When you think of comfort food, hot and savory dishes likely pop into your mind—mashed potatoes, fried chicken, grilled cheese, tomato soup. So this recipe might not make your top 10 list of comfort foods, but it’s way up there on mine. Why? Because of the memories invoked from the ingredients.
Everything here is a memory from my parents. My father (the late Bottom Line founder Martin Edelston) loved cabbage, and was always concocting some kind of throw-it-all-in cabbage soup from whatever he found in the refrigerator…loved caraway seeds, sprinkling them over his cottage cheese and relishing it in his beloved seeded corn rye bread, leaving nary a seed on the plate…loved tomatoes—and my mom, who continues to grow tomatoes every summer, inspired my love of gardening…loved soup chicken almost as much as the delicious chicken soup my mother would make (I make it the exact way she taught me, but her soup is still better than mine!). I can’t eat any of these foods without thinking of my parents and fun times from meals past.
It was a perfect storm of ingredients when I created this salad. Cabbage is plentiful in the store…my garden is only now winding down—I’ve had a continuous crop of beautiful grape and cherry tomatoes since July (so much tastier than store-bought)…and, well, soup chicken is simply the best for salads, although any kind of precooked chicken will work here.
Guests are often surprised by the flavor since few people use caraway in their own cooking…especially gratifying when they take seconds.
This recipe is a perfect lunch. There’s enough here for two servings, but it is easily expanded.
Ingredients (measurements are approximate—adjust to taste):
- 1 cup thinly sliced green cabbage
- 1 cup thinly sliced red cabbage
- 2 rounded Tbsp. mayonnaise (or vegan mayo, which I use)
- 2 tsp. caraway seeds
- 2 tsp. onion powder
- 2 cup cooked chicken, cut into bites
- 10-20 small (grape and/or cherry) tomatoes, cut into halves and/or quarters, or two medium-sized tomatoes cut into bite-sized pieces.
- Combine cabbages, mayonnaise, caraway seeds and onion powder and mix to evenly distribute the mayo and spices.
- Add in the chicken and tomatoes and gently mix again—careful not to shred the chicken or crush the tomatoes. (You could combine all ingredients in one step, but I find it easier as a two-step.)
- Cabbage and caraway seeds are the real base of this salad—I’ve served it without chicken as a “caraway cole slaw” numerous times along with whatever other vegetable I might have handy for added color and texture—sliced red peppers, grated carrots, grated broccoli stalks, etc.
- If you like the taste of caraway but don’t like eating seeds, grind them in a coffee grinder and add as a powder.
- If you’re not a tomato fan, you may need a bit more mayo or some mustard for moisture.
- I usually let guests add salt and/or pepper to taste since so many people avoid added salt or don’t like the spiciness of black pepper.
- Make this a warm salad by sautéing the ingredients (you can use olive oil instead of mayo). A particular bonus, since some of the nutrients in cabbage are more available when raw and some when cooked.