Asian Coleslaw

I do love a good coleslaw. I’ve put several recipes for it on my blog over the years and here’s another one that I think is up there near the top. Quick and easy to make, it tastes delicious. Of course, if you can use real soy sauce, feel free but use only half as much as the soy sauce substitute. And I know, more brown food! Can’t seem to stop making brown things.

To make the sauce whisk together:

1/3 cup rice vinegar

1/3 cup avocado oil

5 tablespoons seed or nut butter (I used pumpkin seed butter but tahini would also work well)

1/3 cup soy sauce substitute (or 3 tablespoons soy sauce) (SEE recipe under SAUCES)

3 tablespoons date sugar (or honey, agave or coconut nectar, or date syrup)

1 teaspoon garlic puree

1 tablespoon freshly grated ginger (Optional)

1 teaspoon sesame oil (toasted preferably)

1/4 cup toasted sesame seeds

Whisk until thoroughly blended and then pour over:

5 cups shaved green cabbage (or Napa cabbage, even some bok choy would work)

2 cups shaved red cabbage

1 cup shredded carrots

1 cup diced water chestnuts

1 cup diced Asian pear*

6 scallions, chopped (reserve a few of the chopped greens for garnish)

Mix thoroughly (I used a serving fork) to combine the sauce with all the ingredients. Makes 8-10 servings.

*Asian pears aren’t very sweet and are very firm. If you can’t find Asian pears, feel free to add another chopped fruit such as pineapple. Regular apple or pear won’t work very well here. Jicama would also work but not add any sweetness but you could substitute some apple juice for some of (or all of) the oil. You may want to omit the date sugar if you add pineapple or apple juice.

Asian-Style Sorghum Salad

There are so many great grains out there for those of us who can’t digest gluten or potatoes. Here’s one that takes a little longer to make, only because sorghum takes such a long time to cook but is really delicious and quite different from any other grain. As usual, feel free to use variations listed below if a non-Asian type of salad is desired. Enjoy something other than pasta or potatoes!

Cook in 2 quarts of boiling water:

1 cup washed sorghum*

1 teaspoon sea salt

Once water boils, reduce heat to medium high and boil uncovered for 50-60 minutes or until sorghum is soft. Rinse under cold water.

While the sorghum is boiling, prepare:

1/2 to 3/4 cup shredded carrots

2 cups shredded Chinese cabbage

1 cup diced jicama (or diced water chestnuts)

1 cup stringed and sliced pea pods

Combine in a large bowl. Then make the dressing. Pour into a 2-cup jar:

1/4 cup soy sauce substitute (see recipe under sauces/condiments/dressings)

1/2 cup olive oil

1/4 cup sesame seeds

2 teaspoons toasted sesame oil

2 tablespoons rice vinegar

1 teaspoon fish sauce (Optional)

2 tablespoon date syrup

1/2 teaspoon chili paste (or wasabi paste)

1 teaspoon finely minced garlic or ginger (Optional)

Shake vigorously to emulsify although the oil will separate if not used immediately so it will need to be repeated prior to use. Once the sorghum is cooked, rinsed and cooled, pour into the bowl of vegetables and add the dressing. Toss to combine and serve.

*Sorghum has a waxy outer shell that needs to be rinsed off before cooking.

VARIATIONS:

Italian Sorghum salad: Use diced tomatoes, cucumbers, parsley or basil, carrots, peas, etc., with an Italian style dressing.

Sorghum “Potato-style” salad: Add some diced onion, celery, hard-boiled eggs, and a mayonnaise dressing.

Indian Sorghum salad: Use chickpeas, broccoli, carrot, cucumber, spinach, or zucchini along with a curry or tahini-based dressing.

Kohlrabi Slaw

Most cole slaws are pretty easy to make especially if you buy a pre-sliced bag of cole slaw mix which usually includes green and red cabbage along with shredded carrots. I’m always looking for new types of cole slaw and a cooking show I watched recently added kohlrabi to it and I remembered the kohlrabi from my childhood. My sister, brothers, and I would be weeding the garden and see the kohlrabi bulbs, cut them off, and eat them like apples. So delicious! And my mother would be so angry with us because she’d planned on cooking them for supper.

