Guest Post: Jessica Moore – Bint Rhoda’s Kitchen
I’ve heard it said before: eat the rainbow! Well, this classic Middle Eastern salad is a showstopper, with its hues of red, orange, purple and green, and it is as healthful and tasty as it is pretty! Sprinkled generously with the herb trifecta of Middle Eastern cuisine – mint, parsley and scallions–this cabbage salad is refreshing and distinctive, and sure to stand out as a beautiful offering at any picnic or gathering. Move over, mayo-laden coleslaw: with this light and lemony dressing, this slaw is ready to party at your next picnic.
Yes, it is made with a very simple lemon vinaigrette! A squeeze of lemon, a drizzle of olive oil, and sprinkle of salt and pepper– this was the salad dressing of my years growing up in Palestine. I took for granted that there would always be salad at the table, and though I ate my salads with relish, I pined for western-style dressings. When we traveled back to the United States and visited with friends, I was always in awe at the long row of salad dressing bottles presented to me: What kind of dressing would you like, dear? Russian? Thousand Island? Blue Cheese? Ranch? And I would sit there, dumbstruck, because, truly, I had no idea. I didn’t even know what they tasted like. So I tried them all, at every meal auditioning a new bottled dressing. And when I went back to my home, I would lament to my parents: Why don’t we have different kinds of salad dressing? Our salad dressing always tastes the same! Lemon juice and olive oil.
My parents smiled at me, shrugged, and continued to just squeeze the lemon and drizzle the olive oil. Sometimes they added a little mustard for variety, or swapped in vinegar for lemon juice.
Once I grew up and moved to America, I had a brief fling with store-bought bottled dressings. I tried them all, with abandon. But then a summer job in a deli in rural Wisconsin cured me of my fascination, as I literally spent my days making my body weight in potato salad and coleslaw, and spent hours up to my elbows in heavy, manufactured dressings. My tastes brought me back home, back to the simplest of dressings with pure ingredients.
This salad is dressed with fresh mint, chopped scallions and parsley, and then finished with a little lemon juice and olive oil. It is enough to make the cabbage, carrots and tomatoes shine, and adds the right balance of healthful fats and a little bright pop of acid, to help both the taste and digestion of these vegetables.