like a mild taste, leave them in if you like it hot.
Heat a heavy bottomed nonstick skillet on the stove top. Spray with olive oil, or swirl 1 tsp of oil in the bottom of the pan until the oil just starts to smoke. Prepare the meat or chicken by coating with garlic, black pepper, and optional hot pepper flakes and cayenne. Cook until done to your liking, about 1 minute per side for rare tuna, 2 minutes per side for tofu, 3 minutes per side for medium rare steak, 4 minutes per side for medium pork, or 4 to 5 minutes per side for cooked chicken. Remove meat from pan and cover while you prepare the salad plates.
To serve, spoon half the dressing over the salad greens, toss, then divide among plates. Slice the meat or protein into thin slices, then toss with remaining dressing. Arrange attractively on top of salad.
Serves 4 as a side salad or 2 as an entree.
Stealthy Cooking Tip: If you're accustomed to eating large portions of steak or meat for dinner, 4 ounces won't seem like much per serving. However, thinly slicing the meat, and arranging it on top of a salad fools the eye into thinking there's more. In addition, the array of spices keeps the tastebuds so busy, they don't miss the meat either. Be surprised with the results!