Crushing and smashing green beans and cucumbers sounds crazy, but it creates nooks and crannies to soak up as much umami-rich miso sauce as possible. And this is a dressing you'll want a lot of.
- 3 Persian cucumbers or ½ English hothouse cucumber
- 1 pound green beans, trimmed
- 1 1½-inch piece ginger, peeled, finely grated
- 1 serrano or Fresno chile, finely grated
- 1 garlic clove, finely grated
- ⅓ cup unseasoned rice vinegar
- ½ teaspoon toasted sesame oil
- Toasted sesame seeds and sliced scallions (for serving)
Lightly smash cucumbers with a rolling pin, then tear into bite-size pieces. Toss with a pinch of salt in a medium bowl. Let sit to allow salt to penetrate.
Meanwhile, place green beans in a large resealable plastic bag, seal, and smash with rolling pin until most of the beans are split open and bruised. Whisk ginger, chile, garlic, vinegar, miso, olive oil, and sesame oil in a medium bowl until smooth. Add dressing to beans and toss around in bag to coat; season with salt.
Drain cucumbers and add to bag with beans. Shake gently to combine. Transfer salad to a platter and top with sesame seeds and scallions.
Japanese Recipes for the Home Cook
I ate these cucumbers at a potluck a few years ago. It was salty, crunchy, garlicky, and sweet. I asked for the recipe and permission to post it here. Then I planned, shot (with my daughter), and edited a video, and then guess what. I joined a preschool co-op! …and it sat in my queue for nearly 2 years. It’s no coincidence that my daughter will be graduating and——hi——I’m on the blog again.
ANYWAY, picnic weather is on the horizon. Even though we didn’t have much of a winter in LA, the longer days always gets me excited about eating outdoors. I imagine picnicking with little sandy fingers eating this cucumber salad and rows of musubis and chicken karaage. Mmmm
once the weather warms, let’s get out there.
Easy Cucumber Salad
Makes 4 small servings
1 Tbsp sugar
1 Tbsp shoyu
1 Tbsp rice vinegar
1 Tbsp water
1 small garlic clove, minced
1 stalk green onion, chopped
1 Japanese cucumber or 2 Persian cucumbers
Combine all ingredients (except cucumbers) in a medium bowl. Whisk to dissolve sugar. Add cucumbers and toss to coat with dressing. Eat right away or let sit before serving. The longer the cucumbers marinate in the dressing, the saltier they will be.
Crunchy Asian Miso Salad
This salad can be adapted to use blanched green beans or snap peas in place of, or in addition to, the sliced cucumbers. Napa cabbage can be used in place of baby bok choy. The recipe is adapted from “The Smitten Kitchen Cookbook” by Deb Perelman (Knopf, 2012).
Crunchy Asian Miso Salad
1 large cucumber, seeded and sliced into ¼-inch-thick half-rounds
4 medium-large radishes, julienned
3 green onions (white and green parts), thinly sliced
2 tablespoons minced fresh ginger
1 large garlic clove, minced
2 tablespoons mild white miso
1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil
water, if needed to thin dressing
Total time: 20 minutes.
In a large bowl, combine cucumber, bok choy, radishes and green onions. Toss to combine.
In a food processor or blender, combine all dressing ingredients and blend until emulsified. Taste and add additional miso, if desired. Add a tablespoon or so of water if needed to thin dressing in order to pour.
Pour dressing over vegetables and fold until vegetables are coated. Sprinkle with sesame seeds and toss again just before serving.
Per serving: 179 calories, 10g carbohydrate, 3g protein, 15g fat (1.5g saturated), 47mg sodium, 2g fiber.
Cooking corn on the cob
There are various ways to cook corn on the cob although, only the grill can achieve a flavorful smokey char. It’s the perfect time to dust off the barbecue and practice your grilling techniques.
I like to remove the husk so that the surface sizzles and browns on the grates for instant flavor. Coating the corn with a light layer of olive oil protects it from completely burning.
