The Marriage of Broccoli to Purple Cabbage

My purple cabbage was calling to me from the nether regions of the back of the fridge. I thought of making a confetti slaw (which I love!), but also wanted to use the broccoli just harvested. I've tasted some scrumptious broccoli salads and some awful ones too... which is not helping me convince anyone to try more cruciferous vegetables.

But then there's that other little matter with eating raw cruciferous vegetables. Let's get real... eating them raw can often cause bloating and gas. Cooking them the way my grandmother did leaches away all their goodness. So what's a girl to do? Don my chef toque and my lab coat and set to work.

I bring you the best of both worlds!

Cruciferous vegetable are chock-full of vitamins, minerals and fiber. Purple varieties are high in phytochemicals that act as antioxidants once consumed. Research has been devoted to studying the ability of cruciferous vegetables to protect against and fight many cancers. You can read more about these studies from the National Cancer Institute.

So why are they problematic if consumed raw? It has to do with the carbohydrate chain (oligosaccharide) contained in cruciferous vegetables, called raffinose. Humans lack the enzyme required to break down raffinose, allowing them to pass into the large intestine intact. Undigested food that enters the large intestine undigested will begin to ferment. This is when gas, bloating and discomfort can begin. You can read more about this and Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) from Stephanie Clairmont, RD.

Cooking the vegetables makes them easier to digest. The object is to cook them very lightly for maximum nutrient retention.

I set out to create a dish that would be reminiscent of a slaw, but not produce the digestive discomfort. I took this a little further by creating a non-mayo tahini-based sauce. Here's how I did it.

Total Time: 30 minutes Prep time: 22 minutes Bake time: 8 minutes PRINT HERE

For 4 servings of not-quite-raw slaw, you will need:

Half of a small red cabbage (about 3 cups)

Half of a large head of broccoli cut into small, bite-size pieces (about 3 cups)

1 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil

1/2 tsp salt

1/4 tsp pepper or to taste

2 Tbsp Thai or Cinnamon basil, chiffonade (watch how to do it here) for garnish

1 slice of lime for garnish (optional)

2 Tbsp toasted sesame seeds, white or a combination of white and black

For the sauce, you will need:

1/4 cup tahini (sesame paste)

2 Tbsp lemon juice

2 Tbsp grated fresh ginger

2 Tbsp finely minced fresh garlic

zest from 2 limes

1/4 reduced sodium soy sauce

2 Tbsp apple cider vinegar or other sweet vinegar

1 Tbsp maple syrup

1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil

This will make a generous cup of sauce. You will not need this much for this dish, but the remainder makes an excellent dipping sauce or dressing for your next salad! Pre-heat oven to 475 degrees.

Give the cabbage a rough chop, making certain the pieces are uniformly thick. Wash and drain the broccoli, cut into small, bite-sized florets. Stalk pieces are fine too, or you can save them for another dish... don't toss them out!

Place the vegetables in a large bowl, drizzle with olive oil and the salt and pepper. Toss gently to coat. Spread the mixture evenly onto a parchment or foil lined sheet pan, single layer, no crowding! Bake for 8 minutes ONLY. You just want a brief application of high heat to slightly cook them, but maintain still-crisp texture and nutrients. Remove from oven and immediately transfer to another sheet pan, carefully spreading them out again. You want the vegetables to cool as rapidly as possible without steaming them. If you have room, pop your sheet pan in the refrigerator for 10-15 minutes.

While the vegetables are cooling, make the sauce. In a medium bowl, combine the tahini, lemon juice and vinegar. Whisk until smooth. Add the soy sauce, lime zest, garlic and ginger. Whisk to combine. While whisking, slowly drizzle in the olive oil until fully incorporated. Taste and adjust seasoning if needed. When ready to serve, remove the vegetables from the refrigerator, transfer to a bowl. Drizzle with about half (or less) of the sauce and the sesame seeds, gently toss to coat. Arrange on a serving platter or bowl, top with basil and a slice or two of lime. Enjoy!

Nutrition information is for 1.5 cups.

When you make this dish, be sure to take a photo and tag me #chefcatherinebrown. I love seeing what you make!

Disclosures: None. This post was not created in affiliation with any product or brand. The opinions expressed are my own. I will only write about products that I trust and use.

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