Caesar Slaw

This weekend, my heart and mind have been focused on family in Michigan, where my mom is in the hospital awaiting surgery. My mom, who has stomped cancer for 18 years, is in a new fight to rebuild her cardio vascular system that has taken a beating through the years of chemo and radiation.

The 11 million cancer survivors in this country like my mom are the next frontier in the cancer fight. They’ve beaten the disease with courage to spare, but the medical community is struggling to care for survivors who have unique and complex medical needs that are difficult to untangle in our dysfunctional healthcare system.

When mom is back home and recovered, she’ll tweak her cooking a bit to give every bite a little extra vitamin-oomph for her long-term health. Mom & Dad eat a fairly healthy diet as it is – I learned to cook from my mom, and “cooking from scratch” is nothing new for her.

Their food shift will simply be to focus on cooking whole foods, eating more greens, cruciferous veggies and incorporating new and interesting grains into their diet. In essence, my parents will be eating in the Whole Kitchen. I think they can live with that.

Are you looking to tune up your food lifestyle? I’m pondering writing a “back to basics” series, so tell me if you’re interested. I’ll delve a little deeper into HOW to eat for maximum health, including weekly meal planning and prep outlines to help get you started. Please drop me a comment and tell me what your challenges are in creating a healthy eating plan, any health goals you would like to share, and what you would like to learn.

Caesar Slaw
Serves 4 as a side dish, or two as a main course

The first lesson in healthy eating is to “taste the rainbow” – and I’m not talking about Skittles. Try to incorporate a wide variety of colors of vegetables into your meals. Each color carries different vitamins and illness-fighting nutrients, as well as looking beautiful on your plate. And as you know, I LOVE cabbage – there’s always at least one head of it in our crisper at all times, and this “caesar slaw” is great way to take advantage of one of vegetal stars of winter. If you’re not a fan of anchovies, just leave them out – the salad will be just as good, though you’ll miss an extra hit of omega-3s from those briny little fishies. The walnuts and parmesan both add a nice nutty, savory quality to this salad that make it feel substantial enough to stand in as a main dish.

¼ head of green cabbage
¼ head of purple cabbage
1 large carrot, peeled
¼ cup walnuts
4 T parmesan grated with a microplane
fresh ground pepper
pinch of salt
2 minced anchovies (optional)
2 T Dijon mustard (Mustard Girl is my favorite)
4 T lemon juice
4 T olive oil

  1. Shave the green and purple cabbage into fine threads using the finest blade on your mandoline, or cut into thin ribbons with a chef knife. Use the mandoline to slice the carrots into thin coins, then use your chef knife to roughly slice them into matchsticks. Scoop all the shredded veggies into a large mixing bowl.
  2. Combine the lemon juice, mustard, olive oil, salt, pepper & anchovies in a small bowl and whisk with a fork to emulsify into a dressing. Taste the dressing – if it’s too tart, add a bit more olive oil and if it’s too smooth, add a bit more mustard or lemon juice.
  3. Add the walnuts to the shredded veggies & toss with tongs to mix all the beautifully colored veggies together. Drizzle the dressing over the veggies and toss the salad until everything is lightly coated. Sprinkle half of the parmesan over the salad and toss again, then add the remaining cheese and toss once more, so that every bite of salad gets a shred or two of parmesan. Serve.

17 thoughts on “Caesar Slaw

  1. You never cease to amaze me with your recipes, Jenn. This sounds incredible and is something I’ll definitely give a try. Gabe & I are making a concerted effort to eat better.

    If you happen to have any diabetic-friendly recipes, please share. Thanks.

    PS. Keeping your mom in my prayers.

  2. what a crunchy, delightful salad this must be. i can’t wait to try it!
    i follow your blog very regularly, and want to wish peace to you and your family during your mom’s time of healing. i hope you find comfort in each other.

  3. Thanks for all the good thoughts for my mom. If you can spare a few Monday afternoon from 1-6pm EST during her surgery, I’d appreciate it.