I use English cucumbers for this recipe. The thin skin requires no peeling and the small seeds don’t need to be removed. The firm and robust texture make it the perfect candidate for brief pickling, as it doesn’t become too flimsy and wilted. I use them in my classic cucumber salad as well.
- 1 1/2 cups cracked freekeh
- 8 ounces haricots verts, trimmed and halved crosswise
- 3 tablespoons unseasoned rice vinegar
- 1 1/2 teaspoons finely grated lime zest plus 1 1/2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
- 1 1/2 tablespoons white miso
- 2 teaspoons packed finely grated peeled fresh ginger
- 3 scallions, white and green parts thinly sliced separately
- 1 1/2 teaspoons toasted sesame oil
- 1/2 cup plus 1 tablespoon canola oil
- Kosher salt
- One 14-ounce package firm tofu&mdashdrained, sliced 1/2 inch thick and patted dry with paper towels
- 3 Persian cucumbers, thinly sliced
- Mint and furikake (see Note) or toasted sesame seeds, for garnish
Cook the freekeh in a large saucepan of salted boiling water until tender, about 20 minutes add the haricots verts for the last 2 minutes. Drain and rinse the freekeh and beans under cold running water until cool. Drain well and transfer to a large bowl.
Meanwhile, in a medium bowl, whisk the rice vinegar with the lime zest, lime juice, miso, ginger and scallion whites. While whisking constantly, slowly drizzle in the toasted sesame oil and canola oil. Season with salt and pepper.
Heat a grill pan. Season the tofu with salt and pepper and brush with 1/4 cup of the dressing. Grill over moderately high heat, turning once, until grill marks form and the tofu is heated through, about 3 minutes per side.
Add the remaining dressing, the cucumbers and two-thirds of the scallion greens to the freekeh, season with salt and pepper and toss. Mound the freekeh salad on plates and top with the grilled tofu. Garnish with the remaining scallion greens, mint and furikake and serve.
AnotherFoodBlogger's life has been pretty hectic of late with a trip home to Ireland. I tell you 24hrs on a plane with a 2yr old makes the trip a touch different! There have been a few catering gigs going on and house moving which is ALWAYS fun. Oh, and the biggest curveball was daycare being closed for nearly 4 months. So cooking was kinda put on the back burner while myself & princess spent TONS of time exploring Bris-Vegas parks - joys!! But all that being said, life is somewhat back to normality so stay tuned for more recipes coming your way.
I love Asian influence in food, ever since my trip to Vietnam, Cambodia & Laos many years ago when I fell in love with that style of food. Now, I’m no Asian chef nor am I at the level of the chefs cooking the food I devoured there daily. Over time I feel I’ve learned to add Asian influence into many of my dishes in a good way. This smashed cucumber salad is the perfect example of that with great freshness from the herbs & cucumber, nuttiness from the sesame & miso, acid from the vinegar & citrus and spice from the garlic, ginger & chili flakes. It really is an absolute winner.
If like me you have a well-stocked pantry. Something you have definitely heard me discussing before, then most of these ingredients already sit on the shelf just itching to be used! Put this smashed cucumber salad down in the middle of the table for a family-style dinner, bbq or serve it alongside some meat. I can’t imagine even the largest of meat-eater turning up his or her nose at it!
What do you pair with a light, refreshing, Asian influenced delicious smashed cucumber salad? Riesling my friend, riesling. My latest drop that I picked up from Dan at winedirect.com.au is the delicious Kirrihill 'Gleeson & co' 2018 Riesling from the Clare Valley. A drop that is drinking perfectly right now but I can see getting even more perfect over the next 10 years too. Anyone else like aged Riesling?
Tons of zippy acidity and delicious lemon and lime notes on both the nose and palate. Nice minerality to the wine with great length. This is one even the discerning palate of Mrs AnotherFoodBlogger loved and accompanied by my deliciously simple smashed cucumber salad and some grilled pork kebabs a great night was had!
Alternative Salad Options
Check out these delicious salads if you are looking for some great recipes for BBQ's and meals with friends/family.
