Gado-Gado Salad

Gado-Gado Salad

I’ve enjoyed this healthy salad at home thanks to my parents always cooking many varieties of food for us. I’ve also had the pleasure of enjoying it in Indonesia where my friend and I had been on a serious backpacking trip. After what seemed like the trek of a lifetime heading from Bangkok to Indonesia on the cheapest possible route riding many buses and sailing on small boats, we arrived in Jakarta. With nothing to eat after enduring hours of cheap travel, we dragged ourselves off the boat to find a driver to take us the next leg of our journey. What we found was our soon-to-be driver sitting with ten plus family members in the parking lot on a large blanket dishing out bowls of gado-gado. I don’t know if it was the hunger, the lack of sleep, the days of travel, or the fact that this gado-gado was made by a caring mother for her family, but the flavour and the memory was incredible. 

Gado-gado salad is so good. It’s like a cobb salad, but think spicy peanut sauce instead of creamy ranch. It also uses interesting combinations of vegetables like green beans, potatoes, corn and bean sprouts. While similar to a cobb salad in that it typically includes a hard boiled egg, I left out the egg and made this version vegan. I also made it peanut-free by using tahini in place of the traditional peanut sauce. Because the vegetables are either blanched or raw and the dressing is heavier on the tahini than the oil, it’s also very low in fat. I’ve used a store bought braised tofu to make my life super simple and just cut it straight from the package and added it to the salad. The corn I bought local from the farmers market. I hulled it and boiled it until cooked then sliced it off the cob. If you want to make this even easier you can buy canned corn, in water. Make sure there are no additives in the can. I repeat, it should just be corn and water. Even better, buy organic.  The green beans and the potatoes  have been blanched and cooled before cutting. The bed of spinach everything sits on has been chopped as well. You can omit this step if you like, but I think greens taste better when bite size. 

I also took all the vegetable scraps from the picture perfect bowls and tossed them in the dressing for a pre-made healthy salad for tomorrow’s meal prep.  I can only imagine that the dressing will soak right into those potatoes. My recommendation is make lots so you can have veggie packed meals for the next couple days.

If you’re short on any ingredients, I’ve linked any of the products that we sell at Fit Camp. I use this Bragg Liquid Soy Seasoning in sooo many things.

Feel free to swap out the tahini for all natural peanut butter; the crunchy kind would be SO good. I wanted to make this suit more diets, like paleo or simply nut free, so I went with tahini and it was delicious. I highly recommend using tofu in this dish, but you could also swap tofu for a protein of your choosing. This salad is gluten free, dairy free and vegan. 

Fun Fact: When you cook a potato then cool the potato overnight it increases its resistant starch. Resistant starch helps to fuel the good gut bacteria in your large intestine and acts as a prebiotic.  


Indonesian Gado-Gado Salad with Tahini Dressing 

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 30 minutes

Serves: 4



8 fingerling potatoes, whole unpeeled

20 green beans

1 red bell pepper sliced into matchsticks

1 carrot sliced into matchsticks

2 cups bean sprouts

2 corn on the cob or 1 can of organic corn kernels

1 brick braised tofu

8 cups chopped spinach

Spicy Tahini Dressing

⅓ cup tahini 

2 tablespoons Bragg soy sauce

2 tsp Santa Cruz lime juice (or use fresh squeezed lime)

2 tablespoons sambal oelek

2 tablespoons pure maple syrup


Fill a large pot with water and bring to a boil on the stove top.

While waiting for the water to boil, chop the carrots, bell peppers and spinach, set aside.

If using corn on the cob - hull corn and rinse.

If using canned corn - drain and rinse corn and set aside.

Chop tofu into bite size pieces, set aside.

Once the water is boiling, add the whole green beans and cook for 7 minutes.

Fill a medium size bowl with water and ice. 

When the green beans have cooked for 7 minutes, use a slotted spoon and remove the beans from the boiling water (keep the water on boil for the potatoes and the corn) and place in the ice cold water to stop them from cooking further. Remove from cold water, drain well, and set aside in a large bowl. 

Add the potatoes to the boiling water, let cook for 14 minutes.

Have a bowl with water and ice ready.

At 14 minutes, using a slotted spoon get each potato out of the boiling water and into the ice water to cool. When potatoes are cool, remove from water, drain well, and add to green beans in bowl.

Add the corn on the cob to the boiling water and cook for 14 minutes.

At 14 minutes remove corn, drain well, with a small paring knife, slice kernels from the cob into a bowl and place in the fridge to cool. 

Make the dressing:

Place everything into a small bowl and whisk until completely mixed. You can add more sweet, or less spicy depending on your preference. These measurements were my sweet spot. 

Using individual bowls, lay a bed of chopped spinach in the bottom and top with cooled potatoes, green beans and corn. Add the tofu, red pepper, carrot and bean sprouts. Drizzle the deliciously thick and creamy dressing over the vegetables, mix thoroughly and enjoy.

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