Someone once in middle school said that all Eastern European homes and Eastern Europeans that go with it, smell of cabbage. Typical middle school meanness. And because I was desperately trying to fit in, for the rest of my middle school career, I denied my love for this versatile vegerable. I stopped eating the fermented, crispy cabbage my grandmother would make, my mother’s cabbage pies sat untouched on the counter, and the famous Russian cabbage soup was forbidden fruit to me. I would push any trace of cabbage aside and make a face whenever I saw it.
But my love crispy leaves only grew stronger – like whenever you deny yourself something, you only wind up wanting it more. And as soon as I reached high school and no one cared what I ate, I tried to make up for lost years, by trying to incorporate cabbage into most of my meals. Cabbage filled sandwiches – tried ‘em. Cabbage leaves as a snack around the house – I looked like demented rabbit constantly munching on a piece. My mother could tell you a good story or two about my other odd food habits as a teenager, but suffice to say, she was not amused about it at the time.
And still with all the various ways you can make cabbage (and I’ll have to dig up that cabbage pie recipe because it’s surprisingly good and filling) my favorite way is to have it raw, almost au naturel, lightly dressed with lemon or lime with as few accompanying ingredients as possible. Simply put – this is a lazy man’s (or woman’s) salad, or a salad for people on the go, or trying to eat super-healthy. Whatever your reason, it’s quick and tasty and healthy. Think of cabbage as a vitamin-laden, crunchier iceberg lettuce and give it a try.
1/3 napa cabbage, chopped in slivers
corn from 2 ears of corn, corn granules cut off
zest of 1 lime
1 tbsp sesame seeds
juice of 1 lime
1 tbs toasted sesame oil
Salt and pepper to taste
Mix the cabbage, corn, zest and sesame seeds and then toss with the lime juice and the toasted sesame oil.
Unlike most slaws – this salad actually keeps well and if you have leftovers, you can always use them later as a bed for a poached or fried egg for a breakfast. Alternatively, you can sautee the remaining salad and use it as a side dish for lunch or dinner. Either way, it’s versatile enough to be consumed over a few days.
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