This reminds me of that because they’re raw. If you don’t like kohlrabi or can’t find it in your supermarket, jicama would work just as well. Some thin slices of apple or pear would be great in this as well.

Combine in a large bowl:

1 1/2 cups thinly sliced kohlrabi

1 cup shredded carrots

1 1/2 cups thinly sliced red cabbage (I sliced it thin and then cut the slices in half)

1 1/2 cups thinly sliced white cabbage (I used Chinese but any white or green cabbage works)

In a glass jar combine:

1/2 cup olive oil

1/4 cup rice vinegar (white or apple cider would also work)

2 tablespoons honey

1 teaspoon celery seeds

1 tablespoon sriracha (optional)

Put the lid on the jar and shake vigorously for about a minute or until emulsified. Pour over the vegetables and stir to mix the vegetables and dressing (I used tongs for this). Serve chilled. Makes 6 servings.

Sweet and Sour Cabbage

Want a quick and easy side dish? Here’s one that even those who don’t care much for cabbage may enjoy. Use either red or green cabbage, or be lazy and buy a bag of cole slaw mix, doesn’t matter if there’s a few shredded carrots in there as well. Goes very well with any meat but for some reason cabbage especially likes pork or beef – steaks, chops, or roasts doesn’t matter. And feel free to change out the ground cloves for whatever spice your family prefers – cinnamon, allspice, nutmeg, coriander, etc.

Heat a 10-12″ high-sided skillet over medium high heat and add:

2 tablespoons olive oil

Heat until shimmering and add:

1/4 teaspoon ground cloves

1/2 large onion, sliced

Cook over medium heat until beginning to soften, 2-3 minutes. Add to the skillet:

2 cups shredded cabbage

Salt and ground pepper to taste

2 tablespoons water

Cover, reduce heat to medium low and cook until the cabbage is softened, about 5 minutes. While it cooks, in a small bowl combine:

2 tablespoons vinegar (whatever kind your family prefers, I used white)

1 tablespoon date syrup (agave or maple would also work)

1/4 teaspoon celery seed or caraway

Whisk to combine and set aside. When cabbage is ready, pour the vinegar mixture into the skillet, stir to combine and let heat for about 30 seconds. Serve. Makes 2-4 servings.

TIP: Like braised cabbage, adding a diced apple or pear when the cabbage is added to the skillet and topping with some bacon bits would be great in this dish.

Korean Style Ground Turkey with Cabbage

Super quick and easy, especially if you buy the pre-shredded cole slaw mix at the supermarket. The only other thing that needs dicing is the small onion and that doesn’t take long. This dish is a little sweet, spicy and tangy and the ground turkey, unless you really overcook it of course!, stays moist and succulent in the sauce. I apologize for not sprinkling the finished dish with scallion as it should be but I didn’t have any in the house and wasn’t up to going to the store today. Excellent even without them! As usual, feel free to mellow or increase the spices to fit your family’s tastes.

First, in a deep skillet (3″ or so), heat over medium high heat:

1/2 tablespoon olive oil

1/2 tablespoon sesame oil

When hot reduce heat to medium and add:

1 pound ground turkey breast

Break up the turkey and sauté for about 2 minutes before adding:

1 small onion, diced

1 cup shredded cabbage*

1/4 cup shredded carrots (in the cole slaw mix if you use that or most supermarkets now sell pre-shredded carrots)

2 teaspoons minced garlic (or 2 minced garlic cloves)

Stir to combine and cover, reduce heat to low and simmer for about 4-6 minutes until the cabbage and onion are softened.

While the dish simmers make the sauce by combining in a small bowl:

1/2 cup soy sauce substitute** (of course if your family can have soy, use regular soy sauce but reduce to 1/4 cup)

2 teaspoons tapioca starch (or flour)

1/4 teaspoon ground ginger (or 1/2 teaspoon freshly grated ginger)

1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper

1-2 tablespoons date sugar depending on how sweet you like it

1/4 teaspoon garlic chili sauce (or 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes, or 1 teaspoon siracha)

Whisk to combine. Remove cover from the turkey mixture and add in sauce, stirring constantly until it thickens which should be about 5-10 seconds. Remove from heat to a serving dish, top with toasted sesame seeds and/or sliced scallions. Serve over rice. Makes 4 servings.

