Cooking with Joy

Cooking with Joy: Cabbage Salad cool for summer

May 26, 2013 

Cabbage is one of those vegetables I think many of us overlook.

I dutifully buy a head every March for my annual St. Patrick’s Day dinner of corned beef and cabbage, and then forget about it until the following year.

Normally when I think of cabbage, I think of coleslaw. I really dislike most coleslaw. Occasionally I find a version I like with grated carrots and cabbage in a light vinaigrette, but that’s rare.

More often, coleslaw appears as a dish of wilted cabbage swimming in mayonnaise. This unappealing concoction spends most of its lifetime in a lonely untouched bowl sitting next to the hot dogs and barbecue sandwiches.

For some reason, some people, including my husband, actually like coleslaw. They pay attention to this side dish and really enjoy it. Good for them. Someone has to like it.

I may not like coleslaw, but I do like cabbage. I especially like it in the summertime, chilled and shredded into salads, or just sliced thin and served with a good dressing over it. Not only is cabbage good, but it has in it all sorts of healthy things that are good for you.

Keeping this in mind, I always perk up when I see a summer recipe for cabbage that sounds like one I’d like. Well, I found one, but it was called “Cabbage Slaw.” Despite the name, I tried it and was delighted at the result. It’s a little sweet and a little tart – just right.

Whenever I serve this, it’s always a big hit. People can’t seem to get enough of it. Fortunately, this recipe makes a big batch.

I did take the liberty of changing the name of the recipe, however. It’s the least I could do. I didn’t want the word “slaw” to give this dish a bad rap. It’s now called “Cabbage Salad.”

Much better, I think.

Cabbage Salad

1 large head of cabbage, chopped

1 cup celery, diced

1/2 cup chopped onions

1 green pepper, diced

1/2 cup vinegar

2 tsp. salt

1/2 tsp. mustard seeds

2 cups sugar

1 tsp. celery seeds

Put all of the ingredients together in a large bowl. Stir until they are well mixed and the sugar is dissolved. Cover and refrigerate at least overnight. Stir occasionally. Serve chilled.

* The longer this sits, the better it gets. I usually make it several days in advance.

Oriental Tri-Color Salad

Another cabbage salad I’d like to share with you is quite different but equally as good. It’s a real eye-catcher, that’s for sure.

The combination of red cabbage, bright orange carrots, and white Japanese radishes is gorgeous to look at and even better to eat. The sesame-soy dressing takes it to a whole different level of goodness.

For the sesame-soy dressing

1/3 cup rice wine vinegar

1/4 cup sugar

2 1/2 Tbs. sesame oil

2 Tbs. honey

2 Tbs. reduced sodium soy sauce

Put ingredients in a small saucepan and stir until sugar is dissolved. Bring to a boil and cook for 1 minute, stirring constantly. Cool. Chill in refrigerator until ready to use.

For the salad:

8 cups shredded red cabbage*

4 cups grated carrots*

4 cups grated Japanese daikon radishes*

1 cup sliced almonds or soy nuts

Mix together the cabbage, carrots, and radishes. Chill. Stir in almonds or soy nuts (or both). Toss with about half of the dressing. Pour into a pretty bowl and serve.

*For uniform presentation I use my food processor to shred the cabbage and grate the carrots and radishes.

Joy Smith of Fort Mill has a many recipes to share and a story to go with each one.

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