Back in early November, Deb from Smitten Kitchen posted this pickled cabbage salad. I like cabbage, I was looking for a slaw recipe that didn’t rely on mayonnaise so much anyway, and I decided I’d try it. I had all the ingredients I needed on hand except for the cucumber, and so I forged ahead.
Oh. My. Goodness.
It was delicious the first day after it had rested for about 4 hours in the fridge. The second day it was superlative. The cabbage was still crunchy, the flavors had begin to blend and meld, the pepper I added became a little more prominent, and I may or may not have eaten three bowls of it for lunch. And then immediately made another batch. I also messaged all my friends and said “You have to make this now”. That’s how much I love this salad.
I’ve since made it (ahem) a few more times. As odd as it seems to make a chilled salad my wintertime staple, this is it this year. I’ve had it for lunch with a sandwich or some leftovers almost every day for the last 2 weeks, and even served it as a side with Thanksgiving leftovers on Friday and Saturday. (It really is a perfect companion to a leftover turkey sandwich!)
I’ve tweaked the recipe a little to adapt it to my own taste, upping the amount of celery seed and adding some cracked whole peppercorns for spice. I’ve also tweaked the vegetables in a couple of batches, even adding red onion in one. This last time I made it with half green cabbage and half red cabbage, which has dyed the whole batch a beautiful, vibrant pink. I’ve also made it with both real sugar and with Truvia, and while I prefer the version with real sugar (and it doesn’t impact the nutritional value that much) the version with Truvia is still very good and worth making.
So as I’ve told everyone I know, I’m now telling you – make this salad. Now. Today. You won’t regret it. It’s that good.
Pickled Cabbage Salad
(loosely adapted from Smitten Kitchen)
- 1 1/2 cups white vinegar
- 1 1/2 cups water
- 1/3 cup granulated sugar (or 3-4 tsp of Truvia)
- 1 tsp celery seed
- 1 tbsp cracked whole peppercorns (or 1-2 tsp fresh ground black pepper)
- 2 tablespoons kosher salt (I used Mortons)
- 1 small head of cabbage (you can use all green or mixed green and red)
- 1 red bell pepper, seeded and cut into strips
- 1 carrot, cut julienne (or shredded)
- 1 cucumber, diced or cut julienne
Mix the first 5 ingredients (through the black pepper) and let it sit for the salt and sugar to dissolve. (If you use Truvia instead of sugar, it will not entirely dissolve in the brine. Go ahead and leave it in; it will sink to the bottom and won’t be noticeable when you serve the salad.)
Dice, shred, and chop all the other ingredients while the brine is sitting then toss them all together in a LARGE bowl and pour the brine over. Toss it well so that every bit of the vegetable mixture comes in contact with the liquid (I used my hands – it was just easier), then cover it and let it sit in the fridge for at least 4 hours. It’s even better if you let it sit overnight.
After the salad has rested and “pickled” some, it will shrink down considerably and you’ll be able to move it to a smaller container and pack it down. I was able to fit the whole recipe into a half-gallon sized mason jar after letting it rest overnight. If you do move it to another container, just pour the brine in as well – at this point it should mostly cover the vegetables.
If you’ve used Truvia in the recipe, you’ll still have little bits of undissolved sediment/grit in the bottom of the bowl. I filtered this out when I moved the salad to a smaller container, but again, it will settle to the bottom if you leave it in.
Makes 10-12 servings.
Per serving (at 10 servings): Calories: 56 | Protein 1.3g | Fat <1g | Carb 13.5g | Fiber 2.5g
(Made with Truvia, the calories are 30, and carbs are 8.4g. All other nutrients stay the same.)