*If cabbage isn’t a favorite in your family, add a small can of sliced bamboo shoots and a can of sliced water chestnuts. Or some thinly sliced bok choy would also work.

**See recipe under sauces. I generally have several 1 cup jars of it in the freezer.

Asian Pork and Cabbage

I took a small pork roast out of the freezer yesterday morning and noticed that I have two bags of carrots in the frig. What to do with them, I asked myself. So on Taste of Home, I found a recipe that I thought would work once I modified it to remove the allergens. It’s really quite quick and easy if you buy already chunked pork and pre-shredded cabbage and carrots. One of the bags of carrots was shredded so I went and picked up a large container of cole slaw mix this morning. It took me about a half hour to cut up the roast and then only about 10 minutes to make the dish! Very tasty over some rice. Makes 4 servings.

In a large nonstick skillet over medium, heat up:

2 teaspoons olive oil

When hot, add:

4-6 cups chopped cabbage

Cook for about 2 minutes until cabbage starts to get tender but is still crisp. Add:

2 cups shredded carrots

Stir to combine and cook for about another 2 minutes until carrots start to get tender. Remove to a bowl. Add to the now empty skillet:

2 teaspoons olive oil

When hot, add:

2 cups diced pork

Cook over medium high heat until the pork is browned on all sides, about 2 minutes depending on how large your chunks of pork are, try to cut them into approximately the same size (I know, easier said than done!). Add to the skillet:

2 tablespoons finely minced ginger root*

Stir to combine and cook for about 2 more minutes until the pork is about cooked and the juices run clear. Combine in a separate bowl before adding to the skillet:

1 cup chicken stock

1/4 cup soy sauce substitute

2 tablespoons arrowroot

1/2 teaspoon sesame oil

Whisk to combine and add to the skillet. Stir constantly until it thickens. Add the cabbage mixture back into the skillet and heat through, about 1 minutes. Add salt and pepper to taste. Serve over rice.

*The easiest way to mince ginger root is to cut off the peel producing a rectangle of ginger root. Slice into thin slices and then, using a French knife, cut back and forth until finely minced. (A French knife is a long-bladed knife that is angled so that you can rock the blade back and forth to finely chop things.)

Caramelized Cabbage with Bratwurst

I follow another food blogger who writes about traditional German recipes and every once in a while one comes along that sounds pretty good to me and easily adapted to allergy free. As usual, feel free to adjust to your tastes. Leave out the bratwurst and the dish becomes a side dish. It would also be very good with some diced apple or pear, much like the braised cabbage recipe on my blog.

In a large, high sided skillet, over medium high heat:

2 tablespoons olive oil

When shimmering add:

2 medium onions thinly sliced

12 ounces cole slaw mix (or small white cabbage shredded)

2 large baby bok choy washed and sliced into chunks

Salt and pepper to taste (I used about 1 teaspoon of my Herbamare and 1/4 teaspoon pepper)

2 teaspoons date syrup (or date sugar if you don’t have date syrup, or 1 teaspoon agave)

Stir to combine and then stir every minute or so to keep the bottom from burning. When sizzling, reduce heat to medium and continue stirring every minute or two until caramelized, about 15-20 minutes. The onion and the cabbage will release liquid as they cook and that needs to evaporate before the mixture can begin to caramelize. Most important to stir often once the liquid is gone. Deglaze the pan with:

1 1/2 cups chicken stock (or 1 cup stock and 1/2 cup white wine if you can have it)

Add:

1 bay leaf

1 teaspoon lightly crushed caraway seeds (I put them in my spice mill for about 2 pulses)

Stir and reduce heat to medium low and simmer until about half the liquid has evaporated, about 10 minutes. Sauce should thicken slightly as it reduces.

As the cabbage mixture is simmering, in a separate skillet over medium high heat:

1 tablespoon olive oil

Add:

4 pork bratwurst, casings removed*

Brown on all sides then reduce heat to medium, cover, and let cook until cooked through, about 7-8 minutes. Slice into bite size pieces and add to the cabbage mixture. Be sure to remove the bay leaf before serving. Can be served over noodles.

