March is National Nutrition Month, when the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics reminds everyone to return to the basics of healthy eating. It is also the time of year when the Academy celebrates expertise of registered dietitian nutritionists as the food and nutrition experts.
In Japanese, "sunomono" — which means "vinegared things" — refers to a salad of thinly sliced vegetables that are marinated in rice vinegar and soy sauce. The result is a salad with a slight pickled quality, sweetened with a touch of sugar. Among the many nutrient-rich fresh vegetables that may be prepared sunomono-style include broccoli, cabbage, carrots, cauliflower, celery, cucumber, daikon radish, mushrooms, onions, red radishes, scallions (green onions), snow peas, spinach, string beans, seaweed and turnips.
⅓ cup rice wine vinegar*
2 tablespoons water
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
1 teaspoon low-sodium soy sauce
½ medium English cucumber, halved lengthwise, very thinly sliced on a diagonal
2 medium carrots or daikon radishes, very thinly sliced
1 cup (3 ounces) snow peas, stem ends removed, halved crosswise
1 medium green onion, sliced lengthwise, then in 1-inch strips
1 tablespoon minced, peeled ginger root
⅛ teaspoon crushed chili pepper flakes
3 cups shredded leaf lettuce
1 tablespoon toasted sesame seeds
- Combine vinegar and water in a small microwave-safe bowl. Whisk in sugar. Heat for 30 to 60 seconds on medium heat, mix until sugar dissolves. Whisk in the soy sauce and set aside.
- In a medium bowl, place cucumbers, carrots, snow peas, green onions, ginger root and chili pepper flakes. Pour vinegar-soy sauce mixture over vegetables and toss gently until the vegetables are well-coated. Cover bowl and place in refrigerator for 4 hours or overnight.
- After vegetables have marinated, remove from refrigerator. Serve on a bed of lettuce. Drizzle remaining marinade over the salad and sprinkle with sesame seeds.
- Substitute rice wine (mirin) or any sweet white wine for rice wine vinegar.
- Vary the veggies! An array of colorful vegetable — prepared sunomono-style — makes a great side dish for a party buffet or as a picnic salad, which can be prepared up to two days in advance.
Calories: 60; Calories from fat: 10; Total fat: 1; Saturated fat: 0; Trans fat: 0g; Cholesterol: 0mg; Sodium: 170mg; Total carbohydrate: 13g; Dietary fiber: 2g; Sugars: 9g; Protein: 2g