When I made my Lechon Asado the other day, of course, I made Cubano Sandwiches with the leftovers. I love love love Cubanos! I wasn’t feeling the usual suspects, fries or chips as a side. No, I wanted something bright, fresh and summery. So why not Cuban Cabbage Salad?
Once my mind hit on the idea, I couldn’t get my mind off all those classic Cuban flavors of citrus and garlic and how good they would be melded with the cabbage and carrots in a Cuban Cabbage Salad.
About Cuban Cabbage Salad:
This is not your Mama’s Cole Slaw, that’s for sure. First of all, just for easy prep and for looks, I went a bit chunkier with the cabbage and made ribbons of the carrots, then drenched it all with that fun, bright dressing. The flavor is a little intense, maybe even a touch sour with all the citrus and vinegar (add a little more sugar if you’d like) and absolutely refreshing on a hot day.
I based that dressing of a classic Cuban marinade, Mojo Criollo, which is basically the same marinade found in my Lechon Asado, Cuban Pork Roast. While I specifically made this dressing for the Cuban Cabbage Slaw, it would be great over a sturdy lettuce like an iceberg (yes, iceberg still has a place!) or romaine or as a dressing for marinated peppers, fresh or roasted.
I added a few banana peppers (about the closest thing we can get tastewise to a Cubanelle pepper up here in Minneapolis) to my leftovers and I was in heaven! I didn’t think of it when I first made the Cuban Cabbage Slaw so I didn’t happen to have any fresh or jarred in the cupboard, but if you like a little heat, add them in.
Making Cuban Cabbage Salad:
Cuban Cabbage Salad is delish as is but play with the ingredients if you’d like. Why not toss in thinly sliced bell peppers, maybe a little Vidalia or other sweet onion? If you’re adding any onion to a cabbage salad, and you think there might be leftovers, you might just want to add it to the portion you’ll be eating. Onion gets much stronger in the Cabbage Salad if it’s stored.
A good vinegar-based Cabbage Salad like this just gets better over time. Make it about an hour ahead if you can, but know that a day or two in the fridge won’t phase the sturdy veggies and as it all marinates in there, the flavors just get better and better.
Sour or Seville oranges are probably best, but that’s another ingredient you won’t find hanging out in many groceries where I live. The substitute of an orange, lemon, and a lime works great! When I reached for the vinegar, I just happened to choose Red Wine because I was looking for something strong to play up the flavor. That’s why the dressing is pink. I was momentarily a little dismayed at the pink at first, but now I kinda like it! Try a clear white vinegar or white wine vinegar if you’d rather. The pink color doesn’t show up in the salad.
Saving Money on Cuban Cabbage Salad:
Cabbage, Carrots, Oranges, Lemons, and Limes are really some of the most basic, common vegetables and fruits you can find just about anywhere in the States. They’re all so good for you, especially the cabbages, and all so inexpensive, so why not serve them often? Just keep playing up the flavors in different ways and get creative and you won’t get bored.
Shop Aldi, if you have one nearby, they really do have great prices on their veggies. I don’t know if I’ve actually seen a sale on cabbage and carrots in years, except around St. Patrick’s day, but be mindful of the cabbage and whether it’s sold by the head or the pound. If it’s by the head get the largest one you can. Cabbage stores well, and even if the head develops a little greying around the edges, it’s harmless. Just cut it off, cleaning your knife between cuts.
Citrus does go on sale, so pick it up at a low. Most citrus keeps well for a couple of weeks, maybe a little longer. I tend to zest a lot of citruses even if I’m not using it in the recipe I’m making. I either dry it using this quick microwave method or add it to my little bag in the freezer so it’s handy for another recipe where I need zest. Heck, sometimes if a recipe calls for citrus and I don’t have any, I just use the zest. I toss it in dressings and icings and baked goods.Print
Cuban Cabbage Salad
A big, bright and bold cabbage salad with a citrusy garlic dressing.
- Total Time: 30 minutes + chill time
- Yield: 6 to 8 1x
- Category: Salads
- Cuisine: Cuban
- 2 sour oranges, juiced or substitute the juice of a lemon, lime, and 1 orange
- 1/4 cup red wine vinegar or any white vinegar
- 2 to 3 medium cloves of garlic, minced or pressed
- 1 teaspoon sugar or more to taste
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon oregano
- 1/4 tsp ground black pepper
- equal amount of olive oil to citrus, about 1/3 to 1/2 cup
- optional, a teaspoon or two of chopped cilantro or parsley
- 1/4 head of a large or 1/2 head small purple cabbage, sliced 1/4 to 1/2″ thick
- 1/4 head of a large or 1/2 head small green cabbage, sliced 1/4 to 1/2″ thick
- 2 to 3 carrots, peeled and shaved into ribbons with a peeler
- 1 to 3 Cubano or banana peppers, cut into rings, optional
Place all ingredients except for cilantro or parsley in a jar or blender and mix. Taste and adjust seasonings. This dressing is bright and sharp, you may wish to add more sugar. Set aside.
Place all the ingredients in a large bowl. Drizzle with dressing (you may have a bit leftover dressing) and serve. Best if it sits for about an hour.
Keywords: Cabbage, cabbage slaw, carrots, Cuban, Lemon, Lime, Orange, Salad Dressings, Slaw, Vinegar