Winter time is cabbage time. If you like your cabbage raw and crunchy, this easy cabbage salad with caraway seeds is for you! This simple delicious salad needs only a few ingredients and little work to toss everything together for a light lunch or as a fresh side for your protein main. It’s a yummy change from your traditional coleslaw, for more variety in the cabbage season!
For me, eating cabbage raw is a bit of a change. When I grew up, cabbage was mostly cooked into verious stews or fermented into Sauerkraut. In China, it is stir-fried into a clean and delicious vegetable dish. But after we moved back to Germany, we joined a communal vegetable farm from where we receive fresh vegetable every week. It’s a great way to eat local and seasonal. And that means that we receive a lot of cabbage in the winter – white, green, pointed or red. So we are eating a lot of cabbage and try out new things with it all the time! Luckily, cabbage is back in fashion so there are lots of recipes and ideas around. For this salad, I combined and adapted a few recipes into what I feel is the best and yummiest combination of ingredients.
You have several options for what cabbage you use for this salad. White cabbage which is round and tightly packed, green cabbage (which is almost the same but greener), or pointed cabbage. Pointed cabbage has thin and tender yet crunchy leaves so I used it this time. If you can’t find it, use one of the other options. Find more on the various cabbages here on thekitchn.com!
As for apples, YEEES, I know they are not super low carb. But if you choose a variety low on suguar it is fine. Granny Smith has the lowest net carb content (mostly sugars) at around 11g per 100g apple serving. Alternatively, Boskoop, Fuji or Red Delicious apples still contain less sugar and fewer carbohydrates than sweeter varieties, at just under 15g of net carbs. More typical for apples would be 25g. We are lucky to have our own apples we harvested in September stored outside in our shed. All our trees are different, most carry old varieties which are not so sweet.
If you chop a small green apple into this salad, you will end up with no more than a few extra grams of carbs. Leave it out when on keto, but otherwise I think it is fine. Many recipes use dried apricots which are much sweeter!
One more thing: Apple skins contain polyphenols, a powerful antioxidant which is about five times more prevalent in the skins than in the flesh. That’s why I keep the skins on and you should, too. I actually also like it more.
Caraway seeds vs cumin 🧂
Then we have the caraway seeds. Do not confuse them with cumin seeds which look very similar. That may be tempting here in Germany, where Caraway seeds are known as ‘Kümmel’ while Cumin seeds is called ‘Kreuzkümmel.’ Oh well. No need to learn that. But, whatever language you speak, it is good to keep the two apart as they have a different flavour and come from different plants.
As Sunrita of blog Spice it Upp notes, caraway seeds have a a strong aromatic flavour, “something akin to liquorice and it’s more nutty and earthy” compared to the milder cumin. While cumin is essential to Indian and Middle Eastern cuisine, caraway seeds are more common in Northern and Eastern Europe. It’s actually one of the earliest spices known to be used in Northern European cooking and is now a common ingredient for rye breads, cabbage, root or bean soups – and this salad!
I love its nutty, aromatic flavour so much that I use both caraway seed powder and the whole seeds for this salad. First, work the powder into the salad together with the salt, and you will smell their amazing hearty scent. And then later I add the seeds together with parsley, apple pieces and dressing to have some more flavourful healthy bite.
If you cannot find caraway seeds, sub with fennel seeds. They, yet again, look a bit similar. And in taste, they are the closest to caraway seeds. Much closer than cumin.
Cut the cabbage into half or a quarter, depending on its size. Cabbage lasts long in a cool pantry, so you can make another salad or a cabbage stew in a few days. Cut out the chunk. You can keep it with some other veggie parts or leftovers for making vegetable broth (I always have a cotton bag full of veggie pieces in my fridge until I have enough to boil stock from it). Pointed cabbage has no chunk in the top so it is easy to use. Leaves are very tender.
Using a large knife, carefully shred the cabbage into fine stripes and cut them in half if too long.
Enter the shredded cabbage into a bowