Cabbage and Noodle Slaw Salad
This crisp and bright salad was inspired by a Vietnamese classic but most of the ingredients are probably in your fridge or cupboard right now.
You can make this with all cabbage and skip the lettuce but I like the tenderness and flavour romaine brings.
Increase or decrease the jalapenos, and by all means slice them crosswise, including the ribs and seeds, if you want the real heat. I prefer to cut them in matchsticks about the same size as the carrot.
Rice noodles come in several forms that will all work in this recipe. The most common are stick-shaped and vermicelli and they are available in most grocery stores these days. You can use wheat pasta if you prefer but then you have to cook it, whereas the rice version is just soaked for a few minutes.
If you don’t have fish sauce on hand you can substitute Worcestershire but then the dressing looks a little bit muddy—not the end of the world but fish sauce is better, and easy to find.
Use a garden cucumber if that’s what you have on hand but you should peel that variety. I take a teaspoon and scoop out the middle where all the water and seeds live but there’s no harm in leaving them in if you wish.
This amount serves 4 to 6.
1/2 small green cabbage, finely shredded, about 4 cups
2 cups torn romaine or iceberg lettuce
1 large carrot, peeled and cut into matchsticks
1 small yellow, orange or red bell pepper, cut into matchsticks
1/2 English cucumber, halved lengthwise and cut into half-moon-shaped slices
1/3 cup finely chopped or thinly sliced red onion
2 or 3 jalapeno peppers, seeded and cut into slivers
1/2 cup chopped fresh Italian parsley, leaves only
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro, leaves and stems
2 tbsp. rice wine vinegar
2 tbsp. fresh lime juice
2 tbsp. fish sauce
2 tbsp. firmly packed brown sugar
2 tbsp. vegetable or olive oil
1 clove garlic, minced
4 oz. rice noodles
2 cooked boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into strips
1/4 cup coarsely chopped roasted unsalted peanuts
2 tbsp. fresh cilantro leaves
Combine cabbage, romaine, carrot, bell pepper, cucumber, red onion, jalapeno peppers, parsley and cilantro in a large bowl. For the dressing, whisk together rice vinegar, lime juice, fish sauce and brown sugar and allow to sit a few minutes. Stir again to make sure the sugar is dissolved. Whisk in oil and garlic and pour over cabbage mixture. Toss to coat everything thoroughly.
Soak the rice noodles according to package directions, until pliable. Drain thoroughly and add, along with chicken strips, to salad. Stir gently to combine. Top with peanuts and cilantro leaves and serve immediately.
Smoked Sausage and Potato Salad
If you’re firing up the grill tonight throw on a few smoky sausages. They are generally already cooked—but check the package to make sure—so all you want is some good grill marks and even more smoky flavour. Refrigerate and make this potato salad sometime soon.
This dish is satisfying without being too heavy, depending on how much you eat, of course. The dressing is lighter than the usual potato salad mayonnaise and the dill elevates the freshness factor.
If you like to mix hot and cold components of the same dish cook the potatoes, cool them barely enough to handle, cut them up and add them to the salad right away for a fantastic mixture. The sausage can also be added warm.
This amount serves 4 to 6.
4 medium red potatoes, about 1-1/2 lbs., washed but with peels left on
2 hard-boiled eggs, shelled and coarsely copped
2 green onions, chopped
2 stalks celery, thinly sliced
3 or 4 small or 2 large cooked smoked sausages, cut into bite-sized chunks on the bias
1/4 cup plain low-fat yogurt
2 tbsp. white wine or champagne vinegar
2 tbsp. mayonnaise, not salad dressing
1 tbsp. grainy, spicy or Dijon mustard
1 tsp. liquid honey
2 tbsp. chopped fresh dill leaves
1/2 tsp. each salt and freshly ground black pepper
Cook the potatoes in salted water until tender. Cool and cut into bite-sized pieces. Place in a large bowl along with the eggs, onion, celery and sausages.
For the dressing, whisk all the ingredients together and stir gently into the salad. If the mixture seems too dry, which can happen if the potatoes are particularly starchy, add a little more yogurt or even a splash of milk. Serve right away or chill first.
Cynthia Stone is an information manager and writer in St. John’s. E-mail questions to her at email@example.com.