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Like a Phoenix rising from the ashes, charred cabbage gives new life to good old bistro staple, the Caesar salad. And the easy vegetarian dressing is damn near drinkable. Unlike Caesar made with lettuce, this recipe can be prepped head and assembled when you want to eat. Be prepared for an intensely umami experience.

Like a Phoenix rising from the ashes, charred cabbage gives new life to good old bistro staple, the Caesar salad. Unlike Caesar made with lettuce, this recipe can be prepped head and assembled when you want to eat. And the easy vegetarian dressing is damn near drinkable.  Be prepared for an intensely umami experience.

Like a Phoenix rising from the ashes, charred cabbage gives new life to good old bistro staple, the Caesar salad. And the easy vegetarian dressing is damn near drinkable. Unlike Caesar made with lettuce, this recipe can be prepped head and assembled when you want to eat. Be prepared for an intensely umami experience.Smoke in the kitchen is usually a sign of impending, or actual, culinary disaster. For me it is always toast. We don’t have a toaster, preferring to use a grill/broiler. This works well most of the time but toast being toast, it doesn’t take much for the Maillard reaction to turn into a Kellie over-reaction.

We don’t eat much bread or toast these days so the sequence of ear-splitting alarm, knocking the alarm with a raised broomstick, then opening the doors so the neighbours can smell what a great cook I am, is less frequent of late.  Which is just as well as I am usually doing at least three things at once while in the kitchen.

Frankly the fact that I still have a kitchen is a flipping miracle, if you ask me.

Like a Phoenix rising from the ashes, charred cabbage gives new life to good old bistro staple, the Caesar salad. And the easy vegetarian dressing is damn near drinkable. Unlike Caesar made with lettuce, this recipe can be prepped head and assembled when you want to eat. Be prepared for an intensely umami experience.But a touch of smoke, blackening, browning and charring can be marvellous. Magical, even. Done right it can tip a food from good to “oh my God”. Even with cabbage.

These properties are NOT, however, great for animal proteins or starchy carbohydrates. I won’t go on to lecture about acrylamide, heterocyclic amines and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, but trust me, you don’t want them in your life very often, if at all. If your toast is burnt, throw it out. If your steak is charred, cry and toss. DNA-damaging and cancer-causing, these compounds, created in the act of burning your food, are bad news.

Luckily, cabbage is fine. This humble and nutritious green vegetable doesn’t possess the properties that interact with excess heat to cause DNA and cell damage. I’m not saying set the thing on fire (completely carbonised food is never good), but a little darkening of colour – in inky bittersweet strips and patches – is delicious. And safe.

Direct heat sweetens the cabbage’s natural – and healthy – bitter edge, rounding it and bringing out subtle umami notes. If you only ever eat cabbage as a salad option in coleslaw, give this a go. Like a Phoenix rising from the ashes, charred cabbage gives new life to good old bistro staple, the Caesar salad. And the easy vegetarian dressing is damn near drinkable. Unlike Caesar made with lettuce, this recipe can be prepped head and assembled when you want to eat. Be prepared for an intensely umami experience.

Nutrition notes: cabbage is very highly valued, not only for its fiber content, but also its plethora of anti-oxidant flavonoids and phenols, glutamine, vitamins K, E, C and folate. The trump card, however, is the richness of its glucosinolate content. Glucosinolates convert upon digestion into isothiocyanate compounds, known to be preventive for a variety of different cancers, including bladder cancer, breast cancer, colon cancer, and prostate cancer. Kale, cauliflower, broccoli, rocket (arugula), Brussels sprouts, collard greens, turnips, radishes, watercress and more (all of the bitter vegetables) all have these properties and nutritional spectrum, in varying intensity.

Further reading:

On acrylamides: Food.gov.uk (Food Standards Agency)

HCAs and PAHs: Cancer.gov

Glucosinolates/isothiocynates: Cancer.gov

Like a Phoenix rising from the ashes, charred cabbage gives new life to good old bistro staple, the Caesar salad. And the easy vegetarian dressing is damn near drinkable. Unlike Caesar made with lettuce, this recipe can be prepped head and assembled when you want to eat. Be prepared for an intensely umami experience.

Charred Cabbage Caesar Salad

  • Servings: 2
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

Like a Phoenix rising from the ashes, charred cabbage gives new life to good old bistro staple, the Caesar salad. Unlike Caesar made with lettuce, this recipe can be prepped head and assembled when you want to eat. And the easy vegetarian dressing is damn near drinkable. Be prepared for an intensely umami experience. xx

1 green or red cabbage, washed, stem end trimmed and outer leaves removed

Hard-cooked hen’s or quail’s eggs, shelled (optional) – amount up to you

Fresh broccoli sprouts or radish sprouts

2 (or more) Ryvita or Wasa crackers, or other wholegrain flatbread cracker

2 tsp olive oil

Pinch of chilli flakes (optional)

1/2 tsp lemon zest

1 tbsp nutritional yeast or grated hard Italian cheese (such as Parmesan or vegetarian alternative)

Lower-fat Caesar Salad Dressing

1 small garlic clove, chopped (let this sit for 10 minutes for health-promoting compound allicin to develop)

1 tsp Worcestershire sauce (Biona makes a veggie one; the normal kind has anchovy extract)

2 tsp capers

2 tbsp best mayonnaise (I like Delouis)

4 heaped tbsp yogurt

2 tbsp nutritional yeast OR grated vegetarian hard cheese (or Parmesan)

1 tsp Dijon mustard

Other options: capers, anchovies, shavings of hard cheese

Equipment needed: lit and ashy barbecue grill, cast-iron skillet or stove-top griddle pan. Instructions are for skillet/griddle pan

1. Quarter the cabbage. Cook without oil on the grill, in a skillet or griddle pan until charred in patches on all sides – about 7 minutes on each side. Pop the pieces into a heat-proof bowl and cover with clingfilm to “cook” in the residual heat for 15 minutes. This will soften it all up a good bit.

