This raw, vegan red cabbage salad is a great way to include some raw vegetables into a seasonal winter diet and uses orange and pomegranate to add brightness. It’s a good thing to make and then keep in the back of the fridge when you need something to round out a meal.
Cabbage is a winter staple throughout northern Europe. I live in northern Germany, which is a lot more like Scandinavia than what’s typically associated with Germany, and there’s a local obsession with cabbage. The city has Grünkohl (kale) days where people traipse around with little wagons full of cooked kale, sausage, and beer, and get drunk while they eat stereotypical north German food. It’s the goofiest thing. Red cabbage is a wonderful seasonal vegetable that we can get locally throughout the winter and it makes up a large part of our diet until spring rolls around.
I usually cook my red cabbage with a little garlic, and add a vinaigrette a lot like the one I’m using in this salad. The German way of cooking it is a bit too soft and bland (like most German food, hah) and lots of mustard and some vinegar make all the difference. It’s beneficial to have some raw vegetables in your diet in the winter since we’re so reliant on cooked foods during the colder months. Even if you don’t really care about the nutritional benefits, it’s just nice to have something crunchy! It’s great to add to a quick meal as an extra as it keeps well in the fridge for several days – I make a batch at the beginning of the week and add it to my lunch bowls, or Graham has some with dinner because he doesn’t get as many veggies when he’s at work. Today, for example, I didn’t have time to prepare a proper lunch, so I just had some cabbage salad and a couple of eggs for lunch. Quick, easy, nutritious. If you like meal prepping, this is a good recipe to add to your rotation.
The salad is made with orange juice instead of vinegar and it’s certainly more on the sweet side. Red cabbage can be a little bitter, especially raw, and adding something sweet lifts it a bit. If you like more acidic food, try adding a little balsamic vinegar or rice vinegar for a more Asian-inspired flavour. I love acid and I like the salad without, but the option is there.
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Red Cabbage Orange Salad
- 1/2 small red cabbage ~300 grams
- Juice of an orange 3 tablespoons
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1/2 teaspoon dijon mustard
- 1/2 teaspoon maple syrup or honey
- 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
- 1/4 teaspoon pepper
- 1 large orange thinly sliced
- 1/4 pomegranate arils
Slice the cabbage very finely* and place into a large bowl. Add the orange juice, olive oil, mustard, maple syrup, salt, and pepper. Use your hands to mix very thoroughly, massaging for about a minute. Add the orange slices and pomegranate arils and either serve immediately, or store in a sealed container in the refrigerator for up to five days.
• Add a tablespoon of balsamic or rice vinegar if you prefer a more acidic salad.
• This makes a fairly small salad, and I usually double it if I'm prepping it for the week. If you know you'll like it, then just double it from the get-go, and if you're not sure, stick to this the first time.
* If you have a mandolin, certainly use it to slice the cabbage. I used a sharp knife but it's much faster with a mandolin, and I would have liked it to be sliced a little more thinly.