Polish Cabbage Salad with Green Sauce

You'll be seeing green with this vivid cabbage salad.
You’ll be seeing green with this vivid cabbage salad.

Whenever I read news stories of late about tech bros going to questionable lengths to try to live seemingly forever, I just roll my eyes.

Who wants the lifespan of Dracula?

Me? I’d be happy to have the longevity of a head of cabbage.

Seriously, the stuff lasts for an inordinate amount of time in your crisper drawer with little intervention needed. I mean, yes, its exterior leaves may wilt and discolor a bit over time. But peel those off, and the rest of it is as good as new. It’s like how we humans use a loofah brush to uncover smooth skin as fresh as a baby’s.

Because of its great longevity, cabbage is so handy to keep in the fridge. Because you just never know when you might need an extra side dish, salad or soup ingredient on the spur of the moment — and lo and behold, handy-dandy cabbage to fill that void.

That’s why one day, while I was leafing through the new cookbook, “Polish’d” (The Experiment, 2023), of which I received a review copy, I was so glad to have already have a Savoy cabbage on hand when I spied “Cabbage Salad with Green Sauce, Olives, and Bryndza Cheese.”

This cookbook is by Michal Korkosz, a food journalist based in Warsaw and creator of the award-winning blog, Rozkoszny (which means “delightful”).

In it, he presents 100 modern vegetarian recipes with a global Polish perspective, including “Creamy Lentil Soup with Beet Greens, Crispy Chickpeas, and Dill,” “Roasted Cauliflower with Chanterelle Sauce, Rye Croutons, and Chives,” “White Bean Fritters with Romesco Sauce,” and “Zero-Waste Bajaderki” (Truffle Rum Balls that can be made with any leftover, dried out or nearly stale baked good).

For this cabbage salad, Korkosz likes to use young spring cabbage for its more open leaves. I think Savoy worked really well because it’s more tender than green cabbage.

The sheep milk cheese, Bryndza, made in parts of East-Central Europe, gets sprinkled over the top of the salad. Korkosz says you can use crumbled feta instead, since that’s easier to find, which is what I did.

The salad also incorporates green olives. Lucky for me, I also happened to have on hand a sample of Wildfare Green Olives Stuffed with Orange.

Wildfare Green Olives Stuffed with Orange.
Wildfare Green Olives Stuffed with Orange.

The large green Domat olives from Turkey are plump and meaty, and are stuffed with orange peel that adds a nice rounded citrus taste.

They’re available for about $4.50 for a 10.05-ounce jar at Raley’s and Nob Hill Foods.

Crush or slice the olives or leave them whole. Then, toss them in a large bowl with the chopped cabbage, and sliced cucumber. Then, in a food processor or blender, blitz together parsley, lemon juice, lemon zest, garlic, shallot, Pecorino Romano, and hazelnuts. Toss the cabbage mixture with this green sauce, and shower on crumbled feta.

It's not called green sauce for nothing.
It’s not called green sauce for nothing.

The sauce is indeed vivid green, plus thick and creamy. It’s like a tight pesto in texture with a garlicky, herbaly, nutty, and salty taste that pumps up the mildness of the cabbage and cucumber. The olives and feta add another layer of brininess plus more textural contrast.

Cubed avocado would be a fabulous addition, too, if you wanted just a little more embellishment.

Here’s to cabbage: Live long and prosper.

A perfect salad for winter or spring.
A perfect salad for winter or spring.

Cabbage Salad with Green Sauce, Olives and Bryndza Cheese (Or Feta)

(Serves 4)

For green sauce:

1 1/2 cups fresh parsley (about 1 big bunch)

Juice and zest of 1 lemon

1/4 cup olive oil

2 garlic cloves, peeled

1 small shallot, peeled

1/4 cup finely grated Pecorino Romano, Szafir, or Dziugas cheese

1/3 cup hazelnuts

1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt

For cabbage salad:

1 medium sweetheart cabbage or other young spring cabbage, chopped

1 Persian cucumber, thinly sliced

1 cup green olives, pitted and crushed

1/2 cup crumbled bryndza or feta cheese

To make the green sauce, place the parsley, lemon juice and zest, oil, garlic, shallot, Pecorino Romano, hazelnuts, and salt in a blender or food processor. Blend until smooth. Season with more salt, if needed.

To make the salad, in a large bowl, toss the cabbage, cucumber, olives, and the green sauce until fully combined. You can chill it in the refrigerator or serve immediately; it’s delicious both ways. Serve with the bryndza cheese strewn over the top.

Tip: Before adding the cheese, you can store the salad for up to 3 days in the refrigerator.

From “Polish’d” by Michal Korkosz

Another Cabbage Salad to Enjoy: Grilled Cabbage Coleslaw

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