I recently heard about a web meme called the 52 Week Salad Challenge. The basic idea is that everyone who participates must grow or forage some salad stuff to eat every week of the year.
Well, anyone who reads SmarterFitter Daily knows that I love salads. Furthermore, I could use some encouragement in the gardening department. Last year’s garden wasn’t my best effort – I bit off more than I could chew. This year, I’m taking it one step at a time. That is, I’m not going to let myself grow anything until I’ve proved that I can keep my current set of plants alive.
I know I’m a couple weeks late with this salad challenge, but better late than never. I begin the challenge with something easy: mung bean sprouts. I’ve had a hankering for these ever since the start of Chinese New Year (I want to make egg fu yung) but these sprouts, especially when young, are delicious raw in salads. And they’re pretty brainless to grow:
- Take a container (a jar or a bowl works) and put in some mung beans, leaving at least enough space for the beans to quadruple in size (which they will di as they sprout)
- Fill the container with water and let the beans soak overnight
- Drain the soaked beans and rinse them
- Repeat the rinsing and draining process every 8-12 overs
- In a few days you will have sprouts!
(For more comprehensive instructions, read this: How to Sprout Mung Beans.)
But what of the salad? Sprouted mung beans have a very earthy flavour and take well to something with a bit of sweetness. So I put my honey mustard dressing to use and took some inspiration from this recipe for carrot and fennel salad.
My salad today was essentially:
- 1 juilenned carrots
- 1/2 fennel bulb finely sliced
- 1 cup mung beans
- a small handful each of coriander, chives, and basil, finely chopped (also from my “kitchen garden”)
- ~1 Tbsp currants, soaked in boiling water for about 10 minutes
- squeeze of fresh lemon juice
- 1 Tbsp honey mustard dressing
- salt & pepper
Toss it all up together and that was lunch (with a bit of mackerel on the side – a nice partner for this salad).
This salad was pretty good but I’m looking forward to toying with some other variations. I want to try a raw version of Ottolenghi’s Carrot and Mung Bean Salad. And this carrot and mung bean salad with coconut and indian spices also appeals.
Misk Cooks is also sprouting mung beans and made a beautiful salad of cubed mango, dried diced Bing cherries, parsley, basil, jalapeño, and sprouted mung beans, all tossed in a light dressing of lemon juice, olive oil and… whoa… fizzy lemonade!
Misk may say I inspired her to sprout mung beans, but SHE’S inspired ME to start growing herbs again in my kitchen. So perhaps that will be my next post for the 52 Week Salad Challenge. That is, if they’re still alive by then.