Salad of the Month: Carrot and Cabbage with Poppy Seed Dressing

The crunchy texture of sliced red cabbage, paired with the sweet flavor of roasted carrots and lots of chopped parsley, makes a pretty great salad. But when these ingredients are tossed with a flavorful creamy dressing, this simple salad is taken to another level.

The dressing gets its creamy consistency from raw cashew butter -- the neutral flavor is perfect in dressings as it helps carry flavor without overpowering it. (The cashew butter can be easily replaced with tahini for the same consistency and a pronounced sesame flavor.) The bright, tangy flavor of the dressing comes from good-quality, unpasteurized apple cider vinegar -- it's worth seeking out to use in any salad dressing, and it's especially helpful to have around when you're out of lemons. I also add white balsamic vinegar to this dressing as it gives a subtle, sweet flavor without changing the color the way dark balsamic vinegar would.

I think it's nice to present this salad un-tossed and then toss it at the table. If you want to make a meal out of it, try adding sautéed tofu, cut into long strips, or a cup of cooked and drained chickpeas. The salad also stands up well after being dressed, making it perfect for serving large groups or adding to a buffet.

Roasted Carrot and Red Cabbage Salad with Creamy Poppy Seed Dressing

Serves 4
For the  roasted carrots:
4 medium carrots, cut in matchsticks
1 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
Pinch sea salt
For the poppy seed flax dressing:
1 clove garlic, crushed
1 tablespoon raw cashew butter
1 tablespoon unpasteurized apple cider vinegar
2 teaspoons white balsamic vinegar
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
3 tablespoons flax oil
1 tablespoon minced shallot
1 tablespoon poppy seeds, divided
For the salad:
3 cups finely sliced red cabbage, from about ½ a medium cabbage
1 cup roughly chopped flat leaf parsley

1. Roast the carrots: Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper and add the carrots. Drizzle with olive oil and a pinch of salt, toss to combine and spread out evenly over tray. Roast for 20 minutes or until browning in parts. Remove from oven and set aside to cool.

2. Make the dressing: Warm a small skillet over medium heat, add poppy seeds and toast for 30 seconds or until fragrant, remove from heat and place in a bowl to cool. In another small bowl combine garlic, cashew butter and vinegars; mix well to combine. Add olive and flax oil and stir until smooth. Stir in shallot and 1 teaspoon of the poppy seeds and set aside.

3. Make the salad: In a medium salad bowl add the cabbage, parsley and roasted carrots. Drizzle with dressing and toss to combine. Sprinkle with remaining poppy seeds and serve.

Amy Chaplin is a chef and recipe developer in New York City. Her cookbook At Home in the Whole Food Kitchen will be available fall 2014. She blogs at Coconut & Quinoa.

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