(gluten free, paleo, vegetarian, grain-free, easy side dish)
There is an “original” version of this recipe. You’ve probably had it at a potluck, birthday party, or family reunion. You’ve probably wolfed down four servings and then demanded the recipe.
My recipe has all the same flavors, but uses only whole foods and garden fresh produce. No refined sugar, no rancid oils, and no Ramen noodles fried in butter. That’s right, Ramen noodles fried in butter. None of those here. A healthy version of your favorite Napa Cabbage Salad.
This is a great salad for summer when the radish patch is brimming and the cabbages are reaching their peak. If you don’t grow Napa cabbage, look for it at the Farmer’s market or grocery store.
There isn’t anything that this salad wouldn’t go with. Serve it with fish, chicken, beef, or pork. Heck, add some hardboiled eggs on top and make it a meatless main-dish salad.
Garden Napa Cabbage Salad with Butter Toasted Nuts
2 Tbs butter, divided
½ cup sliced almonds
¼ raw sunflower seeds
1/3 cup honey (liquid)
2 Tbs apple cider vinegar
1 Tbs coconut aminos or soy sauce
3 Tbs extra virgin olive oil
½ tsp sea salt
1 medium-sized head Napa Cabbage
1 cup thinly sliced radishes (mild ones!)
4 green onions, white and green parts
1. Make the Butter-Toasted Nuts
First prepare the nuts by heating one tablespoon butter in a medium sauté pan. Add the sunflower seeds to the pan and cook for several minutes, stirring, until they turn golden brown. Season them with a pinch of salt and then remove from the pan.
Add another tablespoon of butter to the pan and add in the almonds. Again, cook for several minutes until golden brown, season with a pinch of salt and remove from the pan.
Allow the nuts cool completely.
2. Make the Dressing
Make the dressing by whisking together the honey, apple cider vinegar, coconut aminos or soy sauce, olive oil and sea salt.
3. Prepare the Veggies
I am particular about how I cut the cabbage for this, and I think it makes a difference. Napa cabbage leaves have a white rib in the center of them, and I just like to treat this center rib differently than the leafy part. I cut the white rib out and then slice it thinly. Then I take the leafy part and cut it into larger, but bite-sized pieces.
Throw all of the Napa cabbage into the bowl along with the thinly sliced radishes. Cut the green onions, both the white and green parts, into thin slices and add those to the bowl.
4. Put the Salad Together
Toss the vegetables with the dressing and one third of the almonds and sunflower seeds. To serve, put the salad in a large bowl or platter and top with the remaining almonds and sunflower seeds. Serve immediately.
Tips & Helpful Hints
You can make all of the components to the salad a day or two ahead of time and then put it together right before you serve it.
Sometimes the Napa cabbage leaves are really yellow and not green. I don’t like this. If yellow Napa cabbage is all that is available, I would make this salad with half yellow Napa cabbage and half bok choy, spinach or kale. It needs the green!