I was sitting at work brainstorming recipes for my blog and I was just craving salad. I’ve been eating loads of unhealthy food lately, so it was like my body was telling me “Eat something healthy!” Normally, I don’t like salad very much. It’s always the same thing – lettuce, some other veggies, and then a dressing. Not very interesting. So I set out to make one I actually was excited to eat. The result was this lychee salad. It’s fully vegetarian and a treat for your tastebuds.
What is Lychee?
Lychee is a fruit found in many Asian countries. It’s very sweet and refreshing to eat. Normally it comes encased in a red skin with a large seed at the center. However since it has to be imported to the States, I usually buy it in a can. It comes in this very sweet syrup that I normally throw away, but I thought why not use some of this syrup too. So I used some of it to create this lychee vinaigrette. I used 4 tablespoons of the lychee syrup, 3 tablespoons of walnut oil, 2 teaspoons rice vinegar, 1/4 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon of vinegar. This vinaigrette was surprisingly good! It was one of those recipes I didn’t know would work until I tried it. It’s sweet and tart, and is a great way to make sure you taste the lychee flavor throughout the salad.
The ingredient that takes this recipe over the top for me are these crispy shallots. My mom used to make these things for me all the time, and I would put them in noodle soups, congee, and vermicelli bowls. They add a savory onion flavor and crunchiness to the dish which is a great contrast to the sweetness of the lychee. It also makes the salad so good, you forget you’re not eating meat.
La Tourangelle Walnut Oil
The last thing I want to talk about is this walnut oil I’m using. It’s from a brand called La Tourangelle. They make a variety of organic oils. Everything is locally sourced and made with all natural processes/materials. I’ve been looking to replace my artificially processed oil with something a little bit more healthy when I came across this brand. I love that they have a variety of oils for Asian cooking because one of my main complaints about Asian food is that its often too heavy, oily, and all around unhealthy. Hopefully, using these oils will change the way I look at Asian food. So far so good though. I loved the walnut flavor it adds to my vinaigrette and my crispy shallots. Will keep using these oils to see how I like it long-term.
Vegetarian Lychee Salad
- 1 can lychee 20 oz
- ¾ cup arugula 6 oz
- 2 medium radishes thinly sliced
- 1 shallot thinly sliced
- 1/3 cup & 3 tbsp walnut oil
- 1 carrot julienned
- 2 tsp rice wine vinegar
- ¼ tsp salt
- ¼ tsp pepper
- Dressing: Combine 4 tablespoons of lychee syrup from the can, 3 tablespoons of walnut oil, rice vinegar, salt, and pepper. Whisk ingredients together and set aside.
- Add the shallots to a sauce pan with 1/3 cup of walnut oil. Cook over medium heat for 5 minutes or until onions become light brown. Pour out the shallots over a strainer and transfer the shallots to plate covered with paper towels.
- Allow the shallots to cool for at least 10 minutes.
- Split the spring mix evenly between 4 plates. Top with the carrots, radishes, crispy shallots, and lychees. Drizzle the dressing over the top.