With Memorial Day on the way, we felt inspired to upgrade our side salads in preparation for cookouts with new ingredients like Napa cabbage and fennel. (As much as we love mixed greens and a simple vinaigrette, sometimes it’s good to mix it up.) We tossed in carrots and peppery radishes for even more crunch and paired it all with a homemade ginger-orange dressing.
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- 3 cups Napa cabbage, finely sliced or shredded
- 1 cup fennel, finely sliced
- 1 Cara Cara, navel, or blood orange, segmented
- 1 carrot, thinly sliced
- 1 watermelon radish, thinly sliced
- 1/3 cup unsalted peanuts, roasted
- Fennel fronds, finely chopped
- 1 tablespoon sesame seeds (optional)
Ginger Orange Sesame Dressing
- 1/4 cup orange juice
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 4 teaspoons sesame oil
- 2 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon vinegar
- 1 teaspoon grated fresh ginger
- 2 teaspoons brown sugar
- 1 teaspoon or Zest of one orange
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- Freshly ground black pepper
- For the salad: combine cabbage, fennel, orange, radish, carrots and peanuts. Toss.
- For the dressing: whisk together oil, orange juice, vinegar, ginger, sugar, zest. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Pour over the salad and mix thoroughly. Serve immediately. You will have some dressing leftover to use for another day. Store in the refrigerator in a jar with a lid.
Is Napa a lettuce or a cabbage?
Napa has the coloring of cabbage but is shaped like Romaine lettuce. So, which is it? This vegetable belongs to the cabbage family but is a little different from the large cabbages you may be familiar with. Regular cabbage has a dense texture that softens when you cook it, but Napa cabbage has tender leaves more similar to lettuce. Napa cabbage is a favorite in many Asian recipes and even goes by the name Chinese cabbage in some stores. This tender cabbage tastes delicious in salads with its slightly sweet and mild taste. If you have some leftover Napa cabbage, it is a great addition to stir-frys. It is also excellent when added to dumpling filling or a crisp Asian-style salad. With the light color of this lettuce, it looks beautiful when prepared along with brightly colored vegetables like a watermelon radish. Although Napa isn’t technically a lettuce, it is a very versatile vegetable that you need to add to your produce repertoire.