This Salad. oh, my, my.  People, this salad is your summer heat-wave culinary salvation. It is fresh, flavorful and light, packed with summer veggies, and bursting–BURSTING I tell you, with umamiHow can it be that good, you skeptically wonder, when it lacks bacon, hasn’t a shred of cheese in it, and doesn’t include a creamy calorie-laden dressing?  Trust me. 
It’s magic in a salad bowl. 
You will make it and want nothing else for days. 
You will eat the first bowl and go for a second without batting an eye. 
It will forever change the way you feel about leftovers, because the next day, and the next, when you open your fridge to serve yourself up another big bowl of goodness, you will be thrilled that you chopped your way through the entire recipe, even though you initially thought it yielded WAY too much.

A little over HALF of what the recipe yields
While this salad calls for some of the best summer vegetables available right now (and fresh makes all the difference, doesn’t it?), the dressing in and of itself is something utterly amazing, and also works beautifully as a marinade or a drizzling sauce for meats, which you can toss on the salad. 
So far, we have drizzled it on sliced flank steak and leftover shredded rotisserie chicken.  Next, I think we’ll try it with some seared, sliced tuna steak.
One heads-up though about the dressing…’cause there’s a LOT going on in there…
Like an entire BAG of juiced limes …And fish sauce and rice vinegar and sesame oil and fresh ginger and chopped garlic and, and…So there was definitely some initial expense at the grocery store to get some things you may not have on hand…and this will probably leave you wondering, will I ever use this ingredient again?  I promise, it’s worth the chance.
{Would you believe that this month I have gone through TWO bottles of fish sauce, making this dressing?  Yeah. It’s that good.}
So, modify as needed, but please don’t be frightened of the fish sauce–it gives it such a complex flavor– and don’t totally leave out the heat by omitting the hot pepper. And of course you will use fresh ginger, won’t you?

Last–play with the garnishes.
Peanuts give an incredible texture and crunch…we’ve also added a sprinkle of sesame seeds, cold rice noodles, and wonton strips to jazz it up.

Another great thing about this salad is that you can make a giant bowl of it, and keep it ALL week long in your fridge without compromising quality and taste.  Cabbage keeps fresh much longer than lettuce, and the only veggies that get a little funky are the cucumbers slices, which can be picked out if needed.  And if you’re at all like me, you’ll make healthier choices when good food is ready-to-grab-and-eat when you go looking for it.
Take this salad to your next summer get-together and make a LOT of friends.  Just don’t forget to bring the recipe to share.
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Asian Chop Chop Salad with Peanut Lime Dressing

Posted initially as a cold noodle dish in NYT by City Kitchen, then adapted again by Smitten Kitchen…I adapted the dressing by playing with ingredients a bit and simplifying two sauces into one, and I have turned it into a salad instead of a cold noodle dish.  Hope you enjoy.

Peanut Lime Dressing
Into a blender or food processor, add:
1/2 cup Asian fish sauce
6 tablespoons brown sugar
1 cup lime juice
2 garlic cloves, finely grated or minced
3 tablespoons rice vinegar
3 tablespoons soy sauce
1 one-and-a-half inch chunk ginger, peeled and sliced
1/2 cup creamy peanut butter (natural if possible)
1 1/2 tablespoon toasted sesame oil
Once blended, add one small seeded Serrano or jalapeno pepper, diced fine

Salad
1 large head Napa cabbage, cored and shredded
1 hot house cucumber, cut in 1/4-inch half moons
1 bag of julienned carrots
1 bunch scallions, sliced
2 cups snow peas
1-2 red peppers, sliced thin
Small handful each of basil, mint and cilantro sprigs, chopped

Garnish and Serve with any of these:
Dry roasted peanuts
Sesame seeds
Wonton strips or chow mein noodles
Cooked and cooled rice noodles
Lime wedges