Warm Cabbage, Craisin and Quinoa Salad
I live with a cabbage lover. It's true. Not often does one come across a cabbage lover. They're a mysterious breed.
Ever since first visiting Baan Dada and experiencing the beauty that is the mother's wok-fried cabbage and tofu dish (sent straight from some holy place, I swear), Ben has been all about cabbage. We don't eat it too often, as I generally do the food shopping in our household and although I enjoy a little cabbage in my life, it's not exactly at the top of my vegetable lust list. I tend to forget about it and favour cauliflower - what can I say? But every now and then we get cabbage fever and go all out, and it will be cabbage for days! Cabbage stirfries naturally surface as the first option, but once we've satisfied that craving we like to move on.
Earlier this month, I had a bunch of cabbage to use up - I told you Ben loves it, right? Yeah, well on this occasion, Ben did the shopping. And he bought two cabbages. The dude needs help.
Enter this warming salad - the salad to end all cabbage lulls. To inspire you to view this sometimes sad, flatulent vegetable as fun, dignified and exciting. Let's face it, not often do we think of cabbage as the life of the party. But in this dish, cabbage makes an effort to steal the spotlight. It's wonderfully crunchy, with a great balance of sweet and salty. We kind of love it. And I was quite happy to let the cabbage take over the stage and be the star here. It deserved first billing. Plus, everyone's heard of quinoa now, haven't they? Yeah, old news.
For all the cabbage lovers out there, who buy multiple cabbages at once, this one's for you.
Warm Cabbage, Craisin and Quinoa Salad
Serves 6-8 as a side salad
1/2 cup dry Quinoa
1/2 cup Water
1/2 cup Chicken Stock (or Vegetable Stock for vegetarians), plus a splash extra for the cabbage
3 teaspoons Extra Virgin Olive Oil, for cooking
1/2 head Cabbage, sliced into long slithers
1/4 cup Pinenuts
1/4 cup Almond Slithers
1 small Onion, diced
2 cloves Garlic
2/3 cup Peas, defrosted
1/2 cup Craisins
1 large handful fresh Parsley, chopped
1 tablespoon Pomegranate Molasses (from gourmet grocers or middle-eastern delis. I get mine from Red Hill Cellars, Oakleigh Market or Oasis Bakery)
1 tablespoon Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1/2 Lemon, juiced
1. Rinse the dry quinoa under cold water using a fine sieve, then put it in a pot with the water and stock. Bring to the boil then let it simmer down for ~10 minutes, adding more water if required. You will know it is cooked when the grain starts to separate and the liquid is mostly absorbed. When the quinoa is cooked, turn the heat off and pop the lid on for ~10 minutes to allow any remaining water to absorb. After 10 minutes, fluff the cooked quinoa with a fork, then cover and set aside.
2. Heat 1 teaspoon oil in a large non-stick pan over medium heat. Add the cabbage and cook until it is soft but has a nice golden, "pan-fried" appearance to it (add a splash of stock to the pan if it gets dry). Transfer the cooked cabbage to a bowl and set aside.
3. Heat a small non-stick pan over low heat and toast the pine nuts and almonds for a few minutes until golden and fragrant. Once toasted, set aside.
4. In a small jar, combined the molasses, oil and lemon juice. Whisk together and taste - add more molasses for a sweeter dressing, or dilute it with water if it's too strong for your liking.
5. In the large non-stick pan, heat 2 teaspoons oil over low-medium heat. Cook the onions for 3-5 minutes until soft, then add the garlic and cook for another minute until fragrant. Add the cabbage and peas, and heat through. Next add as much cooked quinoa as you desire (you might like to save some for lunch the next day, as I do!) along with the toasted nuts and craisins. Stir to combine then turn off the heat.
6. Add the parsley, then drizzle the dressing (adding as much as you desire) and toss to combine. Serve alongside some grilled fish with a glass of crisp white wine.