The spring weather here in Santa Cruz is making me crave salads. One I made recently is this very tasty salad with flavors that remind me of the fresh, delicious, inventive foods we enjoyed on the amazing Vietnam journey we took a few years ago. This salad is made with simple ingredients; fresh bean sprouts, green onions and carrots. But it’s the dressing that gives it the sweet, tangy goodness that makes you want to lick your plate!
As I’ve used previously, the sweetness comes from Xylotol, a low carb sweetener made from hard wood. It’s easily obtainable at most grocery stores that offer organic foods, such as Whole Foods and New Leaf, a local NorCal chain.
This recipe is modified from a cookbook we got in Vietnam–“Vietnam Cooking made easy.” (Although many of the recipes really aren’t that easy- this one is!)
INGREDIENTS (serves 3-4)
Vietnamese pickled bean sprout salad
- 1lb. fresh bean organic sprouts, rinsed (caution: be sure the bean sprouts can be safely eaten raw. Those bought in Asian markets may have a warning that they must be only eaten cooked. Don’t use those for this salad!)
- 2-3 spring onions, rinsed and cut into 1 ” lengths
- 1-2 small carrots, scrubbed and cut into matchsticks to yield 1 1/2 cups
- 3/4 cup white vinegar (I use standard white vinegar and add a few Tbsp. of white wine vinegar.)
- 2-3 Tbsp. Fish sauce (Thai is ok; it’s often easier to obtain then that made in Vietnam.)
- 2 Tbsp. Xylotol
- 1 cup water
- Rinse bean sprouts and set aside to dry for approx. 1/2 hr.
- Combine sprouts, carrots, green onions in salad bowl and refrigerate.
- In a saucepan, bring the Dressing ingredients to a boil over medium heat, then reduce heat to low and simmer for 2-3 minutes to dissolve the Xylotol.
- Remove from heat and let cool.
- Dress the salad and let marinate for at least 1 hour.
- Drain excess liquid before serving. (You can use the dressing excess to marinate chicken or fish.)
Optional: serve with chopped cilantro.