This cabbage-kale salad is crunchy, refreshing, and perfect as a side dish for any season.
You know what really brings me down? Sad salads. What’s a “sad salad”, you ask? It’s that afterthought side dish you half-assedly throw together after realizing every other food on the table is beige.
The sad side salad, which we’ve all eaten one too many times, consists of: mesclun, mealy tomatoes, out-of-season cucumbers, and maybe a bagged crouton or two. It’s not bad, per se, but it’s not good either, and you eat it mostly out of obligation. So yeah, sad.
In this day and age, no one should have to suffer through a sad salad. Salads deserve just as much consideration and enthusiasm as any other dish, and should never be an afterthought.
This massaged cabbage-kale salad with citrus is a prime example of a not-sad salad. It’s full of crunchy vegetables, juicy orange and grapefruit slices, and a simple homemade vinaigrette.
Growing up, cabbage was a staple in my diet – showing up in borscht, varenyky, various salads, and as stuffed cabbage. I guess you could say I took it for granted, and for a long time after moving out of my parents’ house, never cooked with it myself. Recently, though, I’ve been having a cabbage moment, and only now am I realizing how awesome – and under-appreciated! – this vegetable is.
First off, it’s delicious – crunchy, juicy, a little sweet. Secondly, it’s versatile – working just as well in raw salads as simmered for hours in soups. Lastly, it’s super affordable (about $1.50 per pound) and lasts for forever in your crisper drawer, even after you cut into it. And the health benefits are off the charts.
How to Soften Cabbage for a Salad
Much like kale, raw cabbage benefits from a little massage before being turned into salad. Although it’s not fibrous like kale, it is quite crunchy and can be exhausting to chew. To massage it, place your shredded kale in a large bowl, sprinkle it with salt, and massage with your hands for a few minutes until it softens and releases some juice. Then you can dress it as desired.
This kale-cabbage salad with orange, grapefruit, and homemade vinaigrette is crunchy, refreshing, and perfect as a side dish for any season.
For the Salad
- ½ head green cabbage, finely shredded (about 5 cups)
- ½ bunch curly kale, stemmed and torn into bite-size pieces (about 4 cups)
- 1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
- 1 blood or navel orange, peeled, sliced, and cut into quarter-moons
- 1 grapefruit, peeled, sliced, and cut into quarter-moons
For the Vinaigrette
- 3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice (from about 1 lemon)
- 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 2 teaspoons pure maple syrup
- 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
- 1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
- 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- Place the cabbage and kale in a very large bowl and sprinkle with salt. Using your hands, massage the vegetables until they soften a bit and release some juice, about 2 minutes. Set aside.
- To make the Vinaigrette, combine the lemon juice, oil, maple syrup, mustard, salt, and pepper in a bowl, and whisk to combine.
- Add the orange and grapefruit to the vegetables and drizzle with the dressing. Toss to combine and transfer to a serving platter. Serve immediately.
- Serving Size: 1/6 of the recipe
- Calories: 125
- Carbohydrates: 14.9 g
- Fiber: 3.1 g
- Protein: 2.5 g
Keywords: kale, cabbage, orange, grapefruit, salad