Friday, March 6, 2009

Cabbage Salad for Helayne

Today I met Helayne Waldman in person, a Laurel resident and nutritionist who leads workshops and counsels clients. One of her specialties is nutrition for breast cancer. She spent a very productive hour with me, going over research on diet and the disease. I'm so fortunate to have met her - she is warm, dynamic, and very knowledgeable!

Helayne sent me home with copious notes, Meyer lemons, and ideas buzzing in my head. For dinner tonight I adapted a traditional Arabic cabbage salad recipe, adding certain ingredients based on Helayne's recommendations.

Cabbage Salad

1 pound Napa, Savoy or regular cabbage (500 grams)
2 carrots, peeled and grated
2 or 3 green onions, white parts finely minced (optional)
1 or 2 cloves garlic
1 lemon, preferably unsprayed, organic
1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil (75 ml)
1 cup parsley, minced (60 ml)
Pomegranate seeds for garnish (optional, in season)

Chop cabbage finely, combine with carrots in large, non-reactive bowl.

Finely mince garlic or put through garlic press. Zest lemon peel onto cabbage mixture.

In a small, non-reactive bowl, juice lemon and add minced garlic, salt and pepper to taste, then slowly stir in olive oil until well emulsified. (If using a mortar and pestle or molcajete, then pound garlic with salt, add lemon juice, pounding, then use mortar and pestle to stir in olive oil. Add pepper to taste). Pour lemon-olive oil sauce over cabbage and toss well. Let sit for at least thirty minutes to blend flavors and soften cabbage.

Just before serving, add minced parsley and mix thoroughly. Correct seasonings. You add the parsley at the last minute to keep it from wilting, whereas the cabbage improves with a bit of time in the lemon vinaigrette.

Pomegranate seeds make a nice garnish in late autumn. In summer, use diced red or green sweet peppers (or both).

Recipe by Leila Abu-Saba


  1. Leila! This is all really lovely. xoxo, Asiya at Forage Oakland

  2. Thank you, Asiya, for dropping by. Asiya runs Forage Oakland, a website and project where they harvest neighborhood fruit (in North Oakland) and distribute it. They also do preserved fruit exchanges, and I see Asiya is also making syrups and liquers with rosemary or lemon.