It's spring, and dammit I am going to make colorful food! If I make a pretty salad, it'll keep the nasty cold weather away and I can go running in clothes that are not insulated tights, two shirts, gloves, and my hiking socks.
Ok, now that I got that out of my system, on to a colorful spring salad! This salad is easily made vegan, simply omit the grated grana padano. I'm not a fan of feta cheese, so I substituted grana padano on this salad, and although I enjoyed the saltiness it added, it's definitely optional and without it, this salad is vegan.
I wish I had made this earlier in the week when I was playing Dragon Age II, it's a quick dish! Later this week, I plan to make an experimental apple and red cabbage slaw. The original idea was to make a fennel and red cabbage slaw, but Wegmans was out of fennel. So, I decided that an apple might work. Anyway, I needed a way to use the other half of the red cabbage, so I found this recipe for red cabbage and asparagus salad. Normally, I'd make this as an entree if I was trying to eat healthy. Sure, 1 Tbsp of tahini is about 90 calories and a good bit of fat, but it's just 1 Tbsp divided between 2 people. So, no big deal! Given that each head of red cabbage weighs approximately 600 lbs, this could have been an entree.
But Wegmans has a sausage bar! So I bought two smoked chorizos and decided to grill them in my grill pan and serve them with the last of my trio of mustards that I brought home from my trip to Paris: Maille Chablis and Morel Dijon. If there was a Maille store in DC, I'd be bankrupt. Since the sausage didn't need any prep work, this meal didn't take very long for two people to prepare (there is a lot of chopping involved so for one person it'll take longer).
This salad definitely could work as a vegan or vegetarian entree!
I adapted the salad recipe a bit because I love radishes, green onions, and dressing. So it's not exactly a 1/2 recipe of the original. That said, I think my version works well because instead of being overwhelmed by red cabbage, there is a decent bit of asparagus, radish, and green onion to balance it all out.
Should you decide to add a pork product to this meal, I recommend smoked chorizo, it's fabulous! I used fancy chablis and morel mustard for my sausage, but any mustard would work fine, as would any type of sausage. However, this salad could definitely stand on its own as an entree, especially with additional veggies. Broccoli comes to mind.
Asparagus is generally a wine killer, but a viognier worked well with this dish. Mainly because I drank more wine after dinner than during. :) I suppose at this point I should mention that I actually do know how to set a table. But, Batman: Arkham Asylum was calling, and so I just threw my utensils on the table. ;)
Red Cabbage and Asparagus Salad with Tahini Dressing
Adapted from Allrecipes.com
1/2 bunch asparagus, ends trimmed (if you really love asparagus, throw the whole bunch in!)
1/2 lb thinly sliced red cabbage
2 radishes, thinly sliced
2 scallions, thinly sliced
1/8 cup toasted pine nuts
2 dill sprigs, chopped (I love dill and used 3 sprigs)
Grating cheese to taste - optional. (The original recipe uses feta, I used grana padano)
1.5 Tbsp tahini
2 Tbsp lemon juice
1 clove garlic, minced
1/2 Tbsp water
white sugar, to taste (I used about 1/2 tsp)
1) Boil a large pot of water. Boil asparagus for 3 minutes. Drain and rinse with very cold water. Drain again. Cut the asparagus into 1 inch pieces.
2) Mix asparagus, red cabbage, radishes, scallions, pine nuts, and dill in a large bowl.
3) In a separate bowl, mix tahini, lemon juice, water, and sugar to taste.
4) Add tahini dressing to the bowl with the red cabbage mixture and toss well. Add grated cheese (optional) and toss again. Serve.