I don’t know about you, but I’ve never been a massive fan of the sandwich. This is a longstanding arrangement, going back to when I was an inordinately fussy-eater as a child – I didn’t like the idea that what I was eating was hidden between two slices of bread.
Thankfully, I am far from fussy with food anymore (although I’m still just as stubborn in general). Nevertheless, for some reason, my dislike of sandwiches has stuck- nowadays I just find them a bit boring, and I tend to prefer fork-food to finger-food.
I like to create inventive salads and snacks to take into work for lunch every day because, let’s face it, nothing is worse than sitting at a desk all day without having something to look forward to at lunchtime.
This is one of my all time favourite recipes, a result of several attempts of trial and error before getting the final thing just right. I’m not going to claim that it’s really authentically Thai (because it’s probably not) but it’s so flavourful and aromatic and I often get my colleagues asking what it is and how to make it.
There is a fair amount of prep involved but honestly it’s so worth it – it’s also great for lunches because you can make a big batch in advance and divvy it up into tupperware, so really you’re saving yourself time from having to worry about tomorrow’s lunch during the week.
Courgetti Pad-Thai Salad
For the Salad
- 3 large or 4 small courgettes, spiralized or peeled into long thin slices
- 4 medium carrots, grated (or a small bag of the pre-grated stuff if you’re like me and would rather hoover the entire house than grate even the tiniest square of cheese)
- Half a small red cabbage, thinly chopped
- 1 bell pepper in a colour of your choice
- 3-4 spring onions or salad onions
- 2 fresh red chillis, thinly cut
- A couple of handfuls of kale
- A handful of bean sprouts (optional)
For the Dressing
- Juice and grated zest of one lime or you can literally just shove the whole thing into a strong blender (ditto above, I hate grating)
- 1 clove of garlic, crushed
- 1 teaspoon of finely chopped ginger
- 1 tablespoon tahini
- 2-3 teaspoons of peanut butter (optional)
- 100ml water
- 75ml sesame oil
- 100-150ml rice wine vinegar (I like mine really vinegary, but realise that this isn’t to everyone’s taste)
- 75-100ml soy sauce or tamari
- Salt, pepper and a few more dried chillis (optional)
- Unsalted peanuts (for added crunch)
- Handful of chopped fresh coriander
- Sprinkling of sesame seeds
Should be enough for 5 lunchtime portions.
I realise there’s quite a lot of ingredients, but you can do loads with things like soy sauce and fancy oils and vinegars, they last a long time too, so hopefully they’ll be worthwhile additions to your store cupboard.
Also, the great thing about this salad is that apart from a few really essential ingredients (courgette, soy, tahini, sesame oil etc) you can change up the veg, the garnish and the flavourings in the dressing depending on what you like, how you feel, and (as I realise this might not seem like the thriftiest of salads) whether payday has just been or not…
Spiralize, julienne or peel your courgettes into long thin noodles and finely slice the rest of the veg into long, thin slices too. Chuck all the salad ingredients into a big bowl and make sure they’re well mixed.
For the dressing, either chuck everything into a powerful blender, or you can whisk the ingredients by hand in a jug – just make sure that the garlic and the ginger is nice and finely chopped. Blend or whisk until you get a nice, slightly thick but smooth dressing.
I much prefer to dress the big batch immediately, using my hands to really mix everything together before separating into the tupperwares. This way the veg can soak up all the flavours throughout the week. However, if you’re worried about soggy veg, you can always keep the dressing in a jar in the fridge and pour a bit on each morning.
Simple as that really! After the chopping is over and done with it’s just a case of mixing together and bob’s your uncle. Again, it’s a really versatile salad, so have a play around with your ingredients to get the balance just right for your tastes. If you give it a go, I’d love to hear what you think in the comments!