There’s nothing more cliche than a salad on the first day of a new year with talk of healthy eating, resolutions, and *gasp* detox. Unless it’s a salad on the first day of a new year with protestation that it’s not a detox salad to launch your healthy-eating resolutions.
So I guess this January first salad is jam-packed with cliche. But it’s also layered with shredded vegetables – two colors of cabbage and kale. And then tossed with a tangy lime dressing and sprinkled with peanuts.
The salad – well, I think it technically counts as a slaw – followed a circuitous route to my kitchen. It comes from a Southern cookbook via a New York blogger who linked to the recipe in a post about oatmeal pancakes that I clicked open this past Sunday night after coming home from dinner at friends who made pad Thai. I had Thai flavors on my mind and, when I saw the slaw, I immediately threw on my coat and headed back outside to the grocery store to buy cabbage and limes and peanuts and peanut oil.
The slaw takes a little advance planning because it includes the brilliant step of wilting the cabbage with salt for a couple of hours and then draining any released liquid. The resulting brassica retains its squeaky crunch but is softened enough to eat as is. That said, I hope my encouragement to prep a bunch of vegetables in advance will not further cause you to relegate this salad to a guilt-ridden, resolution-addled quickly-forgotten list of things to do to start the new year right.
Without further ado, explanation, or protestation, here’s the recipe.
Cabbage, lime, and peanut slaw
Modified from The Lee Bros. Simple Fresh Southern via Smitten Kitchen. I used kale instead of spinach and salted roasted peanuts instead of unsalted. I added parsley to brighten things up – cilantro would be amazing here too if you want to amp up some Thai-inspired flavors.
You can use a grater or food processor to shred the cabbage, but I just sliced everything with a nice sharp knife so that the pieces would be a bit larger. If you want to keep things pretty, salt the cabbages separately so that the red cabbage doesn’t bleed all over the green and result in a pink salad. This does require two colanders, or in my case, a colander and the basket from my salad spinner. Because the cabbage is pre-softened, you can just toss it with the dressing right before serving. I didn’t find the need to add any additional salt to the dressing because the cabbage was plenty salty (but not too salty).
– 1/2 small red cabbage, trimmed, cored, and shredded (about 6 cups)
– 1/2 small green cabbage, trimmed, cored, and shredded (about 6 cups)
– 1 T kosher salt, plus more to taste
– 1/4 C fresh lime juice (about 2 small limes)
– 1 T Dijon mustard
– 1/2 t ground cumin
– 6 T peanut oil
– 1 large bunch lacinato kale, stemmed and cut into 1/2-inch wide ribbons (about 4 cups loosely packed)
– 1/2 cup roasted salted peanuts, coarsely chopped
– 1/4 C chopped parsley
Wilt. In two separate bowls, toss the green and red cabbages with a half-tablespoon of salt each. Transfer each transfer to a colander to drain for 2 hours.
Whisk. Meanwhile, in a medium bowl, whisk the lime juice, mustard and cumin together. Add the peanut oil in a thin stream, whisking constantly until the ingredients are thoroughly emulsified. Or just throw everything in a jar and shake it.
Toss. Put the salted, drained cabbage in a large bowl and add the kale. Toss the salad with the dressing and add the roasted peanuts and parsley.
Eat. This salad is best served immediately.
Store. If you want to make a big batch of this salad to eat during the week, keep each component separate in the fridge and then mix everything together at the last minute. I’ve been layering the salad in a jar with the dressing on the bottom and then shaking to mix at lunchtime. Works great, as long as you don’t overfill your salad container.