Blistered Shishito Pepper Salad

Shishito peppers are having a moment, and with good reason. They're delicious and so fun! I love having them as happy hour finger food, which is how I see them most often. But they're a wonderful salad ingredient, especially in a fresh, bright salad like this one!

This salad features all sorts of light, bright, crisp, flavorful fruits and veggies and is the perfect harmony of flavors. There's flavorful and zesty shishitos, sweet succulent mango, zippy pickled onions, luscious creamy avocado, crunchy pepitas, the refreshing mint.

The base of this salad is the humble Napa cabbage, which is actually one of my favorite salad bases (for example, see this Super Fresh Thai Cabbage Salad). Cabbages last in the fridge forever, so they're great to have on-hand. Napa is more delicate than other cabbages, both in terms of texture and flavor, so it's less cabbage-y overall.

The other great part about cabbage is that you can load it up with flavor and all the toppings imaginable. The cabbage can take it, and in fact excels with big bold flavors. I like to cut the leaves into thin ribbons and then let them marinate in an acidic dressing while I work on the other ingredients. Could lettuce stand up to that sort of treatment? No way!

If you're not familiar with shishito peppers, they've recently become trendy at least in part because their heat level is unpredictable. Most are quite mild, but some are hot! I've heard that one in ten is hot, although in my experience it's more like one in fifteen, which makes them so fun to eat. But don't let this scare you away- the mild ones are very mild, and the "hot" ones are less spicy than a jalapeno, so even the hot ones are tasty (and a bit surprising!).

In this salad, I've treated the shishito peppers just like the classic appetizer- simply blistered in a hot skillet. They're such a fun pepper, I like to keep them simple and let them be the star of this salad. The other ingredients really complement the complexity of their flavor.

This is a really easy salad to switch up. You could use kale instead of cabbage, papaya instead of mango, cilantro instead of mint, or charred poblanos instead of shishitos. Adding your favorite grain underneath (a bed of quinoa would be delicious) and/or a grilled protein would make it a meal. Charred corn cut off the cob when it's in season would be great. I've also served this alongside some slow-cooked black beans and the combination is delicious.

I have a suspicion I'll be making this salad again and again, all summer long, and I hope you will too. It's just so fun!

Please share your creation so I can see how you've interpreted the concept! Tag "The Rogue Brussel Sprout" on Facebook or hashtag #theroguebrusselsprout on Instagram.

I live for giant salads with Mexican-inspired flavors. Another favorite is this Roasted Corn, Avocado, and Strawberry Potluck Salad.

Thoughts About Ingredients
(These are all just suggestions, since rogue is more fun than recipe)
  • One small head or half a large head of Napa cabbage
  • Juice of a lime
  • 0.5 tsp cumin
  • Dash of agave
  • Generous salt and pepper
  • 15-20 shishito peppers
  • Oil of choice for cooking
  • Mango
  • Pickled red onions. You can buy these, or even better, make your own! They're easy and so delicious. Just slice them thinly, submerge them in cider vinegar, add a big handful of sugar and a palmful of salt, bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer. Let them go for 5-10 minutes, or until they reach your desired level of softness, then drain.
  • Avocado
  • Handful of fresh cilantro and/or mint
  • Roasted salted pepitas
Thoughts About Method
(These are all just suggestions, be creative and make it yours)
  1. First, get the cabbage ready so that it can sit and tenderize. Cut it into thin ribbons perpendicular to the stem and put the ribbons in a large mixing bowl with the lime juice, cumin, agave, salt, and pepper. Give it all a good toss, and let it sit. Toss it every time you walk by.
  2. If you're going to pickle your own red onions, start them now (see ideas above).
  3. Blister the shishito peppers in a skillet over high heat with a generous splash of oil. Keep the oil below the smoke point, and toss the peppers frequently. Cook for about ten minutes, until the flesh is blistered and the peppers are soft, then salt them generously.
  4. While the peppers are cooking, prep your other salad ingredients. Slice the mango and avocado, chop some mint, and finish getting your onions ready (or, conversely, open up a jar of onions you bought or previously made).
  5. Assemble! Put a bed of cabbage on the bottom and layer all of the other fruits and veggies on top. Finish with a handful of fresh mint and some roasted pepitas.
  6. To prep this salad in advance, keep the cabbage, sliced mango, and cooked peppers in separate containers in the fridge. Don't cut up the avocado and mint until you're ready to eat, and keep the pepitas separate until the last minute so they don't get soggy.


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