It’s CSA season! Time to pull into that farmer’s market, head held high, proudly accept your box of gorgeous local groceries, tweet pictures of it to your friends to induce produce envy…
…and then wonder what in the world you are going to do with it all.
It’s easy to know what you are going to do with the strawberries (eat them before you get home) and the broccoli (steam it and drizzle it with browned butter, yummmmmm) but every basket has its pooper, and that would be cabbage.
Cabbage doesn’t smell great and it really doesn’t even sound great, but it’s so amazingly good for you that we must find ways to love it. The most obvious way to love it is to douse it in peanut dressing because that’s the most obvious way to love anything!
You could use any kind of cabbage in this salad, but Napa cabbage is so pretty and has a nice, rippled texture that lets it hold dressing way better than its other smooth-leaved cabbage counterparts. More peanut dressing per bite = better. Always.
Speaking of dressing, let’s talk about it. Although I became addicted to authentic peanut sauce last year, this dressing here is made with good, old-fashioned American Jif. And I like it that way. It’s silky, tangy, just a little bit sweet, and thick enough to coat every leaf. Seriously, you can want no more out of life. And the fact that you’re not simmering chopped peanuts in coconut milk, the way it’s really done for reals, means you can make this on a Thursday night or any night you would much rather spend catching up on your trashy DVR contents than making peanut sauce from scratchety-scratch.
Salads are way fun until they have a million ingredients that need their own intense prep work, at which time they go from fun to royal pain in the a$$. This salad keeps it fun with just cabbage + scallions + cilantro. Top it with rotisserie chicken (or leftover roasted chicken from some amazing recipe like, oh, this one), some roasted peanuts, and you are so golden. If you have hidden some CSA radishes at the bottom of your produce drawer, hoping they would disappear, but find that they are, in fact, still there when you are making this salad, throw them in. That happened to my brother’s dentist’s cousin’s friend. Not me. I swear.
Because this is my site and I will plug if I want to, I want to give a huge shout out to Mountain Meadows Farm, CSA to the stars, aka the Food Hound. They consistently have amazing produce, and let’s be honest, the fact that they stand there and listen to me talk about the ways I am going to use my weekly spoils when they have a mob scene of customers trying to buy as many quarts of their perfect strawberries as possible, makes me feel special. I like to eat amazing produce and feel special.
Maybe this post will inspire you to participate in your own CSA. Maybe it will inspire you to support your local economy by shopping at farmer’s markets. Maybe it will inspire you to not hide radishes in the bottom of your produce drawer. But it should definitely inspire you to make this salad.
- 1 head Napa cabbage, shredded
- 1 bunch scallions, thinly sliced
- ½ cup fresh cilantro leaves, chopped
- 3 c chopped cooked chicken
- ½ cup rice vinegar
- 4 teaspoons soy sauce
- 3 tablespoons smooth peanut butter
- 2 tablespoons sesame oil
- 2 tablespoons sugar
- ½ tsp freshly ground black pepper
- ½ cup canola oil
- 1 cup roasted peanuts
- Toss the cabbage with the scallions, cilantro and chicken.
- In a small mixing bowl, whisk the vinegar, soy sauce, peanut butter, sesame oil, sugar and pepper together. Slowly whisk in the canola oil until dressing is emulsified.
- Toss the dressing with the cabbage mixture. Stir in the roasted peanuts just before serving.