Guidelines for prepping salad ingredients:
- Fill a sink with cold water and wash the lettuce. Spin the excess water away in a lettuce spinner, until it is practically dry. (see notes) Wrap the lettuce in a kitchen towel, then slip the wrapped greens into a plastic bag. Store in the fridge until it’s weekday salad fixing time.
- I prefer the taste and crunch of romaine lettuce and that it doesn’t easily spoil. Robbie likes the tubs of mixed greens. Either choice, both get a fresh rinse, even the pre-washed greens.
- If beets made it into your grocery cart, when you get home give them a quick scrub and roast them in the oven. Leave the skins on–they will be easy to slip off when it’s time to cut into slices or wedges. Refrigerate the cooked beets in a jar or plastic container. Pop the celery, leafy end up, in a jar with an inch or so of water and cover loosely with a plastic bag.
- We keep a bag of organic carrots and a jicama in the produce drawer, ready and waiting for weekday salads. Sometimes we have cucumbers and bell peppers too. Tomatoes in season, absolutely. Avocado slices if you wish.
Recipe: Soba noodles with miso kūmara, green vege & ponzu dressing
The Japanese flavours of this cold noodle salad are perfect for warm summer evenings.
SOBA NOODLES WITH MISO KŪMARA, GREEN VEGE & PONZU DRESSING
Prep time: 15 minutes
Cook time: 16 minutes
2 tbsp miso paste
2 tsp sugar
2 tbsp sesame oil
1 large kūmara, peeled, cut into 2cm-thick rounds
360g soba noodles
150g snow peas, trimmed
1 cup frozen podded edamame beans
80ml (⅓ cup) soy sauce
1 tbsp raw sugar (or white sugar)
2 tbsp lime juice
2 lebanese cucumbers, thinly sliced
2 spring onions, thinly sliced
2 tsp toasted sesame seeds
Heat oven to 200C. Put the miso paste, sugar, 1 tablespoon of the sesame oil and 1 teaspoon water in a bowl and stir to combine.
Line a baking tray with baking paper. Arrange the kūmara on the prepared tray, then brush both sides of the slices with the miso mixture to coat. Roast in the oven for 16 minutes, turning halfway through, or until the kūmara is golden and cooked through.
Meanwhile, bring a large saucepan of water to the boil. Cook the soba noodles for 5 minutes, then add the snow peas and edamame and cook for a further 1 minute. Drain and refresh the noodles and vegetables under cold running water.
Meanwhile, to make the ponzu dressing, heat the soy sauce in a small saucepan over low heat until warm. Remove from the heat, then stir in the raw sugar and remaining tablespoon of sesame oil. Finally, stir in the lime juice.
Put the noodles, snow peas and edamame in a large bowl with the cucumber, spring onions and ponzu dressing and toss to combine. Top with the kūmara and scatter with the sesame seeds then serve.
Chilled Tofu Salad with Miso-Ginger Vinaigrette
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This chilled tofu salad, brimming with crunchy cucumbers and green beans and tossed in a tangy miso-ginger vinaigrette, is a gratifying, filling, healthy meal.
This recipe was featured as part of our Make Your Own Tofu project.
- 1 Using a vegetable peeler, peel the carrot into strips and set aside. Prepare an ice water bath by filling a large bowl halfway with ice and water set aside.
- 2 Bring a small saucepan of heavily salted water to a boil. Add the green beans and cook for 2 to 3 minutes. Drain and transfer to the ice water bath. When the beans are chilled, drain again and pat dry.
- 3 In a large bowl, place the carrot strips, green beans, tofu, scallions, cucumber, and lettuce. Add the vinaigrette and toss until the vegetables are well coated. Sprinkle the peanuts over the salad and serve immediately.
Beverage pairing: Lucien Albrecht Pinot Gris Cuvée Romanus, Alsace, France. Tofu, because of its soft texture, is good to pair with a wine of opposite character, namely something sharp with a bit of structure. Pinot Gris from Alsace is a good choice, and also adds pretty pear, apple, and herbal notes that should merge nicely with the miso.