This healthy gado gado salad draws inspiration from the traditional Indonesian gado gado, which is essentially a one-dish meal of vegetables drenched in peanut sauce. This recipe makes the classic not only weeknight-friendly but kid-friendly and, as the author says, even if your child eats nothing more than some sliced mango and peanut-sauced rice, don’t beat yourself up, as everything is still real, whole, unprocessed food and nutritious as can be. Besides, that means more gado gado salad for you.—Renee Schettler Rossi
Healthy Gado Gado Salad FAQs
Any extra peanut sauce can be kept in a resealable container in the refrigerator for up to 10 days. The peanut sauce will become quite thick when refrigerated, so loosen it up with a splash of hot water or let it sit out on your counter and come to room temperature before using.
A ripe mango that’s still slightly ripe is best for peeling and slicing, not one that’s too soft. Save those for smoothies or sorbet. For the best ways to get as much sweet fruit from a mango, we went to the pros for a little help. It’s your choice, darling!
The difference between black and white sesame seeds is simply that white are the ones that have had the hull stripped off. The hull is a little bitter so go with your preference here. Without the hull, the white seeds tend to have a little less flavor but they’re also sweeter.
Healthy Gado Gado Salad
For the healthy gado gado salad
- 1 1/2 cups uncooked brown rice, medium- or short-grain
- 8 cups cold water
- 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 4 to 8 large eggs (depending on however many you want)
- 4 carrots, peeled and cut into thin matchsticks or shaved into ribbons with a vegetable peeler
- 2 mangoes, peeled, pitted, and thinly sliced
- 1/4 head purple cabbage, thinly sliced
- 1 cup cilantro leaves
- 1 cup dry roasted, lightly salted peanuts, chopped
For the peanut sauce
- 1/4 cup sesame seeds
- 1/4 cup creamy peanut butter
- 5 tablespoons soy sauce
- 2 tablespoons rice vinegar
- 1 tablespoon honey, or more to taste
- 1 tablespoon grated or minced fresh gingerroot
- 2 garlic cloves
- 5 tablespoons warm water
Make the salad
- I like to boil my rice like pasta, as it always comes out perfectly and never sticks to the pan. Simply combine the rice and water in a saucepan. Bring the pot to a boil and let the rice cook away until tender, about 30 minutes. Drain, return the rice to the pot, stir in butter and salt, and cover until you are ready to assemble the salad. Fluff the rice with a fork before dishing it out.
- While the rice cooks, cook the eggs. Put the eggs in the bottom of a medium pot and cover with water by 1 inch. Cover the pot and bring the water to a boil. As soon as the water starts to boil, turn off the heat and set a timer for 12 minutes. After 12 minutes, drain the eggs, run them under cold water, and peel. Slice the peeled eggs and set them aside.
Make the peanut sauce
- Whiz the sesame seeds, peanut butter, soy sauce, rice vinegar, honey, ginger, garlic, and water together in a blender. Taste and, if desired, adjust the ingredients accordingly. (If you used natural or sugar-free peanut butter, you may feel compelled to add a touch more honey.)
Assemble the gado gado salad
- You can assemble individual gado gado salad bowls or make a single, large, family-style bowl of salad that you plonk in the center of the table. Either way, make a pile of rice, top it with carrots, mango, cabbage, cilantro, peanuts, and sliced eggs, and then drizzle it with some peanut sauce.
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Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.
Recipe Testers’ Reviews
Before making this healthy gado gado salad recipe, I had never tried gado gado. Boy, have I been missing out! I loved the freshness of this salad as well as the contrast of the many different textures and flavours.
What really makes this recipe special, however, is the peanut sauce. I would (and will!) eat this delicious sauce on anything. I used natural peanut butter (no added sugar) so I ended up adding more honey than the recipe called for. (I ended up using 4 tablespoons total). I adored the combination of flavors in the sauce—the richness of the peanut butter, the subtle heat of the fresh ginger and garlic, the saltiness of the soy sauce, and the sweetness of the honey.
This salad will definitely be in regular rotation in my home; I’m already thinking about when I can make it again!
This was a tasty and refreshing salad—just the right thing for the transitional season before the local spring produce starts arriving in the markets but you’re craving something fresh, crisp, and bright. The dressing was creamy but not cloying and the fresh garlic and ginger gave it a nice tangy sharpness to balance the richness of the peanut butter and the sesame. The sweet mango and cilantro combination reminded me of a Thai mango salad, so I added some finely diced bird’s eye chile pepper along with the mango—it makes it less kid-friendly but worked well for us!
You could easily incorporate different veggies or swap the eggs for another protein—shredded chicken, cold shrimp, grilled tofu—to make endless variations of this main-dish salad. I had more dressing than I needed, so we had it as a dipping sauce for chicken skewers the next night. It’s a great sauce to have lurking in the fridge. You could make the rice and eggs and prep the carrots, cabbage, and dressing a day in advance and then just toss everything together at the last minute. I used 4 eggs and added 1/2 pound large shrimp.
So delicious and a quick weeknight meal. My salad looked slightly different from the picture because I chose to serve it a la Cobb Salad with all the ingredients separately over the rice. This way, all the lovely colors can be shown off.
I used the suggested method for cooking eggs to cook my Easter eggs, as well. I opened and ate one right away and they were perfectly done. I used an ice water bath to halt the cooking, though, instead of running cold water over the eggs.
The sauce was delicious, needing no seasoning adjustments post-blending. I forgot that I had used up all my brown rice so I used white instead. I think brown rice would be better, but white was still tasty. A successful recipe overall. Yum!