Iris Clark Neumann: Cabbage and hearty fall salads

Cabbage is the focus of this salad. It also makes good sauerkraut.

This cranberry vinaigrette makes a sweet and tangy dressing for salads.

A cranberry and walnut cabbage salad makes for a colorful meal.
By : 
Iris Clark Neumann
Food for the Neighborhood

Although I declared about a month ago that gardening season was over. It wasn't quite done. I hadn't harvested my last Brussels sprouts or all the cabbages.

The process of winter prep for herbs in pots was still in progress — some moving inside, some overwintering outside.

I could still walk out and harvest some herbs from my front yard garden and snip off a few kale leaves for soups or salads.

During the initial stages of freezing fall temps, one can still harvest cabbage, kale, or Brussels sprouts or dig carrots, still in the ground.

Today, we woke up to snow in Eyota. During the last hurrah day of fall yesterday, I bagged most of the maple leaves from my front yard Norway maple. Then, I carried some of the last not carved pumpkins inside, so I can dry their seeds when I have time.

After my toes got icy cold, I came back indoors to continue working on my cabbage project. Each summer, we seem to have one crop that out-produces everything else. This was the year of the cabbage.

Although I'm not a big sauerkraut fan, I'm finding more ways of using the pints I've canned. I tried my best to use up the oldest green cabbage in the garage fridge by shredding 12 pounds and filling two more gallon sized jars of fermenting salted cabbage.

This is my third round of sauerkraut making this year. There's still a few green cabbage left in the fridge that can be used in salads or soups.

Plus, there's a bunch of red cabbages, so I'm searching for a relish recipe I can preserve in jars. I want something that will taste good as a topping on a layered supper bowl (one using a cooked grain base like rice, with layers of cooked vegetables and meat, topped with something flavorful).

My Ball Blue Book of preserving has one that sounds perfect, but I should pick up some ground mace spice when I'm in town today. Oh, I checked, I still have some, but it must be 30 years old, so getting a fresh supply may be a good idea.

For many years, I've prepared a standard cabbage salad that includes dried cranberries and walnuts. I found it long ago in a church cookbook and I've brought it to many, many potluck dinners.

But I didn't have a copy of it when we were up north last weekend. When going to the cabin, I pack a lot of produce I haven't had time to turn into edible food. Cabbage had come, along with carrots, potatoes, Brussels sprouts, and the last few broccoli we'd harvested.

I wanted to make my standard salad using green and red cabbage, but didn't have a copy of my recipe there. Wondering if I'd shared it in a column, I looked back through my column files on my laptop, where I found a cranberry salad dressing, shared in 2016.

Deciding this would work, and having a cup of frozen cranberries in my fridge freezer, I whirled a batch of it in the blender, after making a quick trip to Stone Lake to get more canola oil.

Using shredded red and green cabbage, I poured a portion of the dressing on it and stirred in some dried cranberries. The rest of the dressing came back home and I started using it on hearty winter salads consisting of mixed greens sprinkled with vegetables and feta cheese.

My inspiration for the salad was one I ate at the Angry Minnow in Hayward, Wisconsin. Like them, I topped the salad with some thinly sliced winter squash, which was pan fried first.

The Angry Minnow is my husband's favorite place to eat. Not only is the food wonderfully healthy, they brew a big variety of beers he can choose from.

Although there's snow on the kale, I know I can still go out and harvest a bit more to add depth to my mixed salad greens, which also have extra crunch from thinly sliced red cabbage.

The cranberry dressing gets a second go-around, just in case readers would like a second chance to try it. And I'll add my old stand-by cabbage salad, along with some ideas for hearty winter salads.

I found my homemade sauerkraut works well as a topping for fall or winter salads.


Cranberry Vinaigrette

1 cup fresh or frozen cranberries

½ cup apple cider vinegar

¾ cup sugar

¼ teaspoon dry mustard

1 ½ teaspoons salt

1 clove garlic, minced

1 ½ cup vegetable oil

Place cranberries in a blender with cider vinegar, puree. Add the next four ingredients, blend. Then add the oil and blend well. This makes about 3 cups.

Use over a green salad with blue cheese or feta crumbles and sweetened dried cranberries. It also pairs well with shredded cabbage (add a few dried cranberries, chopped cilantro and/or red onion, if desired).

It can be a marinade for boneless chicken breasts. Use ½ to 1 cup for 4 chicken breasts, flatten breasts, marinade half an hour or longer, then grill approximately 5 minutes per side. They can also be braised in oil in a fry pan indoors. Drizzle with a little fresh vinaigrette when serving.


Cranberry & Walnut Cabbage Salad

1/3 cup cider vinegar

1/3 cup olive or vegetable oil

1/3 cup sugar

1 teaspoon celery seed

2 cups shredded or finely sliced red cabbage

2 cups shredded or finely sliced green cabbage

1 cup coarsely chopped walnuts

1 cup dried cranberries

¼ cup thinly sliced red onion

Mix dressing of vinegar, oil, sugar, and celery seed in a liquid measuring cup. In a large bowl, combine cabbages, walnuts, cranberries, and red onion. Add dressing and toss thoroughly. Cover and refrigerate about 3 hours before serving. Slaw will keep about 5 days, covered and refrigerated.


Hearty Fall Salad

Mixed salad greens

Finely sliced red cabbage

A few leaves of kale, torn or chopped

Thin slices of peeled winter squash, 1½ inch-long pieces, about ½ cup per salad

Sweet onion, sliced

Red or green pepper, thinly sliced

Sauerkraut, about 2 tablespoons per salad

Sliced mushrooms

Optional: Roasted vegetables like carrots, Brussels sprouts, or cauliflower

Feta cheese crumbles

Dried sunflower or pepita seeds

Cranberry Vinaigrette Salad Dressing or other prepared dressing

Prepare individual salads on plates or large soup bowls. While assembling salad ingredients, pan fry the winter squash by heating a tablespoon of olive oil in a small non-stick fry pan. Season squash with salt, pepper, and chili powder. Lightly brown on each side.

Layer torn salad greens with bits of shredded red cabbage and torn kale greens on plates. Add layers of squash slices, onion, peppers, sauerkraut, sliced mushrooms, and roasted vegetables, if desired. Sprinkle with cheese crumbles and seeds. Pour dressing over salad and serve.