Growing up in the US, dinner was always pre-plated with an entree (usually meat), a vegetable, and a carb (usually rice, but sometimes potatoes). My mom was a good cook, but with a business to run, she was pressed for time, and mealtimes were practical and efficient. It wasn't until I moved to Japan a decade ago (almost to this day) that I realized there was a better way to eat.
Mealtimes in our household are leisurely and relaxed, and it's a time for my family to unwind and catch up on each of our days. The food is centered around a spread of 5-6 side dishes with no discernable entree, and the focus is on vegetables, with protein used more as a seasoning than a main ingredient.
This carrot salad is a perfect example of a dish that might show up on our table (In fact, it shows up at least once a week). It's not only nutritious and delicious; it makes for a colorful addition to the spread.
Salting the vegetables tames the onions while giving the carrots a wonderful crunchy texture. It also removes any excess liquid from the veggies, which keeps them from getting watery. This makes it a fantastic addition to bento box lunches (where the leftovers usually end up).
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