*Feel free to use any sausage your family prefers.

Avocado Coleslaw

I think I’m definitely getting lazier in my old age. Or perhaps it’s just a case of now only having to cook for myself so I don’t care anymore if someone else is going to like it. Anyway, instead of buying a small cabbage that I have to prepare, along with carrots, I’ve started buying the bagged coleslaw mix at the supermarket. So easy and so tasty.

Place in a medium size mixing bowl:

contents of one bag of prepared coleslaw vegetables – cabbage, red cabbage and grated carrots

1/2 to 1 cup of additional grated carrots*

In the bowl of a food processor (or blender) combine:

1 avocado peeled and seeded

1 cup vegan mayonnaise

2 tablespoons vinegar

1 tablespoon agave nectar (or coconut nectar or honey)

1 teaspoon celery seed

Blend until smooth. If too thick, add several tablespoons water until it’s the right consistency. This will depend on the thickness of your mayonnaise since different brands can be thinner or thicker.

Combine the dressing with the coleslaw vegetables and stir until well mixed. Cover and refrigerate until ready to serve.

*TIPS: Liven up your coleslaw by adding some diced apple, pear, or jicama. I’ll also sometimes finely dice another 1/2 an avocado and add that to the mix.

Spring (or summer) Rolls

When I lived in Pittsfield, Massachusetts, there was a wonderful Vietnamese restaurant that introduced me to all kinds of new flavors. One of our favorites were their spring rolls! What a delicious concoction; meat, rice noodles and vegetables wrapped in a rice paper shell and deep fried. Oh so good. Generally a spring roll contains pork or shrimp and a summer roll (the unfried version of a spring roll) contains shrimp and no noodles but bean sprouts instead. Here I’ve substituted chicken but any meat (or meat substitute) would work. And they aren’t difficult to make as long as the steps are followed.

First cook whatever part of the filling needs cooking.

To a large pot of boiling, salted water add:

8 ounces pad Thai noodles (or linguini, gluten free of course!) [Optional but traditional]

Cook until tender, about 3-5 minutes, drain, rinse with cold water and set aside to add to the cooked vegetables later. In a medium 10″ skillet over medium heat, heat:

1 tablespoon olive oil

Add:

1/2 medium onion, sliced

1 cup of thinly sliced Chinese (or Napa) cabbage

Reduce heat to medium low and cook for several minutes until the onion and cabbage wilt. In a small bowl whisk:

1 tablespoon soy substitute

1 tablespoon date sugar (or syrup)

1/2 cup rice vinegar

1 tablespoon sesame oil

Add to the skillet and stir to combine with the onion and cabbage. Add the pad Thai noodles if used. Remove the vegetables from the skillet. Either clean that skillet or using another, heat:

1 tablespoon olive oil

Add over medium heat:

16 ounces of chicken breast, julienned (thinly sliced)

Cook, turning frequently, for several minutes, 3-5, until chicken is cooked. Remove from heat.

Let the vegetables and chicken cool thoroughly. If the fillings aren’t cool enough, they will melt the rice paper wrapper. In the meantime, prepare the uncooked fillings, any or all of the following:

1 medium carrot, any color, julienned

1 English cucumber, peeled and julienned

1 cup zucchini noodles cut into 4 inch sections

1/2 cup pea pods

2-3 green scallions (green parts only), cut into 4 inch sections

1/2 cup Daikon radish (julienned)

Avocado (julienned)

2 tablespoons sesame seeds (white or black)

Fresh herbs can also be added such as mint or basil leaves

As you can see, pretty much any vegetable could work, even string beans! You’ll also need:

10-12 rice paper wrappers (found in most oriental or specialty stores (or Whole Foods)

When the fillings are all prepared and cooled, using a 12″ container (I used a large pie plate), fill with about 1″ of warm water, not hot, just lukewarm works best. One at a time, place a rice paper wrapper , into the warm water, making sure the wrapper is covered by the water. You don’t want to soak it, just wet it completely. You’ll notice when it’s wet enough because the marks on the wrapper will disappear. Place the wrapper on a clean tea towel (cotton rather than a synthetic or fleece towel) and dry. I picked up the wrapper at this point, carefully, so it didn’t stick as much to the towel after filling.

