Over The Rainbow Cabbage Salad with Tahini-Lemon Dressing

by Angela (Oh She Glows) on December 14, 2011

Hello, beautiful.


I have a secret to share with you about food photography.

Don’t eat all the food before you photograph it!

I’ve been there before. It usually involves Holly nog smoothies and Chocolate Cake Batter Smoothies.

Want to know another secret?

Photograph an easy subject, like fruit and veggies.

They do all the work for you. Run water over them before shooting and they glisten for the camera. Easy!

Not so easy?

Try taking pictures of a black bean dip. Then help me fix mine. I may hurl.


But let’s talk about the actual food for a minute. Can you believe this is the first time I’ve made a recipe with a red cabbage?

I’m guessing I’m probably not alone.

What the heck do I make with it?


more soup?


Being the planning-challenged gal that I am, I put this huge cabbage in the shopping cart and let it take up valuable refrigerator real estate for 1.5 weeks. Every time we opened the fridge a clunky, purple bowling ball would roll out at us.

Eric finally said, “Are you doing something with that thing or should I throw it in the woods?”



It got so annoying, I just said, FINE I’LL EAT IT…and I hacked it up with a knife.


Only when you hack it up with a knife, it quadruples in volume.



Keeping my 12 Days of Healthy Dinner Recipes in mind, I decided to turn this cabbage into a hearty salad after coming across this recipe for inspiration. To make it a meal, I added quinoa, a complete protein, to go along with it.

I really did not think this was going to taste good…


But I’ve been wrong before and I’ll be wrong again.

To make this salad, start by slicing your cabbage in half, through the stem. Now slice each half in half again to make quarters. Then, make 1/2 inch slices and roughly chop it all up. It doesn’t need to be precise or perfect!

IMG_5518 IMG_5519

Want to know the secret to eating a “raw” cabbage salad? You pour boiling water over top of it to lightly soften it. Then run cold water over it immediately after.


Now thinly slice a red pepper into strips and cut strips in half.

IMG_5529 IMG_5530

Shave a carrot with a peeler and chop a few celery sticks:

IMG_5532 IMG_5535

This is when I started to get excited about this meal. It’s just so vibrant!


Oh, add some finely chopped fresh herbs for a nice flavour. I used parsley.


I kinda flip-flopped on the salad dressing.

At first, I was going to make a vinaigrette, but I thought a salad this hearty and dense needed a thicker dressing. So I turned to my favourite Lightened-Up tahini-lemon dressing, thinking that it could be the perfect match…


I’ve been right before and I’ll be right again. :)


I’m convinced you could pour this dressing on a piece of cardboard and it would taste good! I know many of you also love this dressing because you write me about it and then we talk about how we can’t help but drink it with a straw. Or something like that.

When I made it, I almost forgot to add the nutritional yeast and kept tasting it thinking something was majorly off…it was thinner than usual and a bit too lemon-y. Once I added the nutritional yeast it thickened up and tasted just how I remembered….finger-licking good. If you don’t have nutritional yeast but still want to make it, I would suggest using less lemon juice and maybe not adding the bit of water. But yea, use the nooch if you can.

I made a half batch, but now I’m already wishing I made the full batch…


Mix it all up, add on some toasted sesame seeds (or hemp seeds), and you have yourself a killer, nutrient-packed salad.



Over The Rainbow Cabbage Salad with Tahini-Lemon Dressing

Purple vegetables, such as this cabbage and others like eggplant and blueberries, contain anthocyanins. Anthocyanins are chemicals that protect body cells, decrease the spread of cancer cells, and more (source). Be sure to add some toasted sesame seeds (or hemp seeds would work) on top to compliment the salad nicely. I served it with fluffy garlic “buttery” quinoa, as a complete protein source.

Yield: 4 servings


  • About 6-7 cups of roughly chopped red/purple cabbage (I used 1/4 of a large cabbage)
  • 1 carrot, shaved with a peeler into 2-3 inch strips
  • 3 celery stalks, chopped
  • 1 red pepper, thinly sliced
  • 2 handfuls of fresh parsley, chopped finely (or use other herb)
  • Half a batch of Lightened Up Tahini-Lemon Dressing (or make the full batch and save for later)
  • 3-4 tbsp of toasted sesame seeds (or use hemp, sunflower, etc)
  • Salt & pepper, to taste ( I used Herbamare)


1. Preheat oven to 325F. Toast the seeds for about 8-10 minutes, watching closely. Remove and set aside.

2. Add several cups of water into a kettle and bring to a boil. Lightly rinse the cabbage and slice in half, through the stem. Slice each half, in half again and roughly chop. You’ll want about 6-7 cups.

3. Add chopped cabbage into a strainer in the sink and pour the boiling water over top. Quickly rinse with cold water. This helps soften the cabbage slightly. Roughly dry the cabbage with a hand towel.

