Salads and Cabbage: It’s not just for Cole Slaw!

Weekend Herb Blogging is back home this week,  with the founder, Kalyn of Kayln’s Kitchen.  We can write about herbs  or all things vegetal – I think that even includes the mundane, the boring, the underdog, the, dare I say it, cabbage.  How plebeian!  Well, here goes…

Salads!  The definitive summer food!

When I was a child we had three kinds of salads: freshly picked leaf lettuce with a dressing of vinegar, sugar and cream; cucumber salad, ditto on the sugar, vinegar and cream; and coleslaw.

The first was only in early summer.  My mother did not grow ‘head’ lettuce and we never purchased salad dressings.  I thought it was the ultimate treat to go to a restaurant and have a salad of Iceberg lettuce and French Dressing.

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The second was only in mid-summer when cucumbers were plentiful.

The last was an option year-round but we only had it in summer as well: picnics, family reunions, village parties; all perfect occasions for big bowls of cabbage salad with a creamy, mayonnaise-based dressing.

As to pasta salads – what on earth was a ‘pasta salad’?  Actually, more to the point, – what on earth was ‘pasta’?  Was it like Creamettes?

Times have changed.  Now salads of every kind are available everywhere all of the time.  Takes some of the fun out of it, doesn’t it?

Cabbageclose_2
But the poor, old cabbage, never a superstar, seems to have drifted even further from the limelight.  Oh people still get enthusiastic about these monster heads of pale green around St. Patrick’s day, when they proceed to cook it into oblivion.  It still turns up at the odd family picnic, slathered in so much mayo that it’s barely recognizable – and usually with more of the red, sophisticated variety than the boring old green.

As to the health benefits: everyone is always touting the the benefits of broccoli and Brussels Sprouts, but what about cabbage?  According to the Worlds Healthiest Foods ‘new research is revealing that phytonutrients in crucifers, such as cabbage,
work at a much deeper level. These compounds actually signal our genes to
increase production of enzymes involved in detoxification, the cleansing process
through which our bodies eliminate harmful compounds.’   That has to be good, doesn’t it?

We know it’s good for us, knock off the heavy mayo and it’s low in calories, but, we still have the problem of what to do with the whole huge head.  Buying a cabbage is a commitment, especially if you are only cooking for two.  I normally plan on 2 or 3 cabbage dishes.

Here is my first recipe for my cabbage, the second will be posted on Wednesday (and involves pasta…hint)

Asian Chicken and Cabbage Salad Time: 25 minutes

2 chicken breasts, boneless, skinless
3 cups shredded cabbage
1 carrot
1/2 green pepper
1 – 2 stalks celery, sliced, about 1/2 cup
1 tbs fresh snipped garlic chives
1 tbs sesame seeds
1 tbs soy sauce
1 tbs walnut or sesame oil
1 tbs peanut butter
1 tbs sherry vinegar
2 tbs olive oil
1/2 tsp chili powder
1/4 tsp powdered ginger
1/2 tsp garlic powder
Peanut DressingChickensalad

Put soy sauce, walnut oil, peanut butter, vinegar, oil, chili powder, ginger and garlic in a small bowl.  Whisk well to combine.  Slice chicken breasts into strips and toss with marinade.  Allow to marinate for 15 minutes while you make the rest of the salad.  Shred cabbage: cut a slice off of the head, lay the slice cut side down, cut into 4ths, then, cutting across, slice very finely: 1/16″ – 1/8″ (.3cm).  Slice the carrot into paper thin strips using the vegetable peeler.  Thinly slice celery.  Julienne the green pepper.  Snip chives.  Make the Dressing.  Put cabbage, carrot, celery and pepper into a large salad bowl.  Add the dressing and toss well.  Allow to rest while you finish. Cook the chicken on barbecue grill in pan or sauté in
nonstick skillet on stove.  Either way cooking time is 5 – 7 minutes
over medium-high heat.
Arrange the chicken on the salad, sprinkle with sesame seeds, chives and serve.

Peanut Dressing

1 tbs brown sugar
2 tbs peanut putter
3 tbs sherry vinegar substitute red wine vinegar
1 tbs fresh parsley substitute 1 tsp dried
1 tbs oil – sesame or walnut
2 tbs olive oil
1 tbs soy sauce

Put all ingredients in small bowl and whisk well.

Be sure to stop be Kalyn’s Kitchen on Monday for the complete recap of all the wonderful recipes.

Bon Weekend!

16 thoughts on “Salads and Cabbage: It’s not just for Cole Slaw!”

  1. It’s true that we don’t eat cabbage nearly as much as we should. Perhaps it’s that gassy quality that keeps us away. I do love summer cole slaw (though my hubby does not — and it’s hard to make just a little bit of cole slaw!), and I use bok choy in stir fry dishes all the time, but otherwise I rarely think of cabbage. Thanks for this lovely recipe and a good reminder that cabbage is something that should find its way to the table more often.

  2. I agree that cabbage deserves more respect. I have some in my crisper right now so I better go make something with it. (Actually, I do need some lunch.) This sounds good and it’s a little similar to a recipe for Vietnamese coleslaw that I got from Glenna, who I think may have swiped it from Sher (although I could be wrong about that last part!) Anyway, great minds thinking alike and all that.

  3. I am catering a luncheon in early August (3rd year) and need to find NEW combinations of salads and this looks perfect. I’ll try it and let you know if it gets added as one meat salads.
    thanks,

  4. I think I have had a salad similar to this and it is absolutley the best~this is one that “Pookah” would really want to try. Having your fresh veggies though, is the best of all~ you are so fortunate to have that terrific garden!

  5. You are so right. We love cabbage, but I stopped serving it a few years ago, favoring fancier cabbage relatives. But, it can’t be beat for a lovely sweet crunch–and they have great staying power in the crisper. I love that recipe!!! I adore Asain salads made with cabbage, so thank you a million times over for this!

  6. Had a craving for coleslaw last week, so bought the “diced” variety (time is of the essence around here right now!), and mixed up a buttermilk dressing…lighter than the straight mayo stuff, and tasty too! I agree, we don’t eat enough of it!

  7. Lydia, we eat such a high fiber diet that I don’t notice the cabbage…
    Kalyn, it might be good as a cole slaw, I’ll have to think about that one.
    Jenn, it’s summer – all salads are my kind..
    Pookah, I anxiously await your opinion!
    Jann, the garden is great…especially once it’s all planted… (finally!)
    Sher, we did the same, cabbage was so yesterday….but I’m glad I’m rediscovering it.

  8. Yums! I like anything Asian! I was smiling at the sentence: “Buying a cabbage is a commitment, especially if you are only cooking for two.” I totally feel the same way! Thanks for sharing about the goodness of cabbage. I always thought green vegetables are the best.

  9. Riana, let me know what you do with it – I know it will be creative….
    Simcooks, thatnks for stopping by. It IS a commitment, esp. here. They always seem so huge and my German Catholic childhood forbids waste. (Fortunately a compost pile is not waste – it’s recycling)

  10. I love cabbage salads. And not only German Sauerkraut. So this is a must try. I´ll tell you as soon as I tried this one. Nice to hear of your German childhood, where did you spent it?:))

  11. Helene, in the area I grew up in, in Wisconsin, one was either German, Norwegian or both. My mother was German and my father Norwegian. A lot of the older generation still spoke whichever language and made the old traditional foods.

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