Red Cabbage Salad with Umeboshi Dressing

Most people pigeon hole salads confining them to the summer months, but there are salads that are very ‘winter’, if you do think like that. And in fact, it is probably more necessary to eat a raw dish a day in the cooler weather because we switch to heavier, cooked meals, move about less and are more prone to coughs and colds. We need the cleansing and nutritional boost the salad gives us even more. There are some royal winter salads that are ideal for this time of year, they are perfect in being both seasonally fitting and comforting.


I was taught how to make this mouthwatering and nutritional salad many years ago by Pauline Fitzmaurice a macrobiotic expert and inspirational mother of the wonderful Blazing Salads family of the eponymous wholefood deli in Drury St. Dublin. She used to prepare the recipes while giving us an encyclopedic commentary on the properties and effects of the foods. Health and taste went hand in hand during those educational and delicious classes. Something I hope I can reproduce here. Both this and the next recipe can be found in The Blazing Salads Cookbook which I can’t recommend enough.

Red Cabbage Salad

The seeds in this salad provide zinc, calcium and iron. The red cabbage belongs to the uber anti cancer family of brassica and its red colour also means you are getting important phytochemicals such as flavonoids/polyphenols and lycopene. The dried raisins contain chromium which help regulate blood sugar which lowers cravings for sugary fixes. The spring onions clear the sinuses and are a member of the allatoin family that act as a natural antibacterial. The dressing I explain below but mixed with the apple juice and only a small amount of oil means a low fat dressing for those watching the calories.

Umeboshi dressing is a tart, salty, tangy vinegar extracted from the Japanese green ume plums and the red leaves of the shiso herb. It is very alkalising and excellent as a remedy for over acidic conditions such as hangovers, morning sickness or stiffness.It also helps with anaemia. Generally all of us need to alkalise more. Stress causes acidity, so does coffee, meat, alcohol and other foods. I recommend only buying organic brands as others can use artificial enhancers. Clearspring is a trustworthy choice.

Half a red cabbage shredded in food processor or by hand

3-6 red radishes thinly sliced

I small cos lettuce shredded

2/3 spring onions finely chopped

A handful of pumpkin seeds and sesame seeds toasted

Small handful of raisins or sultanas

2 tbs of apple juice concentrate

2-3 tbls of umeboshi dresing

1 tbls toasted sesame or plain sesame oil.

Finely shred the cabbage, lettuce and chop radishes and spring onions. Toast pumpkin and sesame seeds under grill on some tin foil. Be careful – they toast quickly, 30-40 seconds is usually sufficient, simply keep out. Place all the ingredients in a bowl and toss. Whisk dressing ingredients together check flavour and adjust to taste. Dress the salad about half an hour before you eat it to allow the flavours to soak. Garnish with extra sesame and/or pumpkin seeds before serving. I like to give this a liberal dose of black pepper.

purple_cabbageCOOKED UME CABBAGE

Since I have discussed Umeboshi dressing I feel I should give you a recipe for the umeboshi plums themselves. These are the whole Japanese, green plums that are pickled in sea salt and the red shiso leaf. The shiso leaf gives a natural, pink dye that colours the plums. They are delicious and a very healing home remedy. If you are suffering with indigestion or nauseousness, suck the pips of the plums and see how quickly they work!

Of course better than that is to include these foods in your diet- that way your food is your medicine. This is a delicious way of serving cabbage. Interestingly it gives the cabbage a bacon-y flavour but is completely vegetarian. A meatless dish where you won’t miss the meat. Again I recommend the Clearspring brand and organic ingredients.

1 small head of cabbage

1 small onion

Sesame oil

1 umeboshi plum.

Slice the cabbage finely and chop the onion, Then heat in a pot a tablespoon of sesame oil. Saute the onion, and add the cabbage on a medium heat. Meanwhile peel the flesh off the pip and chop finely. Stir into cabbage and add pip. Then add 2-3 tablespoons of water, turn down heat as low as possible and add tight lid and cook for 20 minutes. Stir every now again to stop sticking.