Monday, January 17, 2011

Vitality Salad 3-ways

My sister-in-law introduced me to this salad over Christmas. We had one perfect dinner of butternut squash soup, crusty bread with butter, and this wonderful crisp, cool salad. Vitality Salad is so named because it is supposed to help energize you in these cold and dark winter months. Made only of fresh chopped cabbage, granny smith apples, and toasted pumpkin seeds, it is also exceedingly simple and easy. She originally got this recipe from a Barnes and Noble cookbook with the bare bones tittle 'Vegetarian.'

The Recipe : Salad...
1 fresh head of green cabbage (or 1lb of cabbage)
2 Granny Smith apples
1/2 bunch of flat leaf parsley, finely chopped
1/4 cup toasted pumpkin seeds
1/4 tsp Salt

3 tbsp Lemon juice
3 tbsp Canola oil
3 tbsp Pumpkin seed oil
Fresh ground pepper to taste
A pinch of Cumin

Cut the cabbage in half from top to bottom. remove the hard core near the base. Cut each half in half again lengthwise. Cut cabbage into 1/4 inch slices down the length of each quarter starting at the narrow tip. Place cabbage in a large bowl and add salt. Vigorously knead the cabbage for a full 1 to 2 minutes, and let sit for 15 minutes.

Meanwhile, peal and quarter the apples. Slice into 1/4 inch thick slices lengthwise. Cut these slices again lengthwise into 1/4 inch sticks. Make the dressing by whisking ingredients together till fully combined, or make inside a container and shake vigorously. Toss all together, cover and refrigerate till ready to serve. Shortly before serving toast the pumpkin seeds in a skillet on medium heat, moving the pan continuously for 1 to 2 minutes. Remove from pan and allow to cool. Serve salad with seeds in small dish to be sprinkled on top of salad.
Warning! I'll give you the same warning my sister-in-law gave me. If you follow this and use a whole head of cabbage you will have enough salad to feed 20 people with leftovers! If this is not your goal, cutting the recipe is advised.
Apparently when my sister-in-law made this for us she followed the recipe as it's written. It was perfect. The seeds as separate, at table garnish was her method, and a method I highly recommend . I have so far made this twice, each time differently, and each time only using half a head of cabbage. It has been quite nice both times. The real point is that this salad is amazingly versatile. Fennel, Kohlrabi, caraway, golden raisins, any of these things sound to me liked they'd be tasty additions or substitutes. For those of you who tried one of my, close to as written versions and said you really wanted the recipe here you go....

Effort number one: My Dressing: I reduced the amount of oil, tilted the balance towards the sesame oil , and used fresh lemon, plus more cumin than called for. (I used sesame seed oil, as I could not find pumpkin.)
3 tbsp fresh squeezed lemon
1 1/2 tbsp canola oil
2 tbsp sesame seed oil
2, maybe even 3 pinches of cumin

The Salad:
I was using a medium head of cabbage, no giant monster sized head. My farmers market "Bunch" of parsley however, was enormous. I used about half of it, so that's probably what amounts to at least one whole bunch of grocery store parsley from what I've seen.
I planned on making just a quarter of the amount called for. In the end, lack of attention caused me first to chop 2 apples, then to add the whole amount of dressing! Realizing my mistake I chopped, and bruised another quarter of the cabbage and added that. Still as far as cabbage to rest ratios go it was twice the apple and nearly twice the dressing all be it with less oil. It was quite good. Also, over the course of the week, as we ate and ate, and I took some into work to share, and at home we ate some more... we probably used nearly 1/3 a cup of toasted pumpkin seeds just for the 1/2 head of cabbage.

Effort number two:
The Dressing
1 1/2 tbsp fresh lemon
1 tbsp canola oil
1 1/2 tbsp sesame seed oil
2 pinches cumin

This time the Apple to Cabbage ratios were as the original recipe, using half a head of cabbage and one apple. The difference... again I was distracted by enjoyable conversation. The result this time was quite a bit of fresh ground pepper. Whoops. It was not enough to make the salad spicy, or overwhelming, but it did tilt the balance a bit from the pure fresh flavor. Another mistake, I left my pumpkin seeds at home. I decided to toast some pine nuts Erin had at her place. Again it was very good. This time it was served with the so delicious 'Gypsy Soup' our friend Casey made from the Moosewood cookbook, and some Norwood Cottage curried raisin bread. It was another great meal, mistakes and all.


  1. This salad really is a great break from too much comfort food. I swear I feel more vital every time I eat it.

  2. Totally going to try this! Butternut squash soup too-- another great idea. Thanks!! ~Tiffany