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Earth Eats: Real Food, Green Living

Asian Inspiration: Japanese Baby Spinach Salad & Sesame Long Beans

Earth Eats is exploring some Asian-inspired flavors today with recipes for two side dishes and some inspiration to try something new in the garden this year.

japanese baby spinach salad

Photo: Alycin Bektesh (for WFIU)

Here's a simple recipe for a Japanese baby spinach salad that makes a refreshing spring or summer side dish.

Earth Eats is exploring some Asian-inspired flavors today with a side dish using baby spinach, and then we give you something to look forward to this fall (and incentive to try something new in the garden) with a recipe for sesame long beans.

Japanese Baby Spinach Salad

Ingredients:

  • 1 pound baby spinach
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • 2 teaspoons fish sauce
  • 1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil
  • 1 tablespoon ginger, cut across grain
  • 3-4 scallions, cut thin
  • 1 1/2 garlic cloves
  • 2 tablespoons sesame seeds
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

  1. Blanch the spinach: Cook it in boiling water until it wilts and then dunk the spinach into ice water using a strainer to keep the ice cubes out of your spinach leaves.
  2. Combine the remaining ingredients and whisk to combine.
  3. Add blanched spinach leaves (wring out as much water as you can before adding to the dressing) and toss until the dressing is well distributed.

In the photo you’ll notice an orange-colored sauce drizzled around the spinach. And if you’ve listened to episodes past, you’ll remember this stuff from everything from our Grilled Asparagus Salad to the Harrison Lake Garden Burger.

It’s a delicious red pepper coulis that Chef Orr describes as “one of those secret ingredients you can keep around and it makes your cooking look snazzy and taste great.”

Here’s the recipe (makes 3 cups):

Red Pepper Coulis

Ingredients:

  • 3 red peppers, washed, cored, and roughly chopped
  • 4 shallots, chopped
  • 1/4 cup tarragon vinegar
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1 tablespoon sea salt
  • 1 branch thyme
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • hot sauce, salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

  1. In a saucepan, combine peppers, shallots, vinegar, water, salt, thyme, and bay leaf. Bring to a boil, cover, and simmer until peppers are tender. Reserve liquid.
  2. In a blender, combine cooked peppers and olive oil and puree. Thin with the pepper cooking in liquid as needed.
  3. Season to taste with salt and pepper and tabasco and pass through a fine sieve.

Planting Asian Long Beans

It’s a great time to be planting long beans, so we wanted to give you some inspiration to try something new and plant some of these tasty additions in your garden this year.

If you’re thinking of growing long beans, know that they like hot and humid weather. They also like to climb as they grow, so plant them next to a pole or a chain link fence.

Asian Long Beans With Sesame Oil

asian sesame long beans

Photo: Rashad Mammadov/WFIU

Long beans are chock-full of nutrients like protein, iron, vitamin C, and magnesium. Here's a recipe for a tasty side dish.

Ingredients:

  • 2-3 cups long beans
  • 1 teaspoon garlic
  • 1 teaspoon ginger
  • ½ teaspoon lemon zest
  • pinch red pepper flakes
  • 2 tablespoons sesame seeds
  • squeeze of fresh lemon juice
  • sesame oil

Directions:

  1. Blanch the long beans. (Boil long beans for 3-4 minutes, until tender. Transfer to an ice bath.)
  2. Add garlic, ginger, lemon zest, and red pepper flakes to a pan of olive oil.
  3. Add long beans and a bit of water. Salt and pepper to taste, and add the sesame seeds.
  4. Squeeze long beans with lemon juice immediately before they are served. Drizzle sesame oil overtop.

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Earth Eats Staff

Earth Eats Staff is a weekly podcast, public radio program and blog bringing you the freshest news and recipes inspired by local food and sustainable agriculture.

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