Curry Cabbage and Vegetable Salad

IMG_0804You won’t have trouble getting anyone to eat their vegetables when this salad is on the table. This sweet and sour slaw is a healthy substitute for traditional cabbage coleslaw, and goes well with grilled burgers, barbecued chicken, or ribs. Or add some cooked chicken right to the salad, and you’ve got a light summer meal in one bowl. I believe I got this recipe from a friend who had called it “Oriental Salad,” and it was a simple mix of mandarin oranges, cabbage, almonds, scallions, and chicken. But my males prefer veggies to fruit in a cabbage or lettuce salad, and my son Justin in particular has imposed the “no fruity-chicken” rule when he’s eating at our house. (That means he abhors the mixing of chicken and fruit in any recipe—no apple chicken crepes, etc.) So I started using the dressing recipe from the Asian salad on a mix of vegetables and a couple kinds of cabbage, and often avoiding the chicken. It’s become a summer staple. Oh, and this also boasts a creative use of ramen noodles, defying the myth that only starving college students eat ramen.

Serves 6-8

For salad

1/3 head of green cabbage OR 1/2 head of Napa cabbage, julienned
1/3 head of purple cabbage, julienned
2-3 carrots, peeled and grated
1 sweet red pepper, diced
1/2 cucumber, sliced and diced
1 cup frozen peas, rinsed in cold water and drained
2-3 scallions, sliced
1/4 cup sliced almonds, toasted*
2-3 tablespoons sesame seeds, toasted*
Optional: 1-2 cups chopped or shredded cooked chicken**
1 (3-ounce) bag uncooked ramen noodles, broken up into small pieces (discard flavor packet)

For dressing

1/4 cup vegetable oil
3 tablespoons granulated sugar
2 tablespoons white vinegar
1 teaspoon curry powder
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon coarse ground black pepper

In large bowl, combine green or Napa cabbage, purple cabbage (missing from the photo above), carrots, sweet red pepper, cucumbers, peas, and scallions. In jar or salad dressing cruet, combine oil, sugar, vinegar, curry, salt, and pepper. Put lid on jar and shake to mix. Pour dressing over vegetable mixture. At this point, salad can be refrigerated until ready to serve. Just before serving, add toasted almonds and sesame seeds, and stir to combine. Stir in broken up ramen noodles. Serve.

*To toast almonds, spread on baking sheet and place is 325° Fahrenheit oven for 10-15 minutes or until golden. To toast sesame seeds, spread on baking sheet and bake in oven for 5 minutes or just until golden.

**NOTE: A roasted rotisserie chicken from the grocery store is a real time-saver, if you want to add meat to this recipe.

Vietnamese Rice Noodle Salad

IMG_0618This fresh and healthy Asian salad is perfect for a warm weather lunch, brunch, or served alongside whatever is on your grill for dinner. My sister Susan brought it to a party recently, and it was a hit. She found the recipe on, but changed it considerably. The original calls for five, count ’em FIVE cloves of garlic, which is way too much raw garlic for a salad. She subbed in soy sauce for fish sauce as she didn’t have the fish sauce on hand, and added bell pepper, snow pea pods, and red cabbage to the vegetable mix. She said she’s also included edamame (boil according to package instruction then chill) when she’s made it previously. The drizzle of toasted sesame oil at the end was also her addition. Isn’t she clever? We thought so!

Serves 6-8

1-2 cloves garlic, minced
1 cup loosely packed cilantro, chopped
1/2 pepper, seeded and minced
1/4 cup fresh lime juice
3 tablespoons vegetarian fish sauce or 1 tablespoon soy sauce
3 tablespoons white sugar
1 (12 ounce) package dried rice noodles
2 carrots, julienned
1 cucumber, halved lengthwise and chopped
4 leaves Napa cabbage, julienned
1 red bell pepper, chopped
1/2 cup red cabbage, chopped
1/2 cup sugar snap peas, ends cut off
1/4 cup chopped fresh mint
1 tablespoon toasted sesame oil
1/4 cup salted dry roasted peanuts, chopped

Combine the minced garlic, cilantro, and jalapeño. Transfer the mixture to a bowl, add the lime juice, fish sauce (or soy sauce, and sugar; stir well. Let the sauce sit for 5 minutes.

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Break the rice noodles in half and add them to the pot; boil them for 2 minutes. Drain well. Rinse the noodles with cold water until they have cooled. Let them drain again.
Combine the sauce, noodles, carrots, cucumber, Napa cabbage, bell pepper, red cabbage, sugar snap peas, and mint in a large serving bowl. Toss well; drizzle with toasted sesame oil. Toss again and serve the salad garnished with the peanuts.
(NOTE: if using a gluten-free soy sauce, this recipe would be gluten-free.)