There is so much lettuce in the apartment already that I refuse to harvest what’s in the garden. Our CSA has been flush with greens this year, and we’ve been all about ways to use ’em up — in a way that doesn’t feel like we’re eating salad, and nothing but salad, all the time.
That feeling isn’t restricted to the lettuce haul. I can’t be the only shopper whose eyes want more than the fridge can hold. Though I’ve gotten much more restrained over the years, I do still tend to find myself mid-week, staring at shelves filled with green veggies but no protein nor grains and trying to figure out how to make a produce-based meal that’s fit for a human, not a bunny rabbit.
Since this winter, I’ve been browsing Anna Jones’s A Modern Way to Eat for help solving this dilemma. Like another of my go-to vegetarian cookbook authors, Deborah Madison, Jones knows just how to transform a crisper full of cellulose into a hearty meal. Today’s gorgeous salad-slash-noodle bowl takes its inspiration from one of her creations. Thanks to creamy miso dressing, rich avocado, and hearty sweet potatoes (my addition), you barely notice that you’re making a welcome dent in your lettuce collection.
Though this dish looks the prettiest when first made and arranged carefully in big bowls, you can also toss all the ingredients together and portion the salad out for brown bag lunches.
- For the dressing:
- 1 tablespoon brown rice or barley miso paste
- 1 tablespoon rice wine vinegar
- 1 tablespoon soy sauce
- Juice of 1/2 a lime
- 4 tablespoons mayonnaise
- About 1 teaspoon finely grated fresh ginger
- For the salad
- 1 sweet potato, cut in a 1-inch dice (I like to leave the skin on)
- About half a large head broccoli, stems chopped and florets broken into bite-sized pieces
- 3 ounces instant rice noodles (I used brown rice noodles)
- 2 tablespoons pumpkin seeds or pecans
- 2 tablespoons sesame leaves
- 4 large handfuls baby greens
- 1 avocado, pitted and cut into chunks
- In a small bowl, mix together all the ingredients. Taste for salt, adding a few pinches as needed (you likely won’t need much, due to the miso and soy).
- Bring a few inches of water to boil in the bottom of a steamer pot. Place the diced sweet potato in the steamer basket and set on top. Cover and steam for about 15 minutes, or until a knife inserted into a potato meets no resistance. Pour the potatoes into a bowl to cool. Add the broccoli to the steamer basket and return it to the steamer. Cover and cook about 5 minutes, just until the broccoli turns bright green. Remove the steamer basket and let the broccoli cool slightly.
- Turn off the heat below the pot of water and then plunge the noodles in. Let soak for a few minutes, according to package directions. (Brown rice noodles usually need about 5 minutes, but white rice noodles need less.) Drain.
- In a dry pan, toast the pumpkin and sesame seeds until golden and fragrant. Pour into a bowl as soon as they’re done.
- Reserve a few seeds for garnish. In a large bowl, toss together the lettuce, broccoli, sweet potato, seeds, and avocado with about half the dressing. Pile this into bowls, then wedge a handful of noodles into the side of each. Drizzle with a little more dressing and sprinkle with the reserved seeds.