Thanksgiving meal planning inevitably revolves around how to roast a golden bird or nail a perfect pie crust. The notion of a salad at the holiday table is usually an afterthought, unless it’s one involving jello, mini marshmallows, or canned mandarins. But your Thanksgiving table NEEDS salad, people. All the heaviness of the meal — from the buttery mash to the rich gravy, creamed onions, and whatever kinda crazy business your family works into sweet potatoes — demands the balance and coolness of a fresh, seasonal salad.
This Colorful Cabbage Salad with Apples, Walnuts, and Cranberries is the perfect counterpoint to all the Thanksgiving classics. It’s crisp and bright, and can be made a day ahead if need be. It’s also killer the next day piled onto a leftover turkey sandwich with a swipe of mayo and a spoonful of cranberry sauce. And while Thanksgiving is hardly the time to be talking nutrition, the cabbage and walnuts in this slaw mean it’s mega nourishing (though I’m not sure it will do much to offset the impact of what else is on your dinner plate).
A few pointers on shredding cabbage will take all the work out of this recipe. Here’s how: 1) Cut the cabbage right down the middle through the stem. 2) Lay the cabbage cut-side-down on a cutting board and cut in half again through the stem 3) Trim out the little wedge of core 4) Cut the cabbage into thin slices
Once the cabbage is shredded, it’s simply a matter of tossing it with a few other ingredients and dousing it with a tangy dressing. And no worries if you can’t work this into your Thanksgiving feast. It’s easy enough for a weeknight supper, tasty underneath a boneless chicken breast that’s been pan-seared and sliced.
Colorful Cabbage Salad with Apples, Walnuts & Dried Cranberries
1/2 medium green cabbage, thinly sliced
1/2 medium red cabbage, thinly sliced
1 medium unpeeled crisp apple such as Granny Smith or Pink Lady, thinly sliced
1 cup walnuts, coarsely chopped
1 cup dried cranberries
1/3 cup thinly sliced red onion
1/3 cup apple cider vinegar
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon pure maple syrup
1/2 teaspoon celery seed
1/4 teaspoon salt
Put the green cabbage, red cabbage, apple, walnuts, cranberries, and onion into a large bowl and mix well.
In a small bowl, whisk together the vinegar, olive oil, maple syrup, celery seed, and salt. Pour over the cabbage and toss well. Cover and refrigerate until ready to serve.
Serves 8 to 10
Adapted from a recipe by Sharon Kramis