Ever since The Farmer’s Market Challenge, when I realized how far one humble head of cabbage can stretch, I seem to have a few cups of this shredded crucifer in the fridge at all times.
That said, I’ve mostly reserved my cabbage eating for when I’m cooking meals for myself and being a couch potato. A bowl of braised red cabbage is something that joins the ranks of sardines on toast and black beans straight from the can as a bachelor meal that’s best consumed behind closed doors, far from the judgment of other humans.
I had completely forgotten about the vegetable side dish I’d volunteered to bring for the buffet, and after running around all morning before Seder, I hurried home to attempt to throw something together from whatever I had in my fridge. And what I had was a head of cabbage.
I was pretty sure that my Jewish relatives would write off my bowl of braised red cabbage as “shtetl food.” But my lowly peasant dish ended up being a big hit.
This simple warm slaw is the result of another fridge diving leftover experiment. I had some cooked black rice, a few handfuls of arugula, and half an avocado hanging out. So I decided to use them to spruce up my beloved braised red cabbage recipe and make it a little bit more fit for company (i.e. you).
The combination makes for an awesome Asian-y weekday salad bowl – similar to something you would find at one of my favorite healthy eateries Dimes NYC. I put a fried egg on it and served it to Charlie for breakfast (with a side of bacon, as a compromise), and he seemed to happily inhale my shtetl food, even without knowing what a shtetl is.
The best part about this lowly little vegetable is that it’s incredibly healthy. Remember the cabbage soup diet? As cray as the idea of eating nothing but a sulfury soup sounds, it became a fad because of cabbage’s incredible detoxifying powers.
If you’re looking to ease into salad season, giving your usual slaw a light braise and tossing it with some hardy whole grains seems like the way to go. It’s the perfect way to detox from winter without giving in fully to bikini weather behavior just yet.
Asian Braised Red Cabbage with Black Rice, Arugula and Avocado
Combine the black rice, 1 tablespoon olive oil, 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1 1/2 cups water in a medium lidded saucepan or pot. Bring to a boil, cover, and cook over low heat until tender and the water is absorbed, 25 minutes. Keep covered and set aside.
Meanwhile, heat the coconut oil in a large nonstick skillet. Saute the cabbage and onion over medium-high heat until tender, 15 minutes. Stir in the lemon juice, tamari or soy sauce, and 1/2 teaspoon salt; continue to cook until the cabbage is soft and the liquid has more or less evaporated, another 5 to 10 minutes.
Off the heat, fold in the cooked rice and arugula. Divide between 4 plates and top with the avocado slices. Garnish with a drizzle of olive oil and sriracha.