OK. Put my money where my mouth is–right. Red cabbage is a favorite vegetable for me because it’s cheap, substantial, cruciferous and crunchy, and it tastes good raw. Also, and this is key, you can do neat kitchen chemistry tricks with it, like use it for a pH indicator or to reveal secret invisible ink messages written in baking soda slurry. Amaze your friends! Baffle your enemies!
I like red cabbage as a salad vegetable–it’s bracingly radishy when mixed with sweeter lettuces, but sweet and crisp against romaine or arugula. I don’t shred it for a chopped salad–decent bite-sized pieces are more satisfying, crunch better, and stand up to all kinds of salad dressings. You can make it with the more usual tomatoes, but I like oranges because if there are leftovers, the next day, the juice from the red cabbage will have combined with the acidity from the oranges and turned them both a range of brilliant magentas–very cool.
Mix about equal quantities of:
- Arugula or romaine
- red cabbage, chopped in bite-sized pieces, ~1″ across
- red or yellow (or green, your choice) bell pepper, in bite-sized pieces
- orange (s), blood oranges or tangerines or etc. peeled, sliced crosswise, any seeds removed
Nice additions: Shred a few leaves of basil if you have it, chop or sliver a few Greek olives, toast some walnut pieces, crumble feta or goat cheese. Or gorgonzola.
Dress with any of these:
- olive oil and red wine vinegar (few spoonfuls each), cracked black pepper–my usual weeknight preference
- ordinary spicy brown mustard mixed half-and-half with plain yogurt
- tehina (sesame) paste mixed 1:3 with plain yogurt
- yogurt and/or buttermilk with minced garlic, chopped basil and dill, and a squeeze of lemon juice
- yogurt and/or buttermilk with lemon juice and gorgonzola or bleu cheese crumbled in
Variation: In fall or winter, thin-sliced crisp pear or apple instead of oranges is very good, especially with goat cheese and the toasted walnuts, and with the mustard/yogurt dressing.
Slightly more dignified salad
Reasonably balanced mixture of:
- red cabbage, chopped bite-sized
- red or green leaf lettuce, washed and torn
- good tomatoes sliced in wedges or chopped bite-sized
- bell peppers chopped
- cucumber slices
- chickpeas or kidney beans, or raw or lightly cooked green beans
- scallion or a bit of diced or sliced red onion
- any or all of: anchovies, optional, or capers, or olives, or marinated artichoke hearts, or flaked tuna, or hard boiled eggs cut in half