As you see from the photo, I broke one but it was still useable. Once dried, place some of the fillings in the middle of the wrapper, horizontally, then fold the bottom of the wrapper over the filling being sure it is tight at the top. Then fold in the sides of the wrapper and roll it up from the bottom to the top. The top should stick to the rest of the roll. If it doesn’t, rub a tiny amount of water on it with your finger.

Now comes the choice – spring or summer rolls? The only difference is the frying. If spring rolls are chosen, cook all of them. I cooked half and left the others for the next day’s lunch and they totally disintegrated in the oil the next day, the rice paper didn’t hold up to being refrigerated.

If spring rolls are the choice, heat in a large, high sided skillet:

3 inches of olive and avocado oils

Heat to 350 degrees. Olive oil has a low smoke point so mixing it with the avocado (which has a higher smoke point) keeps the olive oil from burning during this process. Once the oil is to temperature, add the spring rolls being careful not to overcrowd the pan. Fry, turning once (tongs are best for this), until golden brown. Unlike most fried foods, do not place these on a paper towel as the rice wrapper will stick to it even after fried. Instead blot lightly with the paper towel after frying.

If, like me, several of your wrappers formed holes when wrapping them in the vegetables, DON’T FRY THEM! The oil will get into the roll and it will be very greasy. Use it as a summer roll instead.

Dipping sauce (or dressing) if desired. Traditionally spring rolls are served with a peanut sauce but the restaurant always served them with a spicy soy/ginger/garlic sauce. Here are several recipes for dipping sauces.

“Peanut” Dipping Sauce:

Combine in a small bowl:

1/2 cup tahini or other seed or nut butter

1 tablespoon soy substitute

2 tablespoons rice vinegar

1 teaspoon minced garlic

1 tablespoon grated fresh ginger

1-3 tablespoons hot water depending on the thickness desired

Whisk to combine all ingredients.

Spicy Dipping Sauce:

In a small bowl combine:

4 tablespoons water

2 tablespoons date sugar (or syrup)

4 tablespoons soy substitute

1/4 cup lime juice

1/2 teaspoon minced garlic

1 teaspoon freshly grated ginger

slices of red chili pepper (optional)

Sweet and Sour Dipping Sauce:

In a small bowl combine:

1 tablespoon soy substitute

1 tablespoon minced ginger

1/4 cup rice vinegar

1/4 cup date sugar (or syrup)

1 tablespoon sesame oil

Braised Cabbage (dairy-free, gluten-free)

My mother loved braised cabbage; this was her go-to winter vegetable when she was tired of peas, carrots, green beans or corn.  She always used red cabbage but any cabbage will work.  The onion adds a little tang and the bacon a smoky flavor.  I add pear; my mother always used apple.  Either will add some sweetness to the dish and, when combined with the fat from the olive oil and bacon, give it a full-bodied richness.  Prepare the onion, bacon, and cabbage ahead of time and this takes around 15 minutes to cook.  And it can be a vegan dish if you leave out the bacon.  Makes 4 servings using a 3-4 inch cabbage.

In a large saute pan, add:

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1/2 to 3/4 cup chopped uncooked bacon (whatever bacon your family likes works fine) — IF your bacon is very fatty, don’t use the olive oil

Cook until bacon is browned.  If you have more than a couple of tablespoons of fat in the pan, drain some off. Add to the pan:

  • 1 cup chopped onion

Cook until onion is softened.  Add:

  • 4-5 cups chopped cabbage
  • 1/4 cup vinegar (any vinegar works but if white is used, a little less vinegar would probably be good unless your family really loves the taste of vinegar)

Cover and braise 5-7 minutes until cabbage is softened, stir once or twice during cooking.

Add 1 diced apple or pear and cook another minute or two until fruit is soft (the apple may take a few minutes more than the pear).  Drizzle with 1 tablespoon of maple syrup.  Add salt and pepper to taste, stir well, and serve.

You can also add 1 tablespoon caraway seeds.