4. In a large bowl, mix the chopped celery, pepper, cabbage, shaved carrot, and parsley.

5. Prepare the dressing by whisking all ingredients together in a medium sized bowl. The salad tastes best when the dressing is mixed just before serving, so I suggest you portion out how much salad you will be eating for the meal and then add on your desired amount of dressing & mix well. Wrap up any leftover salad and place in the fridge and do the same with the leftover dressing.

Note: I wasn’t sure if I would like this salad so I didn’t make a crazy amount, but next time I would probably double the salad (and make the original dressing amount) to use up more of the cabbage. I had about 3/4 of the cabbage leftover!


I served the salad with some “buttery” garlic quinoa. After cooking 1/2 cup of quinoa, I fluffed it with a fork, sprinkled on Herbamare and garlic powder, and then added a tablespoon or so of Earth Balance. It was to die for!


This meal made me feel so good…I was doing a happy dance in the kitchen. It was just the right mix of veggies, healthy fats, protein, and carbs to keep my energy buzzing along. Eric also really loved it too, even though he said he probably wouldn’t like it. I think we both surprised ourselves.

I must say, it feels great to get back into the healthy meals after a bit of a hiatus. I sometimes forget just how good I feel when I eat this way.


Now, the question is…what the heck do I do with the leftover cabbage? I barely made a dent in it!

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{ 35 comments… read them below or add one }

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Sarah December 18, 2011 at 5:09 pm

I might try adding ginger and chili paste next time to give it more of an Asian flair. I like this salad because I know it will stay fresh for a few days in the fridge.


Lacey December 20, 2011 at 4:28 pm

I’m sure you already used up the cabbage, but one of my all time favorites is to simmer the cabbage in beer for about 45 minutes. Add whatever other seasonings float your boat to amp of the flavor – cayenne, onion, agave/maple syrup, garlic, salt, etc. Nice hearty side dish or sauerkraut replacement. :-)


Dominika, veggie gardener December 23, 2011 at 4:24 am

I’m sure that the salad tastes fine, but you show its beauty and this is cool. Vegetables have this habit of lurking in the fridge till you crack and start to experiment. We still have the pumpkin from auntie’s garden. Guess I’ll follow your example and photograph the hacking part.
Thanks for the inspiration :)


Melissa December 28, 2011 at 8:48 am

This salad has been on my Must-Make list for weeks now. I made it last night, and it was the perfect relief from the carb-laden meals we’ve been eating over the holidays! I hadn’t tried the dressing yet, and it was absolutely delicious! A new favourite. Thanks!


Angela (Oh She Glows) December 29, 2011 at 9:20 am

Glad to hear that Melissa!


dianapantz January 7, 2012 at 10:28 pm

i am not a cabbage fan but we got a *HUGE* cabbage in our winter csa box.
we made this tonight [without the celery] and it was really delish.
nice work ;)


Angela (Oh She Glows) January 8, 2012 at 8:33 am

Glad to hear that Diana!


Danielle June 2, 2012 at 2:54 pm

this was my first make of the #saladaday challenge, love it! i’ve never had red cabbage and was pleasantly surprised to find it sold in quarters at my supermarket :) and you’re right, that lemon tahini dressing would make a shoe delicious!


Trine June 3, 2012 at 5:40 am

This recipe looks great!! Another great way to prep cabbage for salads is to rub salt into it after you´ve chopped it up. Put the chopped up cabbage in a bowl, add two tablespoons of salt and start almost kneading the cabbage and really work the salt into it. Be quite rough. After a few minutes the cabbage will get sort of wet because the salt and the kneading breaks some of the water molecules in the cabbage (makes it easier to eat but will still be crunchy). Then rinse the salt of by adding water and draining the cabbage. Then it´s ready to use in salads or to be dressed by itself. I think the little extra time used is well worth it, the cabbage tastes great afterwards.


Angela (Oh She Glows) June 4, 2012 at 8:04 am

Great tip, thanks!


Tammy Smith June 4, 2012 at 8:38 am

I made this salad on Saturday and not only do I love the wonderful rainbow colors of the salad, but it was delicious as well! I also LOVE the tahini-lemon dressing! Love your recipes and I love your website!


Angela (Oh She Glows) June 4, 2012 at 3:13 pm

glad to hear that Tammy! Enjoy


Miachel July 16, 2012 at 1:38 pm

Haha, I know how you feel about trying to use up cabbage! I just made some slaw with it, and still have a whole bunch left. Wow.

Thanks for the sweet recipe! I love your site.


Abby July 26, 2012 at 9:45 pm

I absolutely loved this salad! My boyfriend and I made it together today. We followed it exactly, except we added charred summer corn, avocado slices, watercress, cilantro and sriracha as well. It was so delicious and filling. We are now left with the feeling that we’ve done something good for ourselves. Thanks for sharing!


Brigitte August 11, 2012 at 11:53 pm

I made this cabbage tonight and it was ridiculously good!!! Thanks for sharing. It is like a cabbage tabouli.


