Chinese Taco Salad

Cleaning out the fridge is a lot like that ketchup bottle. There’s usually more in there than you think. When we find the time to clean ours out, I try to make one last push to use up whatever we have. I like to think of it as Iron Chef–Battle Leftovers. It’s a fun challenge and the audience expectations are usually low, so you can’t fail! 

First start with some inspiration. I opened the fridge and found a head of Napa cabbage, which reminded me of the garlic won ton chips in the pantry. We also had some ground beef defrosting that we usually have on hand for times like these. Together, it was a good start for Chinese Taco Salad.

Next fill in the blanks. It feels good to make the most of those last miscellaneous items you would’ve thrown out. If wilted, veggies can be cut down to usable parts or revived with a cold rinse. I used a few carrots, celery ribs, onion, and garlic. I salvaged some ginger, cutting away the dried skins. I used Tokyo negi as a substitute for green onion, soaked in water for a less pungent taste.

Now build up the flavor. Bring out all the sauces and seasonings that match your dish. For our Asian profile, I pulled hoisin, oyster sauce, sriracha, rice vinegar and sesame oil. Bring some life to the dish. Freshly grown herbs are a big help. I used mint from my in-law’s backyard, picked last week. Nuts and seeds are also a good pantry staple. They add both texture and flavor and stay fresh for a while.

Finally, put it together. Give it a fancy name and pat yourself on the back for making the most of what you got. The end result had a lot going on, but delicious. Crunch and texture from the cabbage, nuts, and chips. The ginger and Sriracha glazed carrots compliment the savory ground beef. Everything highlighted by the tangy rice vinegar and fresh mint. This battle left no leftovers.

Give it a shot. You’ll surprise yourself, literally. A full list of ingredients is below, but on leftover night anything goes.

Chinese Taco Salad
Print Recipe
Servings
2 People
Cook Time
45 min
Servings
2 People
Cook Time
45 min
Chinese Taco Salad
Print Recipe
Servings
2 People
Cook Time
45 min
Servings
2 People
Cook Time
45 min
Instructions
  1. Mix all salad dressing ingredients together in a jar. Shake vigorously and set aside. The sugar does not fully dissolve so remember to shake again before dressing. Wash and slice cabbage and celery. Tear mint leaves and set aside.
  2. Peel and julienne carrots
  3. Half an onion, diced. Garlic and ginger, smashed and peeled. Heat vegetable oil and saute on medium until onions are soft.
  4. Add ground beef and brown. Then carrots. Season to taste with oyster sauce, hoisin, sriracha, and worcestershire. Don't over season. Start with a couple dots each. Adjust to taste. Remember the dressing will also add a lot of flavor. Cook until carrots are glazed. Add green onion (or Tokyo negi) and sesame seeds.
  5. Shake dressing again. Toss with salad and sprinkle with almonds. Serve on a large platter. Wash and arrange lettuce shells. Scoop filling into cups and garnish with won ton chips. Dig in & Enjoy! *pats on back* 🙂
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