Here is a cold salad that will warm up your winter. It’s a good buffet dish because you can make it ahead and add the peanuts and cilantro later. Or even make it without the peanuts to avoid allergies. This salad has that nice combination of tangy sour, sweet, and hot. The original recipe came from Cooking Light, and I served the salad at a buffet lunch in my office, where it had no leftovers to take home.
Szechuan Cucumbers with Peanuts
1/4 cup chopped peanuts (I use dry roasted to avoid the extra oil)
½ cup rice vinegar
4 teaspoons reduced sodium soy sauce
1 ½ Tablespoons sugar
1/2 teaspoon ground red pepper (or more to taste)
1 teaspoon fresh ginger, minced
¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 medium cucumbers, peeled
1 small red onion (about ¾ cup), thinly sliced
2 Tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
Toast peanuts over medium heat in a small skillet, 4-6 minutes, until they are fragrant and just start to brown. Stir frequently to prevent burning. Remove from heat and set aside. In a medium bowl, whisk together vinegar, soy sauce, sugar, red pepper, ginger, and black pepper. Halve cucumbers lengthwise, remove seeds, and slice thinly cross wise. Add cucumbers and onion to dressing and toss gently. Cover and refrigerate 1-2 hours. Sprinkle peanuts and cilantro on salad just before serving. Makes 6 servings with 2 grams of fat/serving.