I’ve never really like coleslaw all that much, since it mostly just tastes of mayonnaise-based dressing, but it’s something that people like to serve at BBQs and other ‘bring-a-plate’ type of get togethers. When I was at the farmers market a couple of weeks ago, they had some really good looking red cabbage quarters for sale and I thought that it was time I worked out how to make a ‘coleslaw’ that was actually fresh and light and not drowned in dressing. As a bonus, cabbage is actually really cheap, which makes this Red Cabbage Salad with Dill and Fennel a great budget recipe.
The trick to a cabbage salad (or coleslaw) is to slice the cabbage thinly. I used my food processor to do this and was surprised by just how much salad I got out of it. I bought one quarter of a cabbage, although I only used half of that quarter, yet it still made enough salad to serve about 8 people. Then by adding some other budget ingredients, including carrot for sweetness, and a very thinly sliced small red onion for a little bit of bite, this simple salad just needed a dressing. I chose to use some fennel seeds, which are a classic combination with cabbage, and a touch of fresh dill, along with a simple mustard vinaigrette. The result was a light and fresh salad that adds heaps of colour and nutrition to your plate.
Why is this a healthier option?
- Each serve provides 1.5 servings of vegetables.
- This salad is an excellent source of fibre, vitamin A and vitamin C, due to the cabbage and the carrots.
- While this recipe does contain oil in the dressing, it’s much lighter than a traditional coleslaw or cabbage salad, and I have only used just enough dressing to coat the salad.
Red Cabbage Salad with Dill and Fennel
- 500g red/purple cabbage (about one-eighth of a large cabbage)
- 1 small red onion (100g) or red salad shallot
- 2 large carrots (300g)
- ¼ cup finely chopped fresh dill
- 1 tsp fennel seeds
- 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- 2 tbsp red wine vinegar
- 2 tsp Dijon mustard
- Use a food processor to thinly slice the cabbage and then transfer to a very large bowl. Then slice the onion on the thinnest setting on your food processor. Finally, grate the carrot using the coarse shredding disc. Add the carrot and onion to the bowl with the cabbage, and also add the chopped dill.
- To make the dressing, grind the fennel seeds with a mortar and pestle until they are almost a powder. Tip into a small bowl and add the olive oil, vinegar, and mustard. Mix the dressing well until completely combined and then tip into the bowl with the cabbage mixture. Use your hands to mix the dressing into the cabbage salad and ensure that the ingredients are well combined.
- Serve as a side salad with meat, fish or protein of your choice.
This salad is easiest to make using a food processor, but can be done with a sharp knife and box grater if needed. The flavour of the salad will mature over time and the dill and fennel will be more pronounced if you make it a few hours ahead of time – they are very mild when the salad is first made. The salad will keep for a few days in the fridge and makes good leftovers.
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