summer slaw – old favorite with some virtue ::::
Kale is one of my jump-on-the-bandwagon favorite cruciferous vegetables, recently highlighted in my crispy baked kale chips post, and cabbage is a close second in favorites, though with a longer track record of success in the kitchen.
This track record tends to veer to the path of mayonnaise-drenched slaws. It’s not a bad way to go, but the mayonnaise in the summer heat reminds me of my long-ago public health training and potential food poisoning exposure. I tend to get leery of these salads at potlucks, ever wondering how long they’ve heated in the sunshine or in someone’s car beforehand. These limitations notwithstanding, and more related to the mayo than the sun-flourishing veggies, everyone seems to know cabbage’s health benefits of antioxidants, anti-cancer effects, and good nutritional value. My wordsmithing curiosity comes out with its cruciferous title, an honorific of sorts for these greens, as well as descriptive. Cruciferous means “bearing a cross,” since their four leaves form a cross shape. One could argue too that eating these vegetables is as virtuous as bearing a cross.
And virtuous it can make an inexpensive package of dry ramen noodles. Yes, THAT is the secret ingredient. Crumble up a packet of cheap, dry ramen, toast it with almonds and sesame seeds and you’ve got another level of crunch over the raw cabbage.
Crunch comes in many forms, obviously, but the mix of the fresh vegetable crunch with the nuts and toasted noodles make it multi-layered. The flavors meld better after a day, but you are left with a little less crunch: those noodles sog up with salad dressing. Despite this, I’ve never had a problem eating leftovers, which says a lot of about a day(s)-old dressed salad. It would be eaten faster these days if not for the gestational diabetes. I do reign myself in with this raw vegetable salad, accounting for carbs in the ramen and the added sugar. I’m just over 36 weeks pregnant now; hopefully, I won’t have to worry about my diabetic diet by early next month!
One year ago: black soybean tofu
Two years ago: korean-style dried anchovies
- 1 tablespoon butter (or olive oil, if you want to make this vegan)
- 3.5 ounce (100g) package of ramen, crumbled into small pieces
- ½ cup slivered or sliced almonds
- 2 tablespoons sesame seeds
- 1 head of cabbage, smallish (I use about a 850g to 900g sized head. Red cabbage is striking; green works just as well but isn't a show-stopper on the table.)*
- 4 green onions, sliced into small rings
- ½ cup olive oil
- ⅓ cup rice vinegar
- 1 tablespoon soy sauce
- 1 teaspoon sesame oil
- scant ¼ cup sugar
- Melt butter (or oil, if using) in skillet and toast crumbled ramen, almonds, and sesame seeds to golden in color. Set aside.
- Grate the cabbage or slice into small strips. I usually do a mix of these because I feel the grating alone makes the salad a little too mushy. Set aside in large bowl. Sprinkle with chopped green onions.
- In another bowl, whisk together olive oil, rice vinegar, soy sauce, sesame oil, and sugar. Pour this over the cabbage-green onion mixture, mixing well. Add the cooled ramen-almond-sesame seed mixture to this, mixing to combine. Sprinkle with more almonds and sesame seeds if desired.
- This tastes great right away, the ramen giving a little extra crunch to each bite. When sitting for day, the ramen softens. The salad is not as crunchy but the flavor is still sweet, tangy, and nutty.