This crunchy and colorful salad is based on the Crunchy Cabbage Icebox Salad created by Jenn Louis, one of Food & Wine’s Best New Chef’s of 2012. It’s no wonder the salad intrigued me, Jenn is a chef in Portland, Oregon, the city which has held my heart since I first ventured there to attend culinary school in 1998.
I swapped out some of the veggies in the salad, based on what I had on hand and what was fresh and local at my neighborhood grocer (pea shoots and carrots are currently in season). I also made my dressing with full-fat dairy products, which are not only more flavorful and satisfying than their skimmed counterparts, but also allow for more absorption of the plentiful vitamins and minerals found in this colorful dish.
We served the salad alongside grilled sausages from Smoking Goose, an incredible Indiana meatery featuring local, pastured meat in many forms. The crisp, cooling vegetables and the creamy dressing were the perfect match for their specialty elk sausages seasoned with ancho chili and tangerine.
Keeping it simple and buying local makes for an effortless and healthy dinner, yet again.
Layered Crunchy Cabbage Salad:
*serves 4-6 as a side dish*
For the dressing:
¾ C. full-fat sour cream
2 Tbsp. lime juice (from half a juicy lime)
generous pinch of salt
handful of chopped fresh cilantro
Whisk ingredients together in a small bowl. The dressing should be pourable, so add a little milk or cream to thin if necessary.
For the Salad:
¼ of a head of red cabbage, thinly sliced by hand or using a mandoline
2 C. (packed) fresh pea shoots
1 large bell pepper of any color, thinly sliced into rings
1 large carrot, grated
2 medium avocados, sliced and tossed with lime juice to prevent discoloration
¾ C. crumbled feta or cotija cheese
*great substitutions or additions include: green or Savoy cabbage, thinly sliced radishes, chopped Romaine lettuce, grated jicama, chopped cucumbers, tomato slices, shredded raw beets, etc.
Prep all of the ingredients, including the avocado, which should be gently tossed with lime juice. Assemble the salad in a medium glass bowl or casserole dish. Start with the cabbage and then layer the vegetables in any order that you find attractive, finishing with the avocado.
Pour the dressing over the top of the salad, and then top with the crumbled cheese. Top with additional chopped cilantro, if desired.
The salad can be made several hours in advance and stored, covered, in the refrigerator until you’re ready to serve it.