Are you tired of your typical American style spinach salad? If you are, I have a perfect, mouth watering Chinese style spinach salad for you today. Although it is very different than the baby spinach salad you are familiar with, it is still very easy and simple to prepare. The combination of flavors gives this salad a different dimension that your taste buds will love.
Occasionally, some of my Chinese friends will ask me this question:
“What’s the difference between an American (or Western) Salad and a Chinese salad?”
To avoid getting technical, my simple reply is: “Raw vs. lightly cooked and chilled”. I know this may not be true in all cases, but with most salad recipes I believe this is the case. If you have a better answer, please let me know.
In my recent post, I shared with you my spinach salad with grapefruit that is full of nutrition and flavor. Because of its mild taste, baby spinach is the best choice when making a raw vegetable salad. When making this Chinese style spinach salad, I used Chinese spinach. It is usually much bigger in size than the spinach bunch you normally see in American grocery stores. The leaves are a much darker green. Each bunch has a pinkish red root tip. That’s how you can identify them in a Chinese store.
Because the Chinese spinach is more mature than the baby spinach, it makes its bitter taste more distinct when eating it raw. However, after blanching in water, it is perfect for this recipe. The color contrast of the brilliant green against the orange in the carrots makes it look absolutely appealing.
Besides spinach and carrots, the third major ingredient is glass noodles. Noodles of all kinds have always been my favorite. My son Leo’s as well. A while back, I posted a recipe of glass noodle salad that my parents liked to prepare when I was a child. Now, as a mom of a 2.5-year-old, I’m continuously trying numerous ways to encourage him to eat different vegetables. Adding the spinach and carrot with his favorite noodles was one idea I hoped would work. However, In this case he did end up eating more noodles than spinach and carrot.
I have to remind you that if you are making this recipe, be sure to make a larger batch because everybody will want to fill their plates with a second serving. Because it is vegan, gluten-free, and nut-free, it is also a great choice for a potluck that fits almost everybody’s dietary needs.
- 6 cups water
- 2 oz dry glass noodles
- 8 oz Chinese spinach, well rinsed and cut to 4-inch long pieces
- 1 cup shredded carrots (approximately 3 oz)
- 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
- ½ teaspoon sesame oil
- ¾ teaspoon salt
- (optional) ½ teaspoon coconut sugar
- 1 tablespoon soy sauce (gluten-free if desired, use Coconut Aminos for soy-free version)
- 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
- ½ tablespoon chili oil (see note)
- ¼ teaspoon wasabi oil
- In a saucepan, bring water to a boil. Add glass noodles. Reduce heat to a medium and boil the noodles for approximately 2 minutes. Add chopped spinach and shredded carrots into the saucepan and cook with the glass noodles for 1 additional minute or until the noodles are soft and cooked.
- Drain and rinse spinach, carrots, and glass noodles with cold water. Transfer the spinach, carrots, and noodles into a salad spinner. Spin to remove excess water.
- In a small mixing bowl, combine all dressing ingredients and mix well.
- In a large mixing bowl, gently toss together the spinach, carrots, and glass noodles with dressing. Serve immediately.