Gingery, Lemony & Roasted Sesame Cabbage Salad


About 15 years ago, my friend Shenaaz introduced me to this cabbage salad recipe and its been on my life menu ever since. I love food that is simple, easy, healthy and flavorful! Every bite has a blend of tangy, slightly spicy, and roasted goodness that adds a nice warmth to the cold energy of cabbage. Growing up, a cabbage salad of a different sort was on the daily menu. My mom loved it and so did I. The crunch, crunch is so satisfying and the perfect complement to a simple meal like, daal chawal (lentil soup & rice). When Shenaaz made the non-ginger version of this salad for me, I was really happy to have another delicious variation of cabbage salad to choose from. Being a ginger lover,  I added grated ginger to the dressing as a digestive aide to prevent the common side effects that are associate with cabbage—you know what I am referring to right?! And for the record, the ginger has served me well. To mix it up every once in a while, I have added steamed chicken, carrots, scallions and toasted almonds, replaced it for lettuce in a sandwich, but most of the time, I enjoy it as is—delicious and nutritious.

Dosha: KPV*
Time to Make: 20-25 mins
Serves: 4- 8
You Need: a sharp knife

  • 8 cups of sliced green cabbage* (about 1 medium cabbage)
  • 1 1/2 tsp  fine sea salt
  • 1/2 cup chopped cilantro (including the stems)
  • 2 T freshly grated ginger
  • 2 T lemon or lime juice
  • 2 T of roasted sesame oil
  • 1-2 T of sesame or peanut oil (optional)*
  • 1 T of sesame seeds

 Step 1: Slice up your cabbage. I don’t really have a system but I like to cut it in half and then quarter it. Sometimes I even split the quarter in half. I cut it at different angles to get a variety of texture, but  keep the slices short so its easy to eat.  You want thin slices, but not as thin as it would be if you used a mandolin.  When I get to the courser parts, I try to cut it as thin as I can, as its better for digestion, but sometimes I just save those pieces for a stock.

Add the 8 cups of cabbage to a large bowl and toss with salt. Set aside and let the salt soften or cure the cabbage. This takes about 10 minutes or so.

Step 2: In the meantime, combine the lemon juice and oil(s) and then add the grated ginger. Set aside

Step 3: Chop up the cilantro including the stems (its got amazing flavor) and toss it with the salad. If the cabbage has started to soften and perhaps it has released a bit of water, add your dressing and toss. If not, give it a few more minutes, it usually takes about 10 mins.

Step 4: Heat a small frying pan on medium heat and add sesame seeds (while pan is cold). Slowly stir with a wooden spoon. You will see the sesame seeds start to release oil and then get toasty. When they have reached a rich brown (a bit darker then golden), remove from heat and add to the salad. You should hear a sizzle—click here for the video .

Toss & serve. This salad keeps well for up to 3 days. My recommendation is to always serve it at room temperature—be kind to your digestive fire.

Tastes: Sweet, Salty, Sour, Pungent, Astringent, Bitter
Cabbage is:

  • astringent in taste
  • cooling in energy
  • pungent in its post-digestive effect
  • its qualities are dry and rough
  • pitta and kapha pacifying (increases vata if eaten raw and without oil)
  • like all vegetables extremely nutritious, eat more veggies

*using a non-roasted oil along with the roasted sesame oil will help balance out the dryness of cabbage and help those with vata dominant doshas or imbalances such as: constipation, dryness, bloating. Roasted sesame oil is not moisturizing, but very flavorful and aromatic.

*I prefer using green cabbage to purple in recipes where the cabbage is cured as green cabbage is easier on your digestion. 

Disclaimer: The views expressed in this article intend to highlight alternative studies and induce conversation. The information is not intended for use in the medical advice, diagnosis, treatment, cure or prevention of any disease, even if and to the extent that this article features the advice of physicians and medical practitioners. please consult a trained health professional who can fully assess your needs and address them effectively. Check with your doctor before taking herbs or using essential oils when pregnant or nursing.


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