Ten Treasure Salad


When I was a kid, “Ten Treasure Salad” was my dad’s go-to summertime potluck dish.  He cut the recipe out of the paper and it became, along with his tacos and spaghetti sauce, one of his signature dishes.  I really don’t know how he came to be the one to come up with what we brought to cookouts, I imagine he got tired of all the potato salad and wanted something different.  He also really liked to cook when he had the chance.
I loved this dish as a kid.  I realize now it was because it was all my favorite things thrown together – snow peas, mushrooms, shrimp, broccoli, cauliflower and red bell peppers in a ginger soy dressing.  Somehow my version has never quite tasted like I remember it, in part I know, because I throw tofu in for the chicken, although my marinated tofu has more flavor than the chicken ever could.  I have played around with this recipe over the years and I think I finally came up with a version that rocks it.  Among my substitutions:
  • Rice noodles for the rotini pasta
  • Teriyaki marinated tofu for chicken
  • Ginger soy salad dressing instead of the called for 1/4 cup soy sauce with 1/8 teaspoon ginger
  • Adding cilantro for an extra kick
  • Adding garlic, ginger and soy sauce when I saute the veggies
I whip up my own teriyaki sauce sauce based on a recipe from The Vegetarian Meat & Potatoes Cookbook.
3 tablespoons soy sauce or tamari
3 tablespoons orange juice
Minced garlic
1 tablespoon maple syrup
3 tablespoons sesame oil
I have learned that if you boil tofu for about 10 minutes or so, it firms up and holds marinades beautifully.
I use Twin Oaks tofu, which is pretty firm to start with.   The longer it marinates, the more flavor it holds, so I will prep this in the morning or even sometimes a day ahead of time.
The Ginger Soy salad dressing is based on one I used to eat religiously at a restaurant that sadly, is no longer open.  It was primarily a vegetarian smoothie place that had a nice salad bar I’d grab lunch from a few days week back before we had a kid and a mortgage and I could eat out every day.  I loved their ginger soy dressing, I swore it was sprinkled with fairy dust that made it addictive.  Here’s my version of it.
1/2 cup olive oil
1/8 soy sauce
1 tablespoon rice vinegar
1 clove garlic, minced
1 1/2 tablespoons ginger, grated
1/2 teaspoon mustard
1 teaspoon honey
pepper to taste
Now, for the salad.  I throw in the following:
Carrots, sliced
Mushrooms, sliced
Broccoli, chopped
Cauliflower, chopped
Snow peas or sugar snaps
Red Bell Pepper, cut into small strips
Scallions or Chives, chopped
Marinated Tofu
Cooked noodles (I like pad thai type rice noodles)
I saute some of the vegetables in sesame oil with ginger and garlic.  I start with the mushrooms and when they are slightly cooked I add the broccoli and cauliflower, also adding a touch of water/wine/broth to steam as well as soy sauce or salt.  I stir fry that for a few minutes, then add the snow peas and shrimp.  When the shrimp are done, I combine this mixture with the tofu, noodles and the remaining veggies (I like my carrots and peppers raw for a nice crunch), cilantro and about half of the ginger soy salad dressing. 
This salad is good hot or cold.  I find myself making early in the day during the summer, especially when I know it’s going to be hot out there.  It keeps well for a few days, is a great addition to a potluck and you can mix up what you put in there.  I’ve been known to substitute zucchini for the broccoli, regular peas for the snow peas, sometimes I’ll use a variety of mushrooms, sometimes I’ll just use regular button mushrooms.  I imagine marinated chicken would be great in it as well.
Happy Summer Eating!

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