Alix’s Cabbage Salad

This recipe comes to us from long-time CSA member Alix Schwartz who also calls this salad "Salt, Crunch, Acid, Heat, (with apologies to Samin)"
Alix says: 
I make a version of this salad pretty much every day for lunch. All amounts below are approximate, to result in a salad for one person who eats a LOT of salad. You can come up with endless riffs on this salad, depending on what’s in season, but do not sacrifice the key qualities of salt, crunch, acid, heat and sweet, in whatever form. You want the flavors to explode in your mouth.


¼ green cabbage or 5-6 leaves of Napa cabbage, shredded
½ lemon
Pinch of salt
½ apple (or other fruit—you need sweetness and ideally some crunch), chopped
½ avocado (optional), chopped
1 small or ½ large carrot, peeled and julienned
Any other vegetables you have on hand, like snap peas, tomatoes, green beans . . .
½ Thai red chile, very finely minced (can substitute other chiles, or a squirt of hot sauce, like Sriracha)
A handful of torn-up cilantro leaves
1-2 T salted roasted peanuts
A drizzle of good-quality fish sauce, such as Red Boat (vegetarians can substitute soy sauce or salt)
A half drizzle of vegetable oil, unless your protein topping (see below) includes fat


Place the shredded cabbage in a large bowl, squeeze the lemon half over it, put in a pinch of salt, then massage the cabbage for at least 30 seconds to tenderize it. If you use Napa cabbage skip the massage.

Add all the other ingredients and toss them in.

Taste for seasoning and add more lemon or fish sauce if needed.

I usually top the salad with some form of protein, such as salad shrimp, prawns, shredded chicken, pan-fried or oven-roasted marinated tofu, mushroom omelet, salmon . . . whatever you like.

Note #1: if your nose does not run when you eat this salad, you are doing something wrong. Try adding more of the Thai chile next time. I keep a jar of them in my freezer so I always have this ingredient on hand.

Note #2: A sweet ingredient is key. If you don’t have apple (or pluot, or Asian pear, for instance) try a little drizzle of honey or agave.