Give me 15 minutes of your cooking time and I will show you how to make a tasteful, spicy and crunchy salad that can be stored in the fridge for 3-5 days. Repeat with me: 3-5 days! Ready to serve salad in your fridge for those long, endless days where you wonder what to cook for dinner. With this Mediterranean cabbage salad, one of your problems is solved. Still, you have the main dish to consider but hey, I cannot solve all your problems in one post.
Every Mediterranean meal, lunch, and dinner, is served with some kind of salad, greens or boiled veggies, placed usually in the middle of the table. Everybody has access and they choose the way they want to enjoy it. Either by digging straight from that shared plate or by taking the quantity they want into their own plate. Needless to say that it is so much fun to share a salad. Forks crossing and fighting for the best slices of fresh, tasteful vegetables. During family dinner, my children and I block my husband’s fork from eating too much of that salad. This joke on the table brings more joy and laughs and make the overall experience of “eating greens and veggies” a pleasant and easy going procedure not only for children but for adults as well.
Sharing meals with family and friends is a key component of the Mediterranean diet. Delicious food is the reason to gather and have a real good old fashion communication. I cannot stress enough how important is to share your meals with family especially with your children and dinner is usually the meal when everyone is home. It is time to reconnect, relax, recharge, catch up on the day’s news, tell stories, overall to enjoy some quality time as a family and eventually develop a sense of who we are. Last but not least it is not luck that numerous studies associate regular family meals with lower rates of obesity and eating disorders in children and adolescents. Bottom line here: sharing your family meals have a profound effect on establishing healthy eating patterns, on mood and mental health.
This Mediterranean cabbage salad screams winter where I come from. Drizzling, cloudy and cold weather makes it taste even better. I really don’t know how but it does. In Greece, we love cabbage salads and we definitely know how to assemble flavorful, divine plates packed with seasonal vegetables and greens.
Its origin is from Constantinople (Istanbul), from the Greeks who used to live there and deported after the pogrom of the Greek minority in 1955. This historic tragedy forced over 100.000 Greeks to leave their homes and immigrated to Greece where they had a hard time to adjust due to economic and political instability. An amazing film that captures the spirit and mentality of these people and presents vividly and movingly the important role of the food in their life is “A Touch of Spice“. I highly recommend to watch the trailer and if you like it, this movie will be a huge surprise. Promise.
The cuisine from Istanbul refers to the Cuisine of the Greeks of “the City” or “Constantinople” as Greeks usually call Istanbul and it is an amazing conflation of two originally separate culinary worlds: eastern and western. On one hand, exotic spices from East give a distinctive sweet and sour taste and on the other European cakes and puddings with a twist. Politiki kouzina (cuisine from Istanbul) has enriched Greek cuisine with new flavors, spices and definitely has revitalized the country’s food culture.
This post is a tribute to this cuisine and the people behind it, thus, the name “politiki salata”. They used to serve it quite often because most of their dishes have a sweet aftertaste and this salad’s acidity provides an exceptional, delightful balance. At the end of the meal, contrasting flavors make a great culinary experience.
The star of this salad is white and/or red cabbage. Carrots and celery and bell peppers usually join cabbage. From that point on you may add a variety of ingredients according to your taste and preferences. Check tip#2 and you’ll find a list. The final ingredients are salt and quality wine vinegar. If you want, use your hands to mix well and in the fridge for 3 to 5 days preferably in a plastic food container.
This Mediterranean cabbage salad is tastier after a few hours in the fridge. It needs time for the flavors to blend. The following day it is even better because the cabbage is softer and has absorbed all the flavorful liquid. But it remains fresh and crunchy for days. Vinegar preserves it really well and it is almost fermented but the outcome has nothing to do with just pickled cabbage. Give it a try and you will see what I mean.
A few minutes before you serve the salad, strain well the amount you intend to serve. We don’t want excessive vinegar because it will be too sour to eat and too watery to enjoy. Add the best extra-virgin olive oil you can find and you will have on your table a salad with the perfect sweet and sour balance.
Don’t add balsamic vinegar because it will change the beautiful colors of that salad into a kind of black unappetizing mass.
The ingredients you may add:
- Red cabbage. I love it but my kids disagree. I don’t use it for this recipe though because I don’t like the color combination.
- Garlic finely minced. If you like garlic, you will kick the flavor up by a few more notches. Don’t add too much though.
- Parsley. Instead of celery, if you don’t like it. On second thought, why not both of them. They are so aromatic.
- Arugula and/or radish for spicing things up.
- Chili peppers finely chopped. It’s your ball game so add frugally the quantity you want.
- Capers. We usually find capers preserved in salt. For this salad, we don’t want extra saltiness. Rinse them really well, chop them and rinse them once more.
I particularly enjoy this salad with legumes and fish. However, it could be the perfect accompaniment to every main dish. There are no hard rules for this Mediterranean cabbage salad. Add more ingredients that you like and tell me if it worked for you.
- 1 large cabbage, finely chopped
- 3 carrots, shredded
- 1 yellow pepper, finely chopped
- 1 orange pepper, finely chopped
- 1 red pepper, finely chopped
- Celery, finely chopped
- 8 Kalamata olives, chopped
- ¾ cup vinegar
- 1 cup water
- Olive oil
- Place all chopped and minced vegetables in a food container, season with salt and pepper according to taste. Pour vinegar and water. Stir well. Store in the fridge from 3 to 5 days.
- Before serving strain well the quantity you want and add olive oil. Put the rest in the fridge.