Looking for something fresh and crunchy to satisfy your craving for crunch in a healthier way?
Look no further than my lentil salad with crunchy red cabbage.Jump to Recipe
It’s got sweetness from the lentils and maple syrup, a refreshing mild bitter flavor from the cabbage, carrots, and kohlrabi, sour taste from the balsamic vinegar, pungency from black pepper and optional fresh garlic, as well as salt.
How to enjoy
I envision this salad as a topping for lettuce greens. This would make for a nutritious salad that could serve as a light meal.
I’ve also suggested optional toppings of roasted almonds, feta cheese, and/or hard-boiled egg to add additional protein if desired.
Combining two salads together is something I love doing. For example, having potato salad or pasta salad on a bed of lettuce greens.
Of course, this salad would also be a wonderful side dish to create a complete meal. It contains raw elements, crunchy texture, and protein from the lentils.
I think this cabbage salad would be great paired with complex carbohydrates, such as roasted sweet potatoes, yams, potatoes, beets, carrots, etc.
You could also enjoy it with a little brown basmati rice or wild rice if you have strong hunger.
Another option would be to have some kind of grilled flatbread with it.
However you choose to enjoy this red cabbage and lentil salad, your taste buds are sure to be happy.
Overall, this dish is more of a cleansing choice. It is going to be best for individuals with strong digestion (Pitta), or those struggling with heaviness (Kapha).
Airy and light Vata type people will want to balance out this dish with cooked complex carbohydrates, such as yams or sweet potatoes and add extra fats.
People with low thyroid concerns can consider cooking the red cabbage and kholrabi slightly to mitigate their thyroid lowering effect.
RED CABBAGE: Cabbage is very cooling and anti-inflammatory. It is anti-estrogenic and can have the effect of lowering thyroid function. Cooking cabbage cancels the thyroid effect.
KOHLRABI: A member of the brassica family, kohlrabi is a round, dense vegetable with a bland, yet refreshing taste. It’s very crunchy, with similar medicinal effects as the cabbage. I love kohlrabi on salads for that crunch factor.
Both red cabbage and kohlrabi are balancing for Kapha and Pitta dosha, and potentially imbalancing for Vata.
CARROT: Carrots are a blood and liver tonic, due to their mild cleansing action. At the same time, they are exceptionally easy to digest. They pacify Vata and Pitta, and mildly imbalance Kapha. What’s not to love?
BLACK LENTILS: All lentils and beans are high in fiber and protein, low in fat, and a fantastic source of protein for a vegetarian meal.
Their astringent taste gives legumes a drying effect in the body, which makes them a little difficult to digest for some people.
Proper cooking and the use of digestive spices will remedy digestive concerns for most people.
Dressing for cabbage salad
This cabbage salad is tasty due to the balsamic vinegar, maple syrup and olive oil. Salt, black pepper and a bit of red chili complete the exciting flavor profile.
I just love the bittersweet taste of maple syrup combined with the crunchy cruciferous vegetables and carrots.
The balsamic vinegar dressing lifts up the earthy taste of the black lentils, and the maple syrup adds digestibility.
If this weren’t enough, I accidentally discovered that a creamy sauce with fresh garlic and lime also tastes amazing with this salad.
That’s why I’m including it as an optional second creamy dressing that takes only 5 minutes to make.
You can drizzle this creamy goodness on top of your salad, as well as any additional cooked vegetables you choose to have with it.
To make the creamy dressing, simply combine ½ cup of yogurt or sour cream with ½ fresh lime and a clove of garlic.
I promise you that either way you choose to have this salad - you will not be disappointed.
Recipe for Crunchy Red Cabbage & Lentil Salad
Helpful Kitchen Tools:
for the lentils
- ½ cup black lentils (beluga), cooked
- 1 bay leaf
for the crunch factor
- 2 cups red cabbage, finely chopped
- 1 cup kohlrabi, radish, or celery, finely chopped
- 1 cup carrot, grated
for the dressing
- 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
- ½ tablespoon maple syrup or honey
- ½ tablespoon olive oil
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- pinch red chili (optional)
for the OPTIONAL creamy sauce
- plain yogurt or sour cream (½ cup)
- lime, freshly squeezed (½ lime)
- garlic, grated (1 clove)
for the OPTIONAL toppings
- eggs, hard-boiled
- feta cheese
- almonds, roasted and chopped
Cook the lentils
- Rinse black lentils in cold water then add to a small saucepan with 1 cup water and a bay leaf. Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer, cover, and set a timer for 25 minutes. Check to make sure the lentils are not running out of water, and they are soft, then turn off the heat and let stand until needed. Remove the bay leaf. (You can use the lentils warm or room temperature for this recipe.)
Prep the vegetables
- Finely chop red cabbage, and the kohlrabi, radish or celery. (Kohlrabi needs to be peeled first.) Grate the carrot. (I grate the carrot to make it easier to chew, since raw carrot is very hard.) Place all the prepared vegetables in a medium mixing bowl, then add the cooked lentils.
Make the dressing
- Combine the ingredients for the dressing in a small bowl.
Finish the salad
- Pour dressing over the salad and mix well. Taste, and make any final adjustments to the flavor by adding more salt, maple syrup or balsamic.
- For a light meal on its own, serve with optional toppings, or on top of a bed of lettuce with chopped tomatoes and cucumbers.
- For a complete meal, enjoy with cooked root vegetables and/or flatbread and top with the optional creamy sauce.
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