This salad is all kinds of tropical. Plantains, cashews, ginger, lime. Hot, hot, hot. We only get so many summer days in Amsterdam, but this salad makes even our scarce summer days feel like Mombassa, if only in your mouth.
Cashews are native to Brazil, ginger to Asia and the lovely and nutrient rich plantain is a great summer alternative to the usual carbohydrate lineup. There are many superfoods happening in this salad, cashews are prebiotic, meaning it helps you grow good gut bacteria. Ginger is a powerful digestive and great for the immune system.
The dressing and the plantains are the stars here. Plantains are a complex carb, with a low glycemic index to fuel or refuel after endurance workouts and they are full of potassium, important for electrolyte processing and maintaining hydration, great summer food.
I make this salad with large cabbage leaves and stuff them as a wrap or you can slice them thin and make a bowl out of it. The plantains are roasted in the oven for a few minutes and then finished in a pan with ghee or coconut oil to give the golden brown and crispy edges and less fat than normal preparation.
Plantain Salad & Ginger Cashew Dressing
Prep: 20 mins
Serves: 2 for main or 4 as a side
200g of raw cashews or cashew butter (sunflower seeds if you have a nut allergy)
60ml of Raw Apple Cider, Coconut or other mild vinegar
2 Tbs (30ml) of Tamari, Nama Shoyu, or coconut aminos (whole fermented soy sauce variants)
1 Tbs (15g) of crushed red chilis or 1/2 a fresh red chili pepper, seeded and chopped
1 Tbs (15g) or maple syrup, honey or a few drops of stevia
2 Tbs (30g) of chopped fresh ginger
1 small clove of chopped garlic
100ml of water
1 lime juiced
1 handful of watercress or baby salad greens
1 handful of spinach or other dark leafy green, kale or chard
1 handful of celery or 1/2 a thinly chopped fennel for crunch
1/4 a purple cabbage chopped razor thin
1 handful of mixed sprouts, I used baby asparagus
1 blackened plantain (not green!) peeled and chopped crosswise
1 Tbs of coconut oil or ghee
1 handful of fresh coriander/cilantro, chopped
1 handful of green onions, chopped
2 Tbs (30g) of black sesame seeds
Preheat your oven to 170C and set out a frying pan with a pat of ghee or coconut oil for the plantains. The lazy way is to use cashew or sunflower butter but to experience the full pow-pow of this lovely dressing, roast the cashews first at 170C for about 10mins or until golden brown. Watch them closely after 5-7mins. They go from roasted to burnt in a flash.
While the cashews are roasting, chop up your vegetables and toss them in a big mixing bowl. Remove the cashews from the oven and let them cool. Turn up the oven to 200C. While cashews are cooling, pop your sliced plantains on a waxed paper lined baking tray and roast for 7-10mins.
To finish the dressing, toss all the ingredients except the water in the blender or food processor. Whizz the ingredients together and add water a bit at a time until you reach a consistency you like, taste along the way.
Remove the plantains from the oven and turn on the frying pan with ghee/oil and finish the plantains in so brown and crisp the edges. Toss the salad with dressing and top with the hot plantains, some chopped coriander (cilantro), green onion and black sesame.