I have to admit, I've never really been a huge cabbage fan. Sure I’ll eat it if it’s on offer. But It’s not something I have ever brought regularly. I tend to prefer Asian veges like Bok choy, pak choy and choi sum as well as my lovely wee Brussels sprouts. All that seems to have changed lately, I’m not sure why really? Maybe it was after spending last Christmas and New Years in Perth with my mother-in-law? Vietnamese use cabbage extensively and I loved eating it in everything Ngot made for me; sautéed with onions to form the base for vegetarian spring rolls, in the vegetarian Pho she treated me to when everyone else ate traditional Beef Pho. Even just simply stir-fried with a little oil and garlic was nice.
So yes it seems I’ve had a complete turn around when it comes to the humble old cabbage. We tried growing them in our garden, the winter Kye was born. It was such hard work keeping those white butterflies off and we only ended up with one that grew to full size... but that one, I tell you, was the sweetest, crispest, juiciest cabbage ever to pass my lips. If only brother Ben had been around to taste its goodness. He’s a cabbage man you see, actually both my brothers are. Back in the day Ben and Louie would buy a cabbage and just eat big raw chunks for dinner!
I think it’s also the Scottish side of me coming out, one huge cabbage for only 89 cents! You can’t really complain can you? This Coleslaw type salad is one I’ve been making a lot lately, based on a salad my Mum used to make when we were kids (hers used raw cauliflower, cottage cheese and sesame seeds) and also one that Dad is quiet famous for (his version uses raw cauliflower, sesame seeds, and a mayonnaise/vinaigrette type dressing). I’m not much of a mayonnaise fan and we can’t eat cottage cheese anymore. But for some strange reason and one that I’m definitely not complaining about, feta seems to be ok with the kids and I. Hence the reason my dressing is a feta based one.
We have parsley growing in the garden and I tend to use a lot simply because we have loads. The Sorrel is not something everyone will have access to, so if you don’t have it don’t worry. I was so excited when I first tasted sorrel. I had fallen in love with a nameless herb Ngot grows in Perth way back when Si and I first went there. She uses it in Rice paper rolls and I wanted to know what the herb was, but she only knew the Vietnamese name for it. So when I saw it at the garden centre in NZ and realised it was Sorrel I was pretty excited. It’s the best herb to plant as it just keeps producing. We planted ours 4 years ago when we brought our house and all year-round I pick it. The kids love eating it straight from the garden and although I’m yet to do anything with it other than use it in salads and rice paper rolls, I have seen many recipes for using it cooked. It adds a lovely herbaceous citrusy note, which I especially love in salads.
The dressing adds the right amount of creaminess that you want in a coleslaw without the heaviness of a mayonnaise, but if you cannot tolerate dairy at all, use a couple of tablespoons of proper mayonnaise (homemade preferably or check the label on your store brought one to make sure its dairy-free) in place of the feta. I am a real dressing lover, so if you think this is too much dressing just use what you want and reserve the rest for another salad. The real yum factor in this salad comes from the addition of the toasted sesame seeds. It may sound weird but your just gonna have to trust me on this one. Try it.
red cabbage slaw with sesame and feta recipe
This recipe is vegetarian, gluten-free and can easily be lactose free by using good quality mayonnaise in place of the feta. Normal green cabbage can be used in place of the red, no worries! To toast the sesame seeds, toast in a dry pan over medium heat, stirring constantly until golden. Serves 4-6
- 200g (about 1/4 medium) red cabbage
- 2 medium carrots, grated
- 1/4 red onion, thinly sliced
- small bunch of flat leaf parsley
- small bunch (6 leaves) sorrel (optional)
- 3 Tbsp sesame seeds, toasted
- 80g feta cheese
- 3 Tbsp cider vinegar/lemon juice
- 5 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- Freshly ground black pepper
Finely shred the cabbage, I find using a bread knife helps to get the slices really nice and thin. Roughly chop the parsley (I also finely chop the stalks and add these). Remove stems from Sorrel and discard, stack the sorrel leaves on top of each other and roll up lengthwise to form a cigar shape, then finely shred. In a large bowl, add the cabbage, carrot, onion, parsley, sorrel and sesame seeds. Mix to combine.
To make the dressing roughly crumble the feta into a small bowl (not too finely as you still want a few chunks after mixing). Add the vinegar/lemon juice, oil and a few grinds of black pepper. Mix to just combine. This can be prepared up to this stage a few hours in advance.
When ready to serve pour over as much dressing as you would like and mix salad to thoroughly combine.