    Sandra – I’ll definitely make note of diabetic-friendly recipes…I think this one qualifies, but give me a few pointers tomorrow night when I see you. I know about cooking for low glucose index, but if there’s other stuff I should watch, let me know.

    Let me know how you like the salad, Liz!

  4. I’ve been craving cole slaw lately. This recipe comes in handy, Jenn! Sending positive thoughts your mom’s way!

    The challenges that keep me from eating healthy sometimes boils down to one thing…TIME! If the food prep is reasonable, I’m more likely to cook it.

    I think eating healthy is a great focus for your blog. I also know from my patients that costs is a big deal for eating healthy. Luckily, there is a Food Market here in Flint.

  5. Jenn – this seems to be so surpisingly simple – I can’t believe it! I’m ready to go to Stanley’s tomorrow! My issues are time, time, time, and HEART. My heart’s not in cooking. I wish I could find some serenity in it but it’s become more of a necessary evil. In terms of costs it’s way cheaper and I go to Aldi’s, stock up on fresh, then frozen items. But during triathlon and 1/2 marathon training diet is THE most important thing above all. How did you do it? I know you find peace in cooking. Thinking about you this week and hope you can find some inner peace amongst all the turmoil!

  6. We will be thinking positive thoughts tomorrow, well really tonight, tomorrow, and through the healing time!

    My issues are time… I don’t think ahead about cooking. I am more focused on the kids than on whipping up a meal. When it gets down to less than a half hour before the kids coming crying for food, I’m trying to think of what I can whip up quickly without having to run and get some takeout/drive-thru. There are more fruits and veggies to be had now that we have kids, but if I just planned ahead on meals I think we’d all be healthier for it.

  7. Thanks Kris, Margie & Shelley – I hear you loud and clear – Time, Planning, Motivation and cost are key factors…I’ll do what I can to come up with some ideas to work with, and keep us all eating well!

  8. Hi, Jenn.
    My husband just started a new job where he’s away a lot which means I have a lotmore freedom to cook whatever I want while he’s gone (he’s sooo picky). Now I’m trying to figure out what to cook! It’ll be meals focused on vegtables and less meat (as in smaller portions, and sometimes vegiterian). We already eat pretty healthy but I want to kick it up a notch. Actually, it should be simpler as there is one less person’s needs/tastes to consider.
    Our challenges:
    1. I work full time. Meals need to be made in 1/2 hour or less or it just doesn’t get done. Yes, this is possible.
    2. kids. My kids are not at all what you’d call picky, but they prefer stuff that’s less complicated. Less sauces, less spice, less chewy meat.
    3. Gluten. I have a gluten sensitivity.

    I can’t wait to see what you’ve got up your sleeve for new posts. Thanks.

    • Thank you so much for the feedback, Gisele. I totally agree – on a weeknight, dinner needs to be on the table in 30 minutes. It is definitely possible, and always my goal…which usually boils down to that Friday night weekly menu planning session.

      I love all the challenges posted here, and hope I can help everyone tune-up their kitchen routines!

  9. Thinking of your mom and you, Jenn.

    My “challenge” (as a veg) is putting together meals that are high in protein (while limiting the cheese), aren’t boring (I need to take a few months off from rice & beans, so sick of it), and are easy to make. Tall order.

    • Thanks, Michelle. I will definitely think on the protein issue – I do a LOT of chickpeas, and making the homemade energy bars is good for a protein snack. My go-to quick dinner is sauteed cabbage & onions, with whatever spices I like on it – you can take it Indian with brown mustard and curry, hot & spicy with siracha or chipotles, or a little sweet & savory with caraway diced apple, onions and a dab of brown sugar. Top it with an egg & you’ve got dinner in 15. We eat some variation on that theme at least once a week…we’ll toss a little leftover brown rice in there if we’re feeling fancy.

      As for time…I think we’re all pressed to accomplish too many things in any given week, and setting aside 2-3 hours to knock out some kitchen tasks to get ahead is the key. Not always easy, but makes Mon-Fri a lot easier.

  10. Pingback: Sundays in the Kitchen « The Whole Kitchen

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