Monday, June 27, 2011

Spicy Napa Cabbage Slaw

If there's one great thing about summer, it's the salads and slaws that require absolutely no cooking.  Let's face it, who wants to stand in a hot kitchen all afternoon roasting vegetables?  Okay, so I'm a glutton for punishment and decided to bake empanadas for dinner tonight.  But trust me, it's the last time I'll be doing that.
My favorite summer salad would probably be a simple, fresh tomato salad.  But with no tomatoes in sight in the farmer's markets yet (or in my garden, for that matter), I guess I'm going to have to wait a while for one of those.  This napa cabbage slaw does a good job of standing in while my taste buds hold out for a tomato that actually tastes like a tomato.  It's crunchy, loaded with veggies, a little spicy, and really easy to make.  That's my definition of a great summer-time side dish.

Napa cabbage is a nice, tender cabbage that does well in salads, stir-frys, and slaws.  In slaws, the cabbage does better with a nice zippy dressing rather than a mayo based dressing that I find to be a bit too heavy for the crisp/tender leaves.   I like a bit of heat in the dressing, but that's really a matter of taste.  Personally, I think heat balances all the fresh veggie flavors well.  This slaw tastes great with Asian flavored main dishes like a soy- marinated, grilled flank steak or pork tenderloin. I think you'll be making this all summer long.
Spicy Napa Cabbage Slaw
1 small head Napa cabbage, halved, cored and thinly shredded (about 6 cups)
2 medium carrots, shredded
1/2 of a red bell pepper, sliced thin into matchsticks
4 green onions, white and light green parts only, sliced into matchsticks
1/4 cup cilantro, chopped
1/4 lemon juice
1/4 cup olive oil
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp sugar
1/4- 1/2 tsp crushed red pepper flakes

Toss the vegetables in a large bowl.  In a small bowl, whisk together lemon juice, oil, salt, sugar and red pepper flakes.  Use as much or as little of the red pepper flakes as you like.  I think I used closer to 3/4 of a tsp and my family thought it was too spicy, but I liked it that way.  Pour the dressing over vegetables and toss.  Really, could it get any simpler?

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