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Sunday, January 4, 2015

Red Cabbage and Golden Raisin Salad

Red Cabbage and Golden Raisin Salad
Once the new year hits, you hear people left and right making resolutions and setting goals that often revolve around their diet. I'm not immune to getting in that mindset, but I also try to be realistic. You know, with myself. I definitely get the urge for lighter and fresher. But the thing is—it's January. And January in my world means it's still downright freezing outside. So, I'm still knee deep in hearty stews, slow cooking roasts, and comforting casseroles. And don't plan on letting those go for at least a few months.

That said, I love adding a bit of freshness to those meals meant to warm you to the bone. Although that can also be a bit of a challenge this time of year. While I love locally grown produce, and devour it with an urgency as soon as the ground thaws, sometimes we have to get a little creative with what we have this time of year. Onions, winter squash, tubers, and cabbage abound! You know what's great about that, though? All of those crops are inexpensive and extremely versatile.

When you think red cabbage, images of a big pot simmering on the back of your grandmother's stove may fill your head. And there's absolutely nothing wrong with that (pass me a bowl!). But, I know many people who don't like cabbage...or think they don't like cabbage. And it's usually memories like boring boiled cabbage that they cite as the reason why when I ask.

Red Cabbage and Golden Raisin Salad
But I always try to point them in a different direction; suggest they look at it in a new light. For instance, raw. I love the color and the crunch that raw cabbage lends to a salad or side dish. This Mexican Cabbage Salad is a favorite around here, and Crunchy Ramen Salad is something that everybody seems to enjoy. It's also great made into a tangy slaw. The secret is cutting it as thinly as you can—and you don't need a mandoline to do it (though if you want to use one, go for it!). I shred cabbage by hand 99% of the time. Maybe it's because I'm just too lazy to dig out the mandoline and then think about cleaning it. A sharp knife works wonders—and washes up in seconds.

So, if you're looking to lighten up your meals during the cold winter months, don't ditch the warm comfort food of the season—add a fresh side dish or two to lighten things up instead!

Red Cabbage and Golden Raisin Salad
A colorful side salad featuring crunchy red cabbage, sweet golden raisins, toasted pecans, and tangy goat cheese. 
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Red Cabbage and Golden Raisin Salad
by Heather Schmitt-Gonzalez
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: n/a
Keywords: salad side vegetarian sugar-free cabbage raisins goat cheese pecans winter

Ingredients (serves 8)
  • 1 small head of red cabbage, shredded as finely as you can (about 8 cups)
  • 2/3 cup golden raisins
  • 2/3 cup pecans, toasted and chopped
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
  • 4 ounces crumbled goat cheese
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons white balsamic or white wine vinegar
  • sea salt
  • freshly ground black pepper
Place cabbage, raisins, pecans, and cilantro in a bowl and toss gently to combine.

Place the olive oil and vinegar in a small jar with a lid; add a couple big pinches of salt and pepper. Put on the lid and shake until well combined.

Pour the dressing over the salad and toss gently again to combine; toss in goat cheese just before serving. Adjust seasoning as needed.

-adapted from Taste and Tell and Slate
Red Cabbage and Golden Raisin Salad