It’s late winter (at least for a few more days) and this time of year every cell of my body is craving leafy greens, sprouts and green vegetables of all kinds. However, there’s still snow on the ground and root vegetables abound (and no, clearly I won’t win any poetry contests!)
Since I’m likely not the only one anxious for spring to make its definitive arrival, let’s enjoy a delicious winter vegetable salad while we wait, shall we?
This salad makes the most of some of my favourite winter vegetables, including carrots, red cabbage and beets. In this recipe, I used candy cane beets, which don’t share their colours as readily as the standard red varieties but feel free to use red, orange or any other colour of beets you can get your hands on. I added seeds for added protein, vitamins and minerals. The dressing for this winter slaw is a creamy, non-dairy combination of tahini plus lemon juice, clementine or orange juice, a touch of maple syrup and salt to finish it off.
With this salad, I’m shining my nutritional headlight on the beautiful red cabbage, one of the vegetables providing its hearty, robust flavour to this late-winter, in season slaw:
- Red cabbage contains phytonutrients, specifically anthocyanins (seen with its beautiful red colour) that offer anti-inflammatory and other potentially protective health benefits when it comes to various diseases. Each half cup of red cabbage provides about 30 mg of anthocyanins [source], which can act both as antioxidants against free radicals and anti-inflammatory compounds against chronic, systemic inflammation.
- Red cabbage also offers high amounts of vitamin C (and higher levels than green cabbage varieties). You’ll maximize your intake of both of these when you eat red cabbage in its raw form since cooking destroys some of these healing compounds.
- Red cabbage is high in vitamin K, a fat-soluble vitamin that plays a critical role in blood clotting and healthy bones. As we know, fat-soluble vitamins need a bit of fat for proper and effective absorption so pairing this slaw with sesame seeds, sunflower seeds and a tahini-based dressing is a great way to boost the healthy fat content of this otherwise low-calorie slaw. Some health experts argue that many of us are deficient in vitamin K, which is a serious issue because vitamin K deficiency has been associated with a variety of health conditions, including osteoporosis, tooth decay, dementia, cardiovascular disease, and cancers involving the prostate, lungs and liver, among others.
- And with all that, this citrusy slaw is also delicious!
Here’s the recipe for my Royal Late-Winter Slaw with Creamy Citrus Dressing:
Royal Late-Winter Slaw with Creamy Citrus Dressing
For the salad
- 3 Tb sesame seeds
- 5 ½ cups grated red cabbage
- 1 ½ cups grated carrot
- 1 large candy cane beet you can use a regular red beet but know that it will lend its colour to the entire salad; candy cane beets don’t – but if a bright pink salad doesn’t bother you, go for it!, grated
- 1 small red onion about 1/3 cup, finely diced
- ½ cup raw sunflower seeds
For the dressing
- 5 Tb freshly squeezed* clementine juice -- *if the juice is a bit pulpy and that bothers you or substitute with orange juice, feel free to strain out the fruit parts; I don’t mind it personally, but I’m generally pretty rustic… and sometimes lazy, aka strapped for time!
- 3 Tb lemon juice
- 1 Tb maple syrup
- Sea salt to taste start at 1 tsp
- ½ cup tahini
Over low heat, toast the sesame seeds in a small saucepan for 3-5 minutes or until golden brown. Stir frequently and remove as soon as seeds are slightly golden. Don’t walk away or you’ll never be able to get the charred smell out of the air!
Add the toasted sesame seeds and all other salad ingredients to a large bowl.
In a small bowl, whisk clementine juice, lemon juice, maple syrup and sea salt together. Add tahini and mix well. Adjust seasoning as needed.
Pour dressing over salad and mix well. Serve immediately. Salad will also keep for 1-2 days but may take on some of the colour from the red cabbage.
Now, I’d love to know: what’s your favourite winter vegetable? How do you love to eat it?
Life is a plate… Eat up!