Katherine November 24, 2012 at 6:16 pm

Ok. I have a confession. I just ate a bowl of shredded cabbage with this yummy dressing. WOW! If I had cardboard I would test your theory. I chopped the cabbage in my Vitamix. And made the dressing with it too. I think my biggest mistake was licking the spatula. Once I digest this cabbage, I will finish making the salad for dinner. Your recipes always impress me. Yumsers!


AJ January 11, 2013 at 10:39 pm

yum. especially pretty & yummy with black sesame seeds!


Caroline January 14, 2013 at 5:34 pm

Thank you for this. I think the tahini dressing will be my saviour from now on. I tried to stick to the color scale, but I used regular white cabbage, and replaced the purple color from the cabbage with purple/red onions. And the green came from les haricots verts. I think I’m just trying to say, that I’m a big fan of the tahini dressing !



Karen March 3, 2013 at 9:19 am

I was looking for something different and healthy to serve my two teenagers. We are big fans of anything tahina, and make our own tahina dipping sauce regularly (the middle eastern version used to as a dip for pita is thicker). So, I gave this recipe a go. I was able to find a small head of cabbage so I used the whole thing. This salad, combined with our thicker tahina sauce, was a huge hit. My daughter even packed some up and took it with her for her lunch. Great recipe! Thank you. It is now a regular item on our lunch/dinner menu. In fact, I am making more now.


Angela (Oh She Glows) March 3, 2013 at 5:52 pm

I’m so happy to hear that Karen!


erudition April 25, 2013 at 2:00 am

Hey! I know this is somewhat off topic but I was wondering
if you knew where I could get a captcha plugin for my comment form?

I’m using the same blog platform as yours and I’m having problems finding one?
Thanks a lot!


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Jess May 20, 2013 at 11:10 pm

Cabbage wraps. Smear the inside with hommus, fill with veggies, beans, lettuce and sprouts, fold over or roll and start munching. So good..


Val June 14, 2013 at 8:09 am

Made this for dinner last night exactly as is. Huge hit and every single person had seconds. It’s a keeper!


terra June 21, 2013 at 12:14 pm

OH MY GOODNESS! I have been looking for 15 minutes for the pot luck recipe I wanted to use, and this pretty well sums up what I needed! I am heading to a potluck wedding were nearly everything will be meat! *sigh* It will be nice to be able to eat the rainbow with this amazing recipe. I am excited to see how well it turns out! (And may just eat some tonight to!!)


Kym August 30, 2013 at 1:17 pm

I LOVE purple cabbage and look forward to trying it. Last time I made it, I mixed it with red pepper, tomato, and onion and put some salt and a bit of balsamic vinegar mixed with water and lemon juice on it. Set it in he fridge and ate it and hour later. This recipe is just down my alley. :)


Sarah December 28, 2013 at 9:47 pm

Just made this tonight and it was heavenly. I’ve never made homemade dressing and WOW. Never going back to store bought again.
Great way to use a cabbage and am going to use the other half using the comments here. Very happy and excited :)


Adrienne McGhie June 2, 2014 at 11:19 am

Made a big batch this week for lunch – simple, tasty, and really satisfying! A keeper for sure. Absolutely LOVE the tahini dressing too


SJ Cory July 9, 2014 at 3:07 pm

I had to use Dinosaur Kale in place of the green cabbage just because I forgot I didn’t have any. This was very delicious. Thanks!


Heidi September 17, 2014 at 2:39 pm

My husband came home from work and asked what was for dinner; I said, “quinoa and salad”. He said, “that’s all?!?” After eating a few bites of this, he had to admit it was really good. He apologized for giving me a hard time earlier! I have been craving the dressing ever since I first tasted it. So delicious! Thank you, thank you for all you do for all of us!


maz September 23, 2014 at 3:39 pm

Oh God. I’ve just had a kitkat for supper, while reading these gorgeous recipies! Feeling very inferiour now…. must try harder… !


Anne July 31, 2016 at 2:27 pm

I needed to use a red cabbage from the CSA and was lucky enough to find this jewel of a recipe. The only thing I’ll do differently next time is double the amount of quinoa and dressing! Also I’ll try cilantro instead of parsley. I ate this for lunch and dinner two days in a row and was sad when it was gone. If that tells you anything.
Thank you, Angela!


Angela Liddon August 2, 2016 at 11:44 am

I’m so glad you found this recipe, Anne! (And am even happier it was a hit!)


Juliana DelMonte December 3, 2016 at 3:08 pm

Make saurkraut. Mash it up with your hands and a healthy couple of spoons of sea salt until enough natural juices come out to cover it’s own bulk of flesh (when packed down). Then stow it in a large jar or two, (be sure to mash it down inside the jar till the juices cover the top) and simply wait a few days until the kraut tastes not just salty but sour and salty to your tastes, then pop it in the fridge, and enjoy!


Lonnie Facchina March 11, 2017 at 9:34 pm

I made this tonight (sans parsley as I was out) and it was so delicious! I made quinoa and wild rice and mixed them together in my bowl with the slaw and they were all really tasty together. Thanks Angela, as always!


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