Thai-Style Pork Salad


Serve this dish as an appetizer or make it a light but filling main course. It's a good way to incorporate inexpensive cuts of pasture-raised meat into a plant-based diet. If you want to stretch the meat even more, add some shredded cabbage, finely chopped bell pepper, or mushrooms.

In Thailand this dish is usually made with sugar, but I've omitted it. If you do want that sweet note to balance the sour, spicy, and salty flavors, drizzle in a small amount of honey while the meat is still warm.

Unlike most versions of this dish, mine has a surprise ingredient: minced whole lime. Tiny pieces of fruit and rind burst with citrus flavor when you bite into them, adding sour and slightly bitter notes to this savory and spicy dish.

If you don't have any lemongrass, don't let that stop you from making this dish. It will still be a winner.

  • 1 lb ground pasture-raised pork at room temperature
  • ½ cup finely chopped red onion
  • 1 tsp grated ginger
  • 1 stalk lemongrass, inner leaves finely chopped
  • 1 red chili pepper
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 1 organic lime
  • 2 Tablespoons fish sauce
  • 1 cup blistered (soaked prior to roasting) or dry roasted peanuts, chopped
  • 1/2 cup packed chopped mint leaves
  • 1/2 cup packed chopped cilantro leaves and stems

  1. Preheat a cast iron or stainless steel skillet over medium heat. Add the meat and break it up with a stainless steel spatula. Add the onions, ginger, lemongrass, and chili. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the meat browns.
  2. While the meat cooks, cut 4 sides off the lime, each ¼- to ½-inch thick. Place each slice skin-side down and cut into the smallest squares you can. Set them aside.
  3. Once the meat has browned, turn off the heat. Grate the garlic into the skillet and stir to incorporate it into the meat mixture. Add the lime juice and fish sauce and stir, scraping up any brown bits on the bottom of the pan. Stir in the peanuts, mint, and cilantro. Taste for seasoning make any necessary adjustments.
  4. Serve immediately with lettuce leaves.