With the warmer weather (praise be!) comes a desire to eat lighter. Lord knows I’ve been eating enough bread and soup over the past two months to last me a lifetime, so I’m ready for all of the salads.
Give me a Cobb, with all of the chopped bacon and sliced hard boiled egg. Give me a crunchy Caesar, with a rich and creamy dressing, plenty of grated Parmesan, and crumbled bacon. Sometimes if I’m feeling nostalgic for the 1990s, I’ll slide on some grilled chicken and I’m not sorry one bit. Give me a Greek, with heaps of chopped tomatoes and cucumbers, briny olives and salty feta. And oregano! You’ve gotta have oregano.
I’m dreaming of the days when I can pick fresh lettuce leaves from my own kitchen garden, drizzle them lightly with olive oil, a touch of white wine vinegar, and just a smattering of salt and pepper. Is it July yet?
Barbecue season is here, and while the meat may be the star of the show, one cannot overlook the sides. This colourful salad is just what we need right now.
Cabbage rarely gets the respect it deserves. When it’s thinly sliced, it has a sweet crunch that lends itself perfectly to this slaw. Cabbage is also terribly cheap, and right now, cheap is what I’m looking for when it comes to my grocery bill.
Cabbage is also crazy good for you — low in calories, high in fibre and dense in all sorts of nutrients our bodies need to remedy the fact that we’ve been stress eating sourdough bread and pasta all day, every day for the past two months.
Cabbage is a great vegetable to pick up on the weekly shopping trip, as it can last in the fridge for at least one month. Unlike other tender greens, there’s no pressure to use it up right away. Cabbage is a keeper, in my books.
Not only is this salad bursting with healthful nutrients, it’s got mango, which always makes me happy.
And, now the big question: Why make a salad with just one type of cabbage when you can make it with two? Red cabbage is just the prettiest, especially when sliced open to reveal a whole other world inside. Nature is amazing, y’all. Napa cabbage is softer, more delicate and it balances out the rest of the vibrant ingredients.
I love the burst of freshness from the basil and mint, while the red pepper marries so well with the mango. And just look at it. I swear this is the prettiest slaw that ever was. Sure, there’s lots of slicing and dicing, but there’s no time like the present to practise knife skills.
Once the vegetables are prepped, ingredients are simply tossed together in a maple lime vinaigrette that is bright, sweet, and a little bit spicy. You can add fresh chili pepper to the salad for extra spice, but be sure to maybe omit the sriracha in the dressing or the heat may be too much. Or maybe it won’t. You do you.
I love how the roasted peanuts not only add crunch, but they bring all of the flavours together. This salad tends to get a little juicy after it sits for an hour or two, so it really is best enjoyed immediately after it’s made. You can prep the ingredients and have them ready in a bowl until you’re ready to eat, then just toss with the dressing and serve.
If there are only a few of you eating, you can easily cut the recipe in half. I was going to say that this would be a fine salad to take to potlucks, but those likely won’t be part of our summertime scenario this year. How strange to think that that has to be strange.
Cabbage and Mango Salad with Basil and Mint
4 cups very thinly sliced red cabbage
3 cups thinly sliced napa cabbage
2 ripe mangoes, peeled and cut into thin strips
1 sweet red pepper, diced
1 cup fresh basil, shredded
1/4 cup fresh mint, shredded
1 red chili pepper, seeded and diced (optional)
1/2 cup roasted peanuts, chopped
1/3 cup fresh lime juice
1/4 cup canola oil
2 tsp pure maple syrup
2 tsp soy sauce
1 tsp sesame oil
1-2 tsp sriracha or chili garlic sauce
salt to taste
1. In a large bowl, combine the salad ingredients (except peanuts). Gently toss.
2. Put the dressing ingredients into a jar with a tight fitting lid and shake it thoroughly. Pour the dressing over the salad and toss well. Adjust seasonings and divide into bowls or place in one large bowl. Garnish with roasted peanuts. Serve immediately. Makes six servings.
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