This is a perfect mid-day salad: light and refreshing, filling and satisfying, full of gorgeously complex flavors, totally fun to look at and easy to tote around in your container of choice. It’s got plenty of fiber, vitamins and a little bit of protein to get revved up and ready for whatever’s next on the to-do list, and if you’re like me you’ll take all the mid-day rev you can get.
I owe the inspiration for this salad to Bobby Flay, who I recently watched make an awesome looking salad with red and Napa cabbage. Prior to this years could go by and I’d never think of Napa cabbage, but I’m glad he turned me on to it: it’s a great value and has a gentle texture and flavor compared to other cabbages, plus almost no calories and healthiness out the wazoo. Red cabbage has the same bargain and health benefits, plus outrageous color. The next time I was at the store I bought red and Napa cabbage, but at this point I’d totally zoned out the other stuff he used so I figured I’d just get it home and wing something.
Days passed and no winging occurred, so I went online for Napa cabbage clues. I found a nifty Epicurious recipe that was just begging for me to get changes all over it, so I gave it a shot and struck salad gold. They called for Braeburn apples and a whole cup of pecans but Gala apples and half the pecans worked nicely, and the 1/2 cup of raisins I dug out of a bag of trail mix were pretty great in place of 3/4 cup of dried cherries. Also, less olive oil, no butter, etc. Saving money and making a dish healthier often go hand in hand, and when I can do those things and not sacrifice deliciousness I feel brilliant.
My own little flavor twists are a green onion in the dressing- looks great, adds depth, makes the apples happy- and spicing the pecans with smoked paprika. It gives them some barbecue-bacony-woodfired goodness that carries throughout the salad and tastes fabulous with everything else, no bacon required. If you don’t have smoked paprika just go on and splurge a little and get some. It costs a little more but it’s worth it. I have a deja-vuey feeling I’ve said that before, and I’m sure I’ll say it again.
10 minPrep Time
5 minCook Time
15 minTotal Time
- 1/2 c pecan pieces
- 1 tsp olive oil
- 1 Tbs agave nectar
- 1 tsp smoked paprika
- pinch red pepper flakes
- 2 Tbs seasoned rice vinegar (sushi vinegar)
- 1 Tbs apple cider vinegar
- 1 tsp brown or Dijon mustard
- 3 Tbs olive oil
- 1 green onion, chopped
- pinch salt to taste
- pepper to taste
- 2 apples, cored and thinly sliced
- 2 Tbs lemon juice
- 3 c thinly sliced Napa cabbage
- 3 c thinly sliced red cabbage
- 1/2 cup raisins (or any dried fruit you like)
- Combine the pecan pieces and teaspoon of olive oil in a nonstick skillet. Cook on medium heat 1-2 minutes. Add the agave, paprika and red pepper flakes and stir to coat. Remove from heat and pour nuts out onto a piece of foil or waxed paper to cool.
- Combine the dressing ingredients in a bowl and whisk to combine.
- Combine the apples and lemon juice in a very large bowl. Add the cabbage, raisins and pecans. Pour the dressing over everything and toss to coat.
This recipe is vegan and gluten free friendly.
Per 1 3/4 c serving, about 261g: 272 calories (131 calories from fat); 14.6g fat (22%)(0g trans); 0mg cholesterol (0%); 79mg sodium (3%); 36.4g carbohydrates (12%); 6g fiber (24%); 2.6g protein; Vitamin A 55%; Calcium 9%; Vitamin C 92%; Iron 10%; Potassium 14%