Due to popular demand for more healthy recipes on the blog, I will be posting them more frequently and continuing to follow the same criteria: Simple, Healthy, and Quick. Here's a great one that anyone can throw together with just a few simple ingredients, and it's a wonderful way to pack some fiber and vitamin rich veggies and fruit into your day. It's cool and crunchy, sweet and tangy, and it will keep in the refridgerator for a second day so don't worry if you have leftovers! This dish is great as a side with sandwiches for a picnic or bring-to-work lunch, and can be made into a light main meal by accompanying with some lean protein.
Crunchy Cabbage Salad:
1 head Nappa cabbage (if not available, use standard green cabbage)
1 firm, crisp apple- preferably Granny Smith but any kind will do.
4-5 scrubbed carrots (if organic, don't peel)
Juice of 1 large or two small lemons
1/4 cup toasted pumpkin seeds
2 tablespoons olive oil
Sea salt to taste
Place cabbage on a cutting board on the horizontal and shave with a sharp knife into very thin shards. You can also shred in a food processor. Use all of the leafiest parts of the cabbage, and you can leave out the base of the tough core. Set shredded cabbage aside in a large mixing bowl. Shred carrots either by hand with a cheese grater or through a food processor, set aside with cabbage. Wash apple and cut into tiny chunks, combine with cabbage and carrots. At this point you should have slightly more cabbage than carrot; if the proportions are off, add more of either to balance. Mix all ingredients well to combine. Drizzle with 2 tablespoons olive oil and the fresh squeezed juice of one large or two small lemons (make sure seeds are removed), as well as a sprinkling of sea salt. Toss well with tongs to evenly coat all ingredients in the olive oil and lemon juice and salt. Now toast 1/4 cup of raw pumpkin seeds by putting in a skillet over medium-low heat and toasting lightly while stirring, until seeds are golden-green and smelling fragrant and beginning to *pop*. Remove from heat and sprinkle directly into the dressed salad in the mixing bowl, tossing again with tongs to mix all ingredients. Taste and adjust salt if desired. Serve immediately, and cover remainder in an airtight container to be kept in the refridgerator for an additional day.
Variations on this idea: Asian Crunchy Cabbage Slaw
Follow same general instructions above, but trade out apple chunks for shelled edamame beans (adding protein, thus making this a more filling dish). In this version, pumpkin seeds can be switched out for toasted black sesame seeds if desired, and the lemon-olive oil dressing can be swapped out for carrot ginger dressing if desired.
Play around with the options and mix and match (but do not combine apples with beans due to digestion)- have fun with it! This salad is bright, colorful, and has a lovely mix of flavors and textures to please even the vegetable skeptic, so whip one up and enjoy!
Did you know? Pumpkin seeds contain plentiful amounts healthy fats, fiber, and protein but also contain high amounts of zinc, a mineral that boosts the immune system and helps to fight off illness. They add wonderful richness and crunch to salads, grain dishes, and even when sprinkled over soups or casseroles. The toasting beforehand wipes out any bacteria that could be on the surface while also mitigating possible rancidity, and increases digestibility while improving taste. It only takes a few moments, so keep an eye on them and be careful not to burn!
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