Paleo Asian Side Dishes – 3 simple and quick Asian-inspired Paleo vegetable sides that will become your favorite side dish recipes !
This week I’m sharing with you three very popular everyday Paleo Asian Side Dishes –
Cold Garlicky Cucumbers – 涼拌黃瓜 (Liángbàn huángguā)
Chilled Sesame Spinach – 芝麻菠菜 (Zhīma bōcài)
Crunchy Celery-Carrot Slaw – 涼拌芹菜 (Liángbàn qíncài)
These vegetable sides are great for winter and summer. Easy and quick, and they go perfectly with any protein-rich main dish, like my Paleo Mongolian Beef, Paleo Tender Pork Roast, or Thai Red Curry Chicken.
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They will become your favorite after one bite !
Cold Garlicky Cucumbers – Paleo Asian Side Dishes #1
This is probably one of the most iconic side dishes in Taiwan. Almost every noodle shop along the streets of Taiwan serves this cold garlicky cucumber dish.
There are 3 key things to know so the cucumbers will be crunchy and refreshing.
1. Use mini Persian cucumbers or English cucumbers.
These cucumbers have thinner skin and there’s no need to remove the outer skin. My first choice would be to use the mini cucumbers.
2. Remove the seeds of the cucumbers.
After slicing them in half, use a small teaspoon to scoop out the seeds so that the cucumbers will be less watery and remain crunchy.
3. Smash them.
Oh yeah. You’ve heard me right. Smash them in a ziplock bag with a meat pounder or a small bottle. Why smash ? The smashed cucumbers will grab the dressing sauce better and hence they will be more yum !
Chilled Sesame Spinach – Paleo Asian Side Dishes #2
There are quite a few different dressings for this dish but my favorite is the Sesame paste dressing.
My Paleo Sesame paste dressing is very versatile. You can use it not only for this dish but also for salad dressing or even for grilled chicken breasts.
Follow the recipe instructions below and taste and make adjustments to your desired consistency.
It’s creamy, savory, and with a hint of toasted sesame fragrance and slightly sweet.
I’m mouthwatering just thinking about this Chilled Sesame Spinach.
Crunchy Celery-Carrot Slaw – Paleo Asian Side Dishes #3
Similar to the cold garlicky cucumber, the crunchy celery and carrot salad tastes even better the day after.
Cut the front and tip-end of the celery and use a peeler to peel off the outer tough fibrous skin. Slice them to matchstick thin (about 3-inch length as instructed below).
Give them a quick toss in hot boiling water and rinse in cold tap water. Add some simple seasonings and voila! Another wonderful Paleo Asian Side Dish is ready to go !
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Cold Garlicky Cucumbers. One of the most iconic side dishes in Taiwan. Follow the instructions to make the most tasty and crunchy cucumbers. They taste even better the day after !
- 14 oz mini persian cucumbers (or 1 English cucumber)
- Fine sea salt
- 2 large garlic cloves grated
- 4 tsp rice vinegar (or use 3 tsp apple cider vinegar for a more acidity taste)
- 2 tsp toasted sesame oil
Wash the cucumbers and cut ends off. Slice them in half lengthwise and use a small teaspoon to scoop out the seeds.
Roughly chop them diagonally and place them in a large ziplock bag. Push out the air and seal the bag. Use a meat ponder or a bottle to gently smash the cucumbers.
Place cucumber pieces in a large bowl. Sprinkle over sea salt and use your hands to gently rub the salt into smashed cucumbers. Cover and rest in the refrigerator for 15-20 minutes.
Drain/dump the cucumber water. Season the cucumbers with ingredients listed under “Seasoning”. Toss to combine. Serve cold and the cucumbers taste even better the day after.
Chilled Sesame Spinach - Paleo Asian Side Dishes. Use my Paleo Sesame Paste Sauce for salad dressing or even for grilled chicken breasts. Follow the recipe instructions below and taste and make adjustments to your desired consistency.
- 1 whole bunch spinach
- Toasted sesame seeds (optional. Before serving)
- 1 1/2 tbsp tahini - sesame paste (no salt and sugar added)
- 2 tbsp coconut aminos
- 1 clove garlic grated
- 1 tsp rice vinegar
- 1 tsp sesame oil
- 1 1/2 tbsp water (or more for thinner sauce)
Bring a pot of water to boil. Season the water with a pinch of salt. In the meantime, prepare the sesame sauce and set aside.
Rinse and wash the spinach. Roughly cut the whole bunch of spinach to 3 -4 large sections/parts.
Quickly blanch the spinach in hot boiling water for 10 -15 seconds. Drain and rinse them under cold or ice cold water to stop the cooking and preserve the vibrant color.
Gently squeeze the spinach with your hands to remove all excess water. Drizzle over sesame sauce and give it a quick toss. Sprinkle toasted sesame seeds before serving (optional).
Crunchy Celery-Carrot Slaw - Paleo Asian Side Dishes. Nutritious and crunchy celery and carrot sliced to matchstick thin. Refrigerate in the fridge for the ultimate crunchy and refreshing vegetable side dish !
- Half one whole celery
- 1 large loose carrot
- 1/4 to 1/2 tsp coarse sea salt
- 1 tsp grated ginger
- 1 tbsp sesame oil
- Small pinch white pepper
- Sprinkle toasted sesame seeds (before serving)
Bring a pot of water to boil. Season the water with a pinch of salt and olive oil.
Celery: Cut off the base and leaves, then wash the stalks under running water. Use a peeler to remove any fibrous and tough strings. Slice them to matchstick thin (about 3-inch length).
Carrot: Slice the carrot diagonally into thin slices (about 1/8-inch thick). Stack 2-3 slices a time on top of each other, then cut through the layers to create matchsticks.
Blanch celery and carrot matchsticks in hot boiling water for 30 seconds to 1 minute.
Quickly rinse them under cold or ice cold water to stop the cooking and preserve the vibrant color.
Drain and shake excess water from the vegetables before adding them to a large bowl. Stir to coat “Seasonings”. Set aside for a couple of minutes to develop the flavor. Serve chilled and taste even better the day after.