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 after me: 3-5 days! Ready to serve salad in your fridge for those long, endless days when 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 makes the overall experience of “eating greens and veggies” a pleasant and easy-going procedure not only for children but for adults as well.
SHARE YOUR MEALS!
Sharing meals with family and friends is a key component of the Mediterranean diet. Delicious food is the reason to gather and has really 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, and overall 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. The bottom line here: sharing your family meals has a profound effect on establishing healthy eating patterns, mood, and mental health.
This Mediterranean chopped cabbage salad is called Politiki (Πολίτικη in Greek) and it 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.
Not interested in the historic background? No problem! Jump to Recipe
… otherwise, keep reading!
This Mediterranean chopped cabbage salad originates from Constantinople (Istanbul). There was a massive and full of life and prosperity Greek minority in this city till 1955 when the Greeks who used to live there were violently deported. This historic tragedy forced over 100.000 Greeks to leave their homes and immigrated to Greece where they had a hard time adjusting due to economic and political instability in the motherland. An amazing film that captures the spirit and mentality of these people and presents vividly and movingly the important role of food in their life is “A Touch of Spice“. I highly recommend watching 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 the 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 and gastronomic map.
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 many of their main 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 keep it in the fridge for 3 to 5 days preferably in a glass 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 even more.
- Chili peppers, finely chopped. It’s your ball game so add frugally the quantity you want…or not.
- 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.
MY MEDITERRANEAN CABBAGE SALAD IS READY! NOW WHAT?
I particularly enjoy this salad with legumes like lentils, chickpeas, white bean soup, and split pea puree.
However, it could be the perfect accompaniment to every main dish. There are no hard rules here.
If you make this recipe, you have to let me know! I absolutely love your feedback. This is a huge motivation for me and it keeps 30daysofgreekfood’s kitchen alive. Bookmark this recipe and leave your rate and comment below, or take a photo with your Mediterranean cabbage salad and tag me on Instagram with #30daysofgreekfood and Facebook with @30daysofgreekfood.
Mediterranean cabbage salad
- 1 medium cabbage finely chopped
- 3 carrots shredded
- 1 yellow bell pepper finely chopped
- 1 orange bell pepper finely chopped
- 1 red bell pepper finely chopped
- celery to taste finely chopped
- 8 Kalamata olives chopped
- ¾ cup white wine vinegar
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Olive oil to taste
- Place all chopped vegetables in a food container, and season with salt and pepper according to taste. Pour in the white wine vinegar. Stir well.
- Before serving strain well the quantity you want and add olive oil. Put the rest in the fridge.
- Store in the fridge from 3 to 5 days.
This sounds very good! What type of vinegar do you recommend? Do you use white wine vinegar or red wine vinegar or something else?
Thank you, Stephanie! This is indeed a delicious salad. I recommend white wine vinegar because it prevents the salad from turning brown. If you make it, tell me how it goes. xxxx Sylia
I’m going to make this tonight to go with salmon and sweet potatoes. I’m about five days in the Mediterranean wol. Sounds very good.
Let me tell you one thing, my friend. You are going to love it! Enjoy.
I never put water in my salad. For the leftovers do you drain it of the water and vintages or does it sit in it until another day
Dear Helen, you’ve picked up the biggest mistake in my blog since 2017. This is so embarrassing AND THANK YOU SO MUCH. Water in the salad? Where was my mind? So, make the whole salad, keep it in the fridge in a glass airtight food storage container (up to 3-5 days) and serve only the quantity you want. You may have to drain it of vinegar before adding the olive oil.
An excellent healthy vegetable salad that tastes good.
Exactly! Thank toy so much for your kind feedback
An excellent salad, crunchy and full of flavour. Top marks.
Thank you so much for the feedback and rating, Alan.