I’m not proud to admit it, but my beige flag is that I hate vegetables. As a kid, I ate vegetables like they were going out of style, but now as a 30-year-old woman, I find myself having to sneak them into my meals to make sure I’m getting a proper amount of much-needed nutrients. One of the ways I do this is by having a couple of go-to salads in my arsenal that feel more like a fun dish than just a daily dose of greens. Enter: Cameron Diaz’s Summer Crunch Salad.
When I first heard about Cameron Diaz’s summer crunch salad in collaboration with goop Kitchen, it definitely didn’t even seem like the dish you think about when you hear the word “salad” (read: mango and cashews). This salad is available for delivery through goop Kitchen, but for those of us who don’t live within their delivery radius (LA), read on for everything you’ll need to recreate this fresh summer salad at home.
The Ingredients and Recipe
Avaline’s blog spilled the full list of ingredients and steps needed to make the base of the salad, the toppings, and the vinaigrette dressing.
- 4 cups salad greens (romaine or gem lettuce is recommended)
- 1 cup snow peas thinly sliced
- 1 cup carrots thinly sliced
- ½ cup cucumbers cut into ¼ inch half-moon slices
- ½ mango peeled and thinly sliced
- ½ avocado thinly sliced
- 1 cup mixed fresh herbs (mint, cilantro, and basil are recommended)
- ¼ cup cashews toasted and roughly chopped
- ½ cup puffed rice
- 2 fresh lime wedges (for garnish)
Start with a base of your lettuce of choice, then add in your vegetables and fruits (yes, avocado is technically a fruit). Top everything off with cashews and puffed rice, and garnish with herbs and fresh-squeezed lime.
- ¼ cup cashews toasted
- 2 tablespoons maple syrup
- 1 teaspoon Sriracha or hot sauce
- 1 lime juiced
- 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
- 1 tablespoon freshly-grated ginger
- 1 tablespoon miso paste
- 2 tablespoons rice wine vinegar
- 1 clove freshly-grated or finely-minced garlic
- 1 tablespoon tamari or soy sauce
- ½ cup sunflower oil
- 1 tablespoon toasted sesame oil
To make the dressing, add all ingredients to a blender, except for the sunflower oil and toasted sesame oil, and blend on high until everything is smooth. Keep the blender running while slowly adding in the oils, and mix until combined.
My Final Verdict
I was pleasantly surprised by how inexpensive the ingredients were. After dropping almost $50 to make the Bella Hadid smoothie at home, I expected the price tag of the ingredients for a goop salad to be about the same. However, I only ended up spending $27 for everything (except for the puffed rice because my grocery store was out of it). Full disclosure: I didn’t go the extra mile and make the vinaigrette. Instead, I took a page out of Ina Garten’s book and decided “store-bought is fine,” as she’d say. I did use a very light and fresh vinaigrette to stick with the overall vibe of this dish, though, and it paired perfectly.
Unfortunately, that’s where the ease of making this salad ended. Sure, making a salad typically just involves chopping, but this salad requires some ingredients to be julienned (chopped very finely), which is a lot easier said than done. Luckily, I bought pre-cut carrots, but I found it difficult and time-consuming to julienne the snow peas, mango, and avocado. But to be fair, I don’t cook much, so this may be a normal amount of prep for a meal.
After assembling everything, the final product was a salad full of texture and bright flavors, just like the recipe promises. The bright colors and fresh ingredients really do make this the ideal summer salad, but the only con was that it did not have much protein. I’m all for a Meatless Monday meal, but I was pretty hungry when I made this salad for dinner, so I ended up needing to add grilled chicken to feel fully satisfied. So just a pro tip: add a protein source like salmon, chicken, or tofu for a satiating meal.
But there were a lot of things I loved about the dish. I enjoyed using unexpected ingredients that I don’t consume often, like snow peas and mango, in a salad. I also liked that this was a lighter salad ideal for a hot, summer day compared to other salads I eat that contain heavier ingredients like bacon, cheese, or hard-boiled eggs. My favorite part? The salad paired perfectly with a crisp glass of Sauvignon Blanc, just like Diaz promised.