After a long summer when fresh tomato salad was present almost every day on our table, it was about time to change the color palette and move to another class of nutrients. The bright magenta and deep green won my heart from the moment I saw the veggies at the farmers’ market, and I promised myself I’ll even wear that combination if I manage to find clothes that beautifully colored. They hypnotized me so much that I always come back home with much more produce than I planned and that can be used fresh. If I could just find room for them in the freezer, but over there it is full, so I end up eating salads in huge bowls and inventing crazy combinations of dressing, like the psychedelic yellow one I made for my slaw.
Our eyes are naturally attracted by bright colored veggies, as they are the promise of a nutrient-loaded meal, so it’s no wonder that even if you’re not a big fan of raw veggies, you’ll need to taste them when arranged in a chromatically-beautiful way. When it comes to nutrients, this kale and red cabbage slaw is a real powerhouse:
Kale – one of the healthiest veggies around, packed with vitamin K (necessary for protein synthesis), vitamin C (antioxidant), calcium, magnesium, potassium, but also with cancer-fighting antioxidants (carotenoids) and essential fatty acids (omega-3, with anti-inflammatory action). We get the maximum amount of nutrients from kale when eaten raw or slightly steamed.
Red cabbage – loaded with anthocyanin pigments, this veggie has fantastic antioxidant action when it comes to oxidative stress (free radicals) and chronic inflammation, about eight times stronger than green cabbage. It is also loaded with vitamin K, vitamin C and manganese (necessary for bone production). Its compounds (like glucosinolates) create a proper regulation of Helicobacter pylori bacterial populations inside our stomach, with great benefits for the health of the whole digestive tract.
Turmeric (curcuma) – I didn’t use this spice for its peppery and warming flavor only, but also for its potent anti-inflammatory action (especially in bowel diseases) and for its properties of inhibiting the cancer cell growth and metastases.
Tahini – gives the salad a delicate nutty taste, is rich in minerals (copper, manganese and calcium), and its oils facilitate a better absorption of the carotenoids from the vegetables.
I also added some toasted hazelnuts and poppy seeds for a little more texture and crunchiness. Apples are also a good addition to this salad (in this case exclude the honey from the turmeric dressing, otherwise the salad will end up being too sweet).
- For the salad
- 1 medium red cabbage head
- 1 bunch of fresh kale
- ½ cup toasted hazelnuts
- 1 tbsp poppy seeds
- For the dressing
- 2 tbsp tahini
- 1 tbsp organic raw honey
- Fresh juice from two lemons
- 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- 1 tsp turmeric
- 1 tsp sea salt
- Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
- Chop the red cabbage in the food processor and use a knife to roughly chop the kale (do not remove the stems, as they're also loaded with nutrients). Place both in a big bowl.
- Place the dressing ingredients in a blender and process to obtain a smooth paste.
- Pour it over the veggies, add the poppy seeds and stir to combine.
- Serve garnished with toasted hazelnuts.