This salad sits somewhere between the seasons, just like we do right now. It’s very early spring, where young leafy greens and herbs grow, but we also have the last of the seasonal, domestic citrus fruits like mandarins available. Cucumber is out-of-season, but I’ll make an exception for it’s watery, crunchy, fresh flavor and texture. Because this salad really is a celebration of textures
One of the key texture elements in this salad is the crunch factor, which comes from toasted almonds coated in salty fish sauce. The fish sauce gives the almonds and salad a punch of umami flavor! You can keep this salad vegan by looking for vegan “fish” sauce (often made from seaweed instead of fish), which is becoming more widely available in stores. If you’re not a fish sauce fan, or don’t have it on hand, you can also substitute tamari or soy sauce. But seriously, the fish sauce is.so.good. (And I have to give credit where credit is due, to my brother who is helping me learn to love it!)
This salad could totally be a meal in itself. I’ve added cooked, shelled edamame as my protein here, which makes this salad an awesome plant-based meal. Other times, I’ve omitted the edamame and topped it with flaked, cooked salmon. It would also be great with grilled chicken. I think you’ll also find the Hoisin Vinaigrette dressing a delicious, versatile sauce for use on other salads, rice bowls, or cooked veggies!
Original publication date: April 8, 2021 // Photos updated May 7, 2023
This salad really is a celebration of textures! Tender leafy greens, crisp cucumber, juicy mandarins, creamy edamame, and crunchy almonds are deliciously bathed in Hoisin Vinaigrette.