2. While the cabbage is “cooking” under cover, make the dressing by bunging everything into a mini chopper and process until smooth.

3. Make yummy Ryvita crumbs by heating the oil in a pan, crumbling in the crackers with the garlic powder and stir over a medium heat for one minute. Remove from the heat and stir in the lemon zest and nutritional yeast.

To make up the salad, cut the warm cabbage into 2 inch pieces and toss with the sprouts. Pile onto two pretty plates and top with sliced egg, Ryvita crumbs, any other suggested toppings you fancy and the dressing.

Griddled and Charred Stuff From Food To Glow

Grilled Bread and Halloumi Salad with Green Tahini Dressing

Mexican Barbecued Sweet Potato Salad Platter with Pomegranate, Feta and Guacamole

Grilled Lettuce On Its Own and In A Salad with Potatoes, Cornichon and Smoked Mackerel

Tomato and Skillet-Charred Corn and Quinoa Salad

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More Charred and Griddled Salads From Friends

Summer Salad with Grilled Vegetables

Griddle Chicory, Apple and Stilton Salad

Rose Chermoula Roasted Chickpeas & Carrots with Griddled Courgettes

Grilled Plums with Minted Couscous and Almonds

Radicchio, Asparagus, Burrata Salad with Lemon, Caper, Manuka Honey Dressing

Grilled Romaine Hearts with Figs, Pear and Manchego

Grilled Corn and Peach Quinoa Salad

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Ripe For Pinning! And you can follow me on Pinterest, too. Like a Phoenix rising from the ashes, charred cabbage gives new life to good old bistro staple, the Caesar salad. And the easy vegetarian dressing is damn near drinkable. Unlike Caesar made with lettuce, this recipe can be prepped head and assembled when you want to eat. Be prepared for an intensely umami experience.

 

 

 

 

26 thoughts on “Charred Cabbage Caesar Salad with (nearly) Drinkable Low-fat Dressing

  1. You honestly have the best food photography I’ve seen on any blog!

  2. This looks delicious! I often roast cabbage but haven’t tried cooking it in the griddle pan – yet! Those ryvita crumbs sound divine, too.

  3. efwalt says:

    This looks so yum! You get so much more flavour with a bit of a char!!!

  4. Very interesting salad – goes on my “to do list.”

  5. I set the fire alarm off daily. I can’t even cook toast properly! oops. This sounds wonderful, I was told recently that charred cabbage was super on trend – so way to go Kellie! Sounds gorgeous and will def give that drinkable dressing a try! x

  6. This looks lovely! The lemon zest sounds like a nice summery addition.

  7. Just gorgeous! I love an alternative caesar salad, and I can just imagine the umami flavour of the charred cabbage. Love the dainty quail’s eggs and the ryvita crackers, which I have plenty of access to as you know!

  8. Megala says:

    Fantastic presentation, nicely captured !

  9. poshbirdy says:

    Got to try this. It sounds delicious and looks amazing

  10. chefkreso says:

    You really have an eye for food photography it really looks incredible!

  11. lovely recipe! I love the photographs as well 🙂 I really like your blog. Feel free to check out my blog, The Artsy Palate. I am a dietetics and journalism double major and I post original healthy recipes and tips for staying healthy as a college student and beyond. https://theartsypalate.wordpress.com/

  12. Jenchat says:

    This looks amazing and I just have to try it. I newly found out about the umami taste and I feel like I’ve been living under a rock

  13. PS says:

    Simply delicious!!!

  14. stateeats says:

    Love charred cabbage. I make it when I have used half a head for slaw and then say, hmmmm, what should I do with the other half. Love your idea of dressing it, I shall try that. -Kat

  15. mihrank says:

    wow – this is delicious – we have this recipe on our restaurant menu in San Diego…

    1. What?! Tell me more 😊

  16. Konveksi Kaos Bandung says:

    look delicious..the good recipe..I want to try it to my family 🙂

  17. Laura says:

    As a working mom of 2, I can not tell you how much I love and appreciate your recipes for this recipe. Healthy and absolutely delicious. Thank you so much for sharing this. Keep posting like this way.

  18. Janice @FarmersgirlCook says:

    I’ve never tried charring cabbage, but it certainly looks good, very much bistro style, I love the sound of the dressing and will certainly be giving that a whirl.

  19. Vanesther says:

    The smoke detector is always going off in our house, but we rarely end up with anything as beautiful as this dish as a result! I just want to dive into our photography…

    1. Vanesther says:

      Our photography? Your photography, I mean!

  20. Heidi Roberts says:

    The dressing does sound great. I don’t like mayo but I guess I could use Philadelphia cream cheese or sour cream instead.

If you have time, I would love to hear from you. Thanks so much!

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