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May, 2010

Curried Red Cabbage Coleslaw

By Heidi Allison

Slaw is one of America’s fave go-to sides that’s often plated alongside Southern fried chicken or smoky barbequed pork
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Assorted Cabbage

And for good reason: Its slightly peppery taste, with hints of sweet and acidic notes pairs exceptionally well with pork dishes. But this easy dish is not a one-trick-pony: It works equally well as a sandwich topper with a Grilled Chicken Panini and offers an intriguing, new flavor profile as a switch-out in Baja-Style Grilled Fish Tacos. In this innovative recipe, red cabbage’s peppery taste is enhanced by the warm spice notes of the curry powder and black pepper; while its vibrant fuchsia color is preserved by marinating it quickly in a heated, lightly sweetened white balsamic vinegar. The sweet notes from the sugar and honey are the perfect counterpoint flavors to temper the slightly bitter taste from sulfuric compounds in the cabbage. The dried cranberries not only up its nutritional content, but add a lovely sweet/tart grace note that also plays nicely against this veggie’s slightly bitter taste. But, it’s crucial to observe two techniques when working with red cabbage to prevent its red color from fading to an unappetizing grayish blue: cut with a stainless steel blade and cook in acid (lemon juice or vinegar).

On the nutritional front, cabbage is packed with nutrients that promote colon, breast, prostate, ovarian, liver and cardiovascular health. Not only does this high-fiber veggie lower serum cholesterol to promote heart health, this nutritional powerhouse also has potent anti-cancer properties. Cabbage contains hefty doses of powerful cancer-fighting chemicals known as isothiocyanates. These compounds activate liver enzymes that break down carcinogens, eliminating them from the body. Research links people who consume high quantities of cruciferous vegetables, such as red cabbage, with a lowered risk for certain types of cancer; and the sulfur compounds in the juice of fresh cabbage are effective in treating fungal infections.

Although green cabbage may be more popular, red cabbage contains more phytonutrients, and the vitamin C content of red cabbage is 6-8 times higher than its green cousin--one serving provides three-quarters of the daily recommended quantity of this vitamin. Red cabbage also contains an antioxidant, anthocyanin, that protects brain cells and may help prevent Alzheimer's disease. Moreover, its anti-inflammatory effects protect against cardiovascular disease and lower blood sugar levels. Additionally, red cabbage is a good source of indoles, compounds that reduce the risk of breast cancer by altering estrogen metabolism.

Curried Red Cabbage Slaw
Curried Red Cabbage Slaw
Serves: 6

Ingredients:
1 large head of red cabbage, cored and cut in half
½ small red onion, ¼-inch dice
1 package of Melissa’s dried cranberries
3 Tbsp. white balsamic vinegar
3 tsp. white sugar
1 tsp. honey
½ cup good-quality mayonnaise
½ cup 2% Greek yogurt
1 Tbs. Melissa’s Meyer lemon juice
1 ½ tsp. curry powder
1 tsp. kosher salt
Several turns of freshly ground black pepper
2 green onions tops, thinly sliced (can substitute 1 Tbsp. minced chives)

Preparation:
Using a mandoline or Japanese Benriner, run the red cabbage lengthwise over blade into ¼-inch slice into a large bowl. Add red onion and toss to combine. Place vinegar, sugar and honey into a small pot and heat on medium until sugar is just dissolved, then pour over cabbage mixture and toss to combine. Allow vegetable mixture cool. Place mayo, yogurt, curry powder, lemon juice, salt and pepper into a small bowl and whisk until combined, then pour over vegetable mixture and toss several times with tongs till combined. Add dried cranberries and toss several times again with tongs. Cover bowl with plastic wrap and place vegetable mixture in the refrigerator for two hours to allow the flavors to marry and mellow. Before serving, drain off any excess liquid and toss slaw with tongs. Top with green onions and serve.