Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Vegan Peanut Salad

As I mentioned in this post, peanuts are very, very nutritious. Peanuts are known for being good sources of monounsaturated fats which make peanuts great for heart health. But I was surprised to learn that peanuts are also a great source of antioxidants. The antioxidants in peanuts rival the antioxidants found in fruits like blackberries and strawberries and surprisingly enough the antioxidant content of peanuts is actually greater than the antioxidants content found in apples, carrots and beets.

When I read the article about peanuts being a good source of antioxidants, I thought "good, here's another reason to munch on peanuts" :) Not that I need many reasons to munch on peanuts, since peanuts are one of my favorite snacks. I always keep some roasted peanuts at home and love to grab a handful of peanuts whenever the mood to munch on something hits me:) My friend Akila regularly makes peanut salad for our get together's and I enjoy her version every single time. Since I like it so much I have begun to make peanut salad at home more often. Over time my salad has evolved a little and my version now also included cooked corn and carrots in it.

A lot of the versions of peanut salad that I see online specify that peanuts have to be added just before serving but I like my peanuts a little soft and a little crunchy, so I mix the peanuts with the rest of the ingredients and allow the peanuts to absorb a little of the moisture released by the other veggies so that it attains that slightly juicy, soft and crunchy texture that I love so much :) This salad can also be pretty filling since it has the protein from peanuts too making it ideal for a light lunch or dinner :)

Vegan Peanut Salad

Click here for a printable view of this recipe

Ingredients and Method to make Peanut Salad
2 cups cooked corn
2 cups dry roasted unsalted peanuts without skin
2 large carrots grated
2 to 3 mini cucumbers with skin cut into small pieces
salt to taste
2 jalapenos cut fine (or to taste) (see notes)
1 tsp oil (see notes)
juice of half a lemon ( or to taste)
2 to 3 tbsp finely cut cilantro (coriander leaves) for garnish.

In a large bowl assemble cooked corn, cut cucumbers and grated carrots and mix well. 

Heat oil in a small pan and add jalapenos to it, when the jalapenos sizzle a little remove and pour this oil+jalapenos on the assembled vegetables.
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Add peanuts, salt to taste and mix well. Garnish with lemon juice and cilantro leaves and mix well.

Keep the salad covered for about 30 minutes or so. Serve chilled or at room temperature.

Jalapenos can be substituted with  Thai or Indian variety of green chilies. If using green chilies, one might be sufficient in place of two jalapenos since jalapenos tend to have less heat (spiciness) as compared to green chilies. Adjust the use of green chilies/ jalapenos to taste to achieve required level of heat. My salad is a bit mild since we like it that way:)

If completely avoiding the use of jalapenos/ green chilies the use of oil can also be excluded

Suggested variation:
Finely cut red / yellow onions can be added to this salad too :) 
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