Thursday, May 10, 2012

Cabbage Salad

This simple cabbage salad resembles Ukrainian version of well-known here, in US, coleslaw. It's not that sweet as coleslaw though. In my childhood, my mom liked to make this salad in a spring - made with first in a season young, green cabbage and freshest herbs such as dill or parsley, it was heavenly flavorful and full of freshness.

What it is
It is shredded cabbage with couple more basic ingredients dressed with simple vegetable oil dressing. Key words for this salad would be - simplicity and freshness.

How it's served
This salad is a great addition to any meal. We like to make it for picnics because it goes well with shish-kebab or any type of barbeque meat. Fresh, crispy and light in nature, it is ultimate "guilt-free" healthy type of food.

Some side comments
This salad is surely the staple salad in my family. Basic, inexpensive ingredients in combination with simple preparation and healthiness of it can't be overestimated here. It's a real deal for everyday casual meals.

How to store it
As for any green salad it better to be eaten the same day. Although it will hold the next day in a fridge but will become soggy and somewhat watery but still perfectly edible.

Salad is so simple that there are not that many variations of it. For dressing, any light-flavored vegetable oil can be used. Usually I use light olive oil. Back, in Ukraine, we were always using sunflower oil. On rare occasions, we had freshly-made unrefined sunflower oil that my parents managed to "get" from our country-site residing relatives. That oil was very special, it had unbelievable flavor of roasted sunflower seeds and made a cabbage salad even better. I was never able to find this kind of oil in US. The closest to this oil would be French roasted walnut/hazelnut oil I found at Whole Food market here.

Also, instead of parsley, fresh dill can be added. Actually dill would be my choice of preference here, but I use parsley more often in this salad just because that's what I usually have on hand.

- To make cabbage shredding a breeze, use oriental style mandoline or even better - just buy pack of shredded cabbage at a grocery store!

- This salad is easily "upgradable" - you can add cooked beans (see pictures below), or some spices such as black pepper, or feta cheese, or even salmon from a can - do not afraid to experiment here, almost anything will work, just adjust your seasoning accordingly.

Cabbage Salad (Ukrainian Coleslaw)

For about 4 generous servings:

1 half of small cabbage, shredded
1 english cucumber, diced
10 or so parsley sprigs (or dill)
1/3 tsp salt (or to your taste)
3 tbs olive oil
4 tbs white vinegar
1/2 tbs of sugar 

- Mix cabbage with salt thoroughly until cabbage will releases juices and softens up just a little bit. It will take just a couple of minutes.
- Add the remaining ingredients. Mix and serve!
- Enjoy your crunchy, sweet-&-sour salad with complete realization what a great favor you do to your body eating such a healthy thing :)

As this salad was my only item for today's dinner, to make it more filling, I added kidney and black beans from a can, some more vinegar, salt and sugar. With crackers, it was very tasty meal! Add some black pepper if you need a kick today - I was all right without, for now :)!

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