When we go to Mexican restaurants, my default request is taco salad, in part because most other offerings are pretty heavy and the portions huge. At least when I have a salad the risk of getting into a food coma are a bit lower. The inspiration for this version came from many sources, and I must say I’m pretty happy with it. What made it special for me was the inclusion of red cabbage and jicama. Full disclosure: julienning the jicama was not particularly pleasant. A small price to pay.

(from the Bewitching Kitchen)

for the dressing:
1 small bunch of fresh cilantro (no need for precision here)
1 tablespoon agave nectar
juice from 2 limes (about 1/4 cup)
1/4 cup grape seed oil

for the salad component:
1 pound ground turkey
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon chili powder
2 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp kosher salt
3 cups shredded red cabbage
3 cups romaine lettuce, chopped
1/2 large jicama, peeled and julienned

Make the dressing: combine all ingredients in a blender or small food processor and puree until as smooth as possible.

Add the red cabbage to a large bowl and add half of the dressing to it. Leave it in the fridge for an hour or so.

In a large skillet, heat the olive oil, add the turkey and salt, and cook for a few minutes. Add the chili, cumin, mix, and drizzle about 1/4 cup of water to the pan. Cover, simmer gently for a few minutes, the remove the lid and allow most of the water to evaporate. Reserve.

Assemble the salad: Place the cabbage (already seasoned) on a serving platter, add the lettuce, jicama, toss gently. Add the cooked meat on top, and the additional reserved dressing.


to print the recipe, click here

Comments: If you want to turn this into a vegetarian meal, omit the turkey and add roasted garbanzo beans instead. Or maybe sweet potatoes. The red cabbage gives it a very nice texture, and the jicama also contributes a lot. I just wish there was an easy way to deal with jicama, I am always afraid I’ll lose one or two fingers whenever I prepare it. But it has such a nice, fresh flavor. Totally worth the trouble.

I love this dressing. Definitely not for the cilantro-haters out there. Finally, what makes this perfect for me is the contrast of hot and cold. I’ve been planning many meals now with this in mind. We had a very small amount leftover and as usual, I was the lucky one who enjoyed it the following day. My husband is a real gentleman.

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Beautiful Cabbage


Don’t tell me you are a cabbage-hater!

I would not hold it against you, because cabbage has a bad reputation:   poor thing, it’s totally unjustified.  A plump, red cabbage is a thing of beauty!  I admit that  members of the Cruciferae family tend to emit a nasty smell as they cook,  but this recipe will not offend your senses.  I’m talking about raw cabbage, in a sweet and sour concoction that will amaze your taste buds. I promise. Give this recipe a try, cabbage-hater, and don’t be ashamed of changing teams  😉

(adapted from Bon Appetit, June 2008)

3 T sugar
3 T rice vinegar
1 small serrano pepper, thinly sliced
3 cups red cabbage, thinly sliced (see my comments)
2 cups Napa cabbage, thinly sliced
2 tsp fresh ginger, minced
1 T orange zest
chopped cilantro leaves, to taste
salt and pepper to taste
fresh lemon juice (optional)

Stir sugar and vinegar in a small saucepan over medium heat just until the sugar dissolves, no need to boil it. Remove it from the heat, add ginger and serrano pepper and mix.

Place both types of cabbage in a large bowl, add the orange zest and cilantro, mix to combine, add the reserved dressing and toss to coat the cabbage. Season to taste with salt and pepper. If it seems too sweet, add some fresh lemon juice.

Let it sit for about 30 minutes at room temperature, tossing it a few times to distribute the dressing.  You can also put it in the fridge for several hours, but bring to room temperature before serving.


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