Easy Red Cabbage, Orange and Cilantro Chopped Salad

by Maria Theresa Maggi on July 12, 2016

chopped salad with red cabbage, orange and cilantro up close

Back when I was a smart-ass teenager, I triumphantly told my mother one day that parents most often spoke in 3 word imperative sentences: clean your room, watch your mouth, don’t be late, ask your father, set the table, do your homework, and so on. She was a good sport, and she thought that was pretty funny. But the truth is, she often had other colorful ways of using language to get our attention. One of her favorites was, “Well, if it was a snake, it would bite you!” This exclamation was applied to her or to us when the obvious was sitting right under one of our noses and we missed it.

I could call this easy salad an “if it was a snake” recipe because while I wondered what I was going to write about next for the last week or so (sometime while eating lunch), it suddenly occurred to me as I was staring down at yet another bowl of it I was about to tuck into that I’d invented and eaten this salad nearly every day for the past few weeks.

I’ve always been a big fan of red cabbage.  In fact it’s one of the first vegetables my son Mike would eat when he was a small boy. Perhaps this was due to the fact that we used to get veggie burritos at a place called Mother’s Market in Costa Mesa, California, as a treat after a busy day of teaching for me. At  Mother’s the fed a lot of hungry surfers. so they stuffed their rather healthy burritos, wrapped in whole wheat tortillas, with homemade refried beans, cheese, shredded red cabbage, and carrots.  So for all of Mike’s growing up years and beyond, thanks to Mother’s, there has usually been some of red cabbage in my vegetable crisper to add to our own homemade burritos. It keeps a long time, and my co-op here in Portland will cut a large one in half for me. (In fact they have a sign in the produce department that proudly proclaims “we cut cabbages in half.”) It goes into stir fries, salads, burritos, tacos–you name it, usually alongside other veggies. But in this salad it’s the foundation and the star. The orange pieces, peel and all, give it a sweet-tart dimension and the cilantro rounds everything out, both with color taste, texture and good green nutrients. The dressing is a snap and can be made in the bottom of the bowl you are going to eat the salad in. As usual, I don’t measure, so these are approximations for coating the ingredients. Adjust to your liking.


As per my usual slapdash approach to  food posts, I did no photo prep for this recipe. Instead I took a shot of the salad after taking the first bite and suddenly realizing it was worth sharing on the blog. The little specks all over the sides of the bowl occurred because it’s also the bowl I mixed it in. I had to laugh that the surface of my desk, which is an old art tabletop I’ve had for decades passed on from the friend of an old friend, looks like the distressed wood surfaces so fashionable on food blogs where the bloggers really do have the class to spend time setting up their photos in a thoughtful manner. It’s not a picnic table, but it sure has seen a lot of art made, blog posts typed and plant-based bowls consumed on it. It’s one of my favorite surfaces in the whole wide world.

When it comes to recognizing a good salad, turns out it’s best to just go ahead and let that old snake bite. Red cabbage has a particularly impressive nutritional profile, which you can read about on World’s Healthiest Foods. While it wasn’t on the list of things my mother uttered in 3 word imperatives,  it’s still worth exclaiming about this 3 ingredient wonder: red cabbage rocks!

Maria (moonwatcher)

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{ 8 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Veronica July 13, 2016 at 5:05 pm

I love cabbage! This does indeed look like a quick, easy, and tasty dish – maybe served with some grilled mushrooms or something… I really like the addition of the orange, too! I can see why you’ve been eating this one often – seems like a great summer salad.
Oh- and is there really such a thing as a teenager who *isn’t* a smartass? 😉


2 Maria Theresa Maggi July 14, 2016 at 11:09 am

Now that’s what I like to hear, Veronica! An unequivocable, 3 word imperative statement about loving cabbage! 🙂 Thanks! I like the idea of serving this with grilled mushrooms. Yum. And here’s to ubiquitous teenage smartass-ism. (I just made that up.) xo


3 Lee July 14, 2016 at 7:37 am

Hi Maria, I love this recipe! Like you, I’m also finally learning that some of the best recipes for sharing are the ones we don’t really consider recipes because they’re so darned easy we just make them all the time. Case in point: My 42-calorie almond milk hot chocolate, which I drink every day and hardly feels like a recipe because it’s so easy, is by FAR my most popular recipe of all time. Who knew?

Also, I love the “3 word imperative sentences” observation. Funny because it’s true! 😀

Oh, and of course, your red cabbage recipe looks fantastic! I’ll be trying it asap, although probably with the green cabbage I got at the farmer’s market last week. (I swear it was like 10 pounds–I feel like it could last me through September, lol!)


4 Maria Theresa Maggi July 14, 2016 at 11:10 am

Thanks Lee! Yes, the best ones are often right under our noses, aren’t they. And yes, this will work fine with the green cabbage you have on hand. Glad you got a laugh out of those 3 word imperatives, too! 🙂 xoxo


5 Donna Betts July 14, 2016 at 3:36 pm

Hi Just FYI — your website is setting off a warning from our
virus protection service — saying that they (Mcaffee) have
blocked certain content. All of your blog was fine so I assume it is coming from one of your advertisers — which I hate the advertising but realize out of necessity you probably need to do that.
All of the websites of late do not seem to operate properly.
Still, love your food sensibilities and the great recipes. Wishing you well — I’m a big fan.


6 Maria Theresa Maggi July 14, 2016 at 9:53 pm

Wow, Donna, thanks for letting me know. FatFree Vegan is my host, so I’ll let Susan know. I’ll copy your message and make sure she gets it. We’ll see what we can do. Thank you so much for your kind words about the blog and for alerting us to this warning.


7 Gena July 19, 2016 at 11:23 am

Isn’t it funny how oftentimes the last recipes one thinks to share on a blog are the ones that have been staring at us all along–sometimes directly from our lunch plates? I often chuckle at how long it takes for my quotidien favorites to end up on the blog (because I’ve been so busy scheming up ideas, rather than thinking to post what I’ve been eating/enjoying).

I’m so glad that this recipe did find its way to your blog, Maria, because it looks just awesome. I’m a huge fan of red cabbage, too — I love the crunch, the cruciferous bitterness and bite, the color. And that generous nutrient profile (along with the fact that it’s usually inexpensive and easy to find) is a nice added bonus. I love the idea of pairing red cabbage with citrus, and I imagine that this salad will carry nicely into winter, when orange and red cabbage will be fresh no matter how many other things are out of season!

Can’t wait to try these flavors. Thanks for sharing a beloved lunch meal with us 🙂



8 Maria Theresa Maggi July 19, 2016 at 9:39 pm

Thanks, Gena! And yes! It IS funny how we miss those things while trying “hard” to drum up something “new”! Makes me laugh too. I’m so glad to hear you, too, are a big fan of red cabbage. And yes, one of the great things about this is that these are staples in the store nearly the year round–good, solid produce staples without prices through the roof. I hope you enjoy the flavor combo. 🙂


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