Or dinner. Or part of dinner.
A lot of times we’re total go-outers on weekends for lunch – it’s a good time for Beck, we like restaurants, and when it’s nice we love sitting outside at one of the gazillion options Greenville has for outdoor dining. BUT, in an effort to save money and keep things simpler with the baby, we’ve been doing more of that at home too – fun lunches on weekends that are a little bit fancy but still healthy and easy to make, because anything complicated totally defeats the purpose of eating in, right?
So this salad. Super healthy, full of flavor, can be prepped in stages based on what kind of time you’re working with. The dressing is really the kicker, and you can swap out veggies, seafood, nuts, WHATEVER based on what you have on hand, what you like, what you feel like – you’re the boss!
Just make a version of this soon, is my point.
The dressing is sweet chili sauce, soy sauce, fish sauce, lime, olive oil, and sriracha. Now, fish sauce is one of those quintessential Thai ingredients, and you can find it everywhere. It makes things taste decidedly Thai but smells awful. It doesn’t taste awful! Buy it and try it if you’ve never used it.
For the dressing, just put all the ingredients in a jar, shake shake shake, taste, and add any extra of the ingredients if you’d like – more chili sauce for sweetness, sriracha for spice, etc.
Then, for the salad ingredients. We have squid! I find them at Fresh Market, which is like a local Whole Foods. Just bodies, cleaned, no tentacles, though of course you can eat those if they come on them! Slice them into rings. Then we have lettuce, cilantro, scallion, cucumber, a red jalapeno, yellow bell pepper, tomatoes of any kind, carrots cut into matchsticks, cashews, and rice noodles. WHEW, but worth every single ingredient.
For the veggies and cashews, just chop or slice everything up! Bite-sized stuff so it ends up like a chopped salad.
For the noodles, follow the instructions for “cooking.” Some say to soak in cold water, warm water, boil, whatever – get them soft.
Then, drain the noodles and pour a little bit of the dressing on them. The noodles basically marinate while you fix the rest of the salad, which is GREAT.
Same for the squid! Pour some of the dressing over it too, then let it sit for 10 minutes or so while you heat up a really hot skillet.
When the skillet is hot, add a drizzle of oil and the squid. It’ll cook for just 2 minutes or so on each side – overcooked squid is tough and chewy and awful, so go towards undercooked, which is still totally safe to eat. Brown each side, take out of skillet.
So at this point we have prepped veggies, noodles in dressing, cooked squid, and some extra salad dressing. Make a nice bed of all the veggies and the cashews first – that alone is gorgeous!
Then, add some of the noodles on top.
Then top THAT with the squid, and drizzle some dressing over everything.
I mean, my lands. The rice noodles have very few calories, which is great, and the fats in this dish are healthy from the olive oil and cashews. Squid provides lean protein, we have tons of fiber and vitamins from the veg, and WHAT’S NOT TO LIKE?
I mean, really.
Make this soon, make it over and over, and enjoy!
- FOR THE DRESSING
- 1/4 cup sweet chili sauce
- 2 tablespoons soy sauce
- 1 teaspoon fish sauce
- 1 lime, juiced
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 tablespoon sriracha
- FOR THE SALAD
- 1/2 package rice vermicelli noodles, softened or "cooked" to package directions
- 1/2 pound squid, cleaned and cut into rings
- 8 cups chopped lettuce or other salad greens
- 1/4 cup cilantro leaves
- 1 scallion, sliced
- 1/2 cup chopped cucumber
- 1 yellow bell pepper, diced
- 1 medium carrot, cut into matchsticks or grated
- 1/2 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
- 1 red jalapeno, sliced
- 1/4 cup cashews, roughly chopped
- Drain the noodles and pour 2 tablespoons dressing over them. Toss to coat.
- Pour 2 tablespoons of the dressing over the calimari. Let sit while you preheat a large skillet to medium-high heat.
- Prep the salad ingredients. Layer the lettuce, cilantro, cucumber, chili pepper, bell pepper, scallion, carrot, tomatoes, and cashews on plates.
- When the skillet is very hot, drizzle in some oil and cook the calamari for about 2 minutes on each side until well browned and cooked through. Remove from the skillet.
- Top the prepared salads with the noodles, calamari, and drizzle everything with extra dressing. Enjoy!