Warm Cabbage & Apple Salad

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Alex and I have been talking a lot about food lately - how we want our family to eat and ways that we can encourage our kids to make healthy choices and have a positive mindset about food. Out of all developed countries, American children probably eat the worst and have the most basic palate. Their favorite foods are either sweet or salty. Those are the only foods we're accustomed to eating anymore, so we've lost the appreciation for bitter, mild, and complex flavors. I truly believe that what you eat as a child will carry into your adult life and affect your food choices for the rest of your life. My mom tried to keep plenty of fruits and veggies in the house, rarely bought soda, chips, or candy, and cooked from scratch more often than she cooked from a box or took us out to a restaurant. While I didn't appreciate it when I was younger and may have eaten Hamburger Helper way too often in college just because I could, I eventually came right back around to eating this way without even realizing it. This recipe is one that my mom made a lot throughout my childhood and is a taste that I've grown accustomed to, but most people may not like. Luckily, it only took one bite for my husband to be converted from 'that's weird,' to asking for it regularly. This has become a staple meal for us, and one that we always look forward to. If you try this out, be sure to let me know how it went!

Warm Cabbage & Apple Salad

  • 1 pound Sausage
  • 1 head of Cabbage, cut into 1" squares
  • 1 medium Apple, cut into even squares
  • 1/2 cup of Apple Cider Vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon Dried Basil
  • 1 teaspoon Dried Parsley
  • 1 teaspoon Dried Oregano
  • 1 tablespoon Brown Sugar
  • Salt & Pepper, to taste
  • Olive Oil

The first step is to cook your sausage. There are no pictures of this because I assume you all know how to unwrap a roll of sausage and throw it in a pan. While the sausage is cooking, prepare the cabbage by peeling the first few layers off, then cutting it into 1" square pieces. Try to keep the pieces as uniform in size as possible, otherwise you'll end up with some crunchy pieces and some soggy.

Put the cabbage into a large nonstick skillet like so, pour olive oil over it all, and toss to coat. I'm not entirely sure how much olive oil I use. If I had to estimate, I would say 1/8 cup. Allow it to cook on medium-high heat for 10-15 minutes, until the cabbage has reached your desired texture.

While the cabbage is cooking, wash the apple and chop it into evenly sized pieces. I used a Gala apple, but have also used Red Delicious and Golden Delicious. I usually shoot for 1/2 - 3/4 inch squares. When your sausage and cabbage are done, pour them both into a large mixing bowl. Using the same skillet used to cook the sausage, turn the heat on high and throw your apples into the pan. You aren't trying to cook the apples, just warm them and maybe brown them a little. Continually move them around in the pan, so that one side doesn't become more tender than the others, for just a minute or so. These are really what highlight this dish, so you want to be sure you don't overcook them. They should still be slightly crunchy in the center.

When the apples are warm, add them to the mixing bowl with the cabbage and sausage. Add your spices, brown sugar, and apple cider vinegar, mix thoroughly, then do a taste test. This is one of those recipes that each family will like a different way. After this, I usually end up adding another 1/4 cup of vinegar, a dash of salt, and a lot of black pepper. Like I said, just taste it and add whatever you think it needs - more vinegar, more brown sugar, etc. Once you feel like you've gotten it just right, spoon it into some bowls, and enjoy!

*Serves 2-3; if you want to stretch it out to 4, serve with bread and butter or something similarly filling.



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