I had a pretty stellar Thanksgiving this year. The party included two of my bestest friends of all time, Rachel and Dave, visiting for the occasion all the way from Austin, Texas (via a year-long stint in Berlin).
On the evening before our big day of nut roast and Prosecco, I decided a pre-Thanksgiving dinner detox was in order. So I went with the kind of food that I know I can make well, tastes a bit celebratory, but just happens to be healthy and vegan at the same time. The meal: my reliable red lentil dahl with panch phoran, Indian cabbage salad, basmati rice and flatbread masquerading as naan.
Of all the dishes, the cabbage salad was the biggest hit, a nice thing because I never know if my love of this salad has something to do with my own personal obsession with all things cabbage, or with the fact that the cabbage salad really is that good. Rachel seems to confirm my suspicion that this, indeed, is cabbage clad in awesomeness, so I’m posting the recipe here for her and for all cabbage lovers of the world. (Consequentially, I also made this salad for my friend, Claudia, last year – you can see it in the picture above, made all the more better by her rad vintage tableware – she also gave it the thumbs up.)
This salad is basically a winter riff on this cucumber and coconut salad and leaves a lot of room for improvisation (because I know how much Rachel loves improv). Any cabbage will do for this salad, though I am partial to the texture of Savoy. Chop it chunky or slice it fine. Skip the carrots if you don’t have them, or try adding other slaw-style goodness like bell peppers. Up the spices or the chilli if that’s your thing. Go nuts with the coriander.
I don’t usually follow a recipe when I make this, but I’ve attempted to write it up as such all the same. Do let me know if you try it and what you think!
- ½ head of cabbage, finely sliced or chopped
- 2 carrots, shredded or sliced
- a small bunch of fresh cilantro (i.e. coriander), finely chopped
- 2 tsp olive oil
- 1 teaspoon mustard seeds
- 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
- ½ tsp asafoetida (optional)
- ~10 dried curry leaves (optional)
- 1 green chilli, finely sliced (be careful with these – they can be HOT!)
- 2Tbsp grated or dessicated coconut (or more to taste)
- juice from half a lemon
- Put the cabbage, carrots and coriander in a bowl and set aside.
- Put the oil in a large frying pan with the mustard seeds, cumin seeds, asafoetida and curry leaves. Turn the heat up to medium and wait for the seeds to start sizzling and smelling delicious.
- When the mustard seeds begin to pop, add the green chilli and fry for another few seconds, then pour the oil and seeds over the salad. (If you’re struggling to get all of the seeds out of the pan, put some of the salad in the pan and swirl it around, then scrape back into the bowl.)
- Add the lemon juice, a pinch of salt and the coconut. Taste, adding more salt, lemon or coconut if desired.