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rice vinegar

Asian Cabbage Slaw

Asian Cabbage Slaw

Cabbage is among the most underrated vegetables.

Er, let me correct that. Purple cabbage is among the most underrated vegetables.

I mean, just look at it! It’s a beaut.

Asian Cabbage Slaw

One of purple cabbage’s greatest attributes – besides its color, of course – is the fact that it can last for weeks and weeks in the fridge before going bad. That being said, I always keep a head on hand so that I can thinly slice it up whenever a dish could use a splash of color.

Salads, banh mi sandwiches, summery tacos, grain bowls, you name it…purple cabbage is always there to save the day and make food beautiful.

Asian Cabbage Slaw

This time around, however, I let the vibrant veggie take center stage in a slaw I now make every summer.

It’s an Asian-influenced cole slaw, meaning that traditional mayo gets swapped with a fragrant oil + rice vinegar + soy sauce combo.

Add a few crunchy, salty peanuts on top and some fresh cilantro, and you’re left with a slaw that’s so full of flavor it becomes addicting. Cole slaw…addicting? Yes.

And this one’s fresher than ever.

Asian Cabbage Slaw

While you could certainly down an entire bowl of this, it pairs nicely on the side of other dishes, too. Think fish tacos, or a stir-fry of sorts or even an Asian-themed veggie burger on the grill. It’s up to you to get creative with what you put this with, but I promise the recipe laid out for you here won’t let you down!

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Asian Cabbage Slaw with Basil and Ginger

Asian Cabbage Slaw with Ginger and Basil

My blog is going on a 2 week vacation, while its author heads to the West Coast. (Hello California and Portland!) Before it says a brief adieu, however, we are leaving you with this excellent summertime recipe.

Asian Cabbage Slaw with Ginger and Basil

Have no fear if cabbages are ransacking your garden, farmers’ market or CSA share, and you haven’t a clue what to do with them. I can relate. Hence why I’m hoping to help you out here with this recipe before I jet-set away for a few.

That blank state of mind seems to be a yearly occurrence for me when cabbages starting forming into bowling balls by the masses. I really do enjoy cabbage. But what do you make with it that will use it up fast enough? A few shreds on top of some fish tacos won’t begin to peel off those layers. Nor will most pasta sautes and other recipes where cabbage comes in handy.

Of course the simple answer is coleslaw.

Cabbage

While as I said I love cabbage, there’s only so much coleslaw I can tolerate. Cabbage by the masses paired with mayo by the masses ends in feelings of eventual repulsion for the leafy veg.

Not that I’m a mayo-hater or anything. I just can’t eat it with slaw on a regular basis until my family and friends’ gardens stop crying me cabbage.

This Asian slaw however? It’s something my fork could get down with daily. Especially in the summer when almost every lunch/dinner screams for a crunchy, cool salad.

Asian Cabbage Slaw with Ginger and Basil

I like this because it’s refreshing, yet each bite hits you with an immense amount of flavor. You get sesame paired with summer basil, and a slightly sweet and spicy kick from the rice vinegar paired with the ginger. Use a food processor to make its assembly easy, and feel free to top with roasted peanuts or any other garnish of your choice.

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Kale and Red Cabbage Salad with Pecans

Kale and Red Cabbage Salad with Pecans

2013 was a year of a lot of over-rated food trends. Cue bacon flavored ice cream in continuation of 2012, fancy-flavored doughnuts, meat-laden paleo philosophy, overly sweet cake pops, almond milk overload, yadda yadda yadda. Don’t hate me if you disagree. I am a healthy, mostly vegetarian food blogger, after all. And I’ve always disliked bacon.

There have been plenty of good 2013 trends, too, however. Like the proliferation of farmer’s markets and local food production, cauliflower everything, red quinoa, gourmet vegan food, and kale salads.

Kale and Red Cabbage Salad with Pecans

Perhaps kale salads were more of a 2012 phenomenon, but so be it. I still think they’re trendy, and they’ve graced my bowl this year more than any other. 2013 was the year that kale salad really stole my heart.

Kale and Red Cabbage Salad with Pecans

I’m going to say this is because it took me awhile, and I think restaurants too, to really get the hang of mastering them. Which is really not a hard thing to do. But if you miss the key step of massaging the leaves, your kale salad will never be trendy, no matter how pretty it is. Every raw kale leaf needs a trip to the spa  before heading to the fork.

Get your (clean) hands in there with a little oil though, and kale can become the perfect slate for a heartier, more long-living version of a salad. This is what I love about it. It stores well, and often becomes even better, after a day left in the fridge. I tend to eat a whole lot healthier during the workweek when I have snacks/dishes already waiting for me, and lately that’s meant a ton of huge bowls of kale salad. I must say, I often feel my best when this is included in my week.

The following recipe was inspired by this lovely picture I came across on the New York Times Well blog. I generally do a ton of tahini-based kale salads, but this purple and green combination caught my eye, and I wanted mine to look like the NYT’s one, with just an oil-based dressing. So I spun off that and went with toasted sesame oil. I liked this so much that after bringing it to a party, I made it again the following day. Sometimes you need a huge bowl of kale salad all to yourself. Following the holiday season is certainly the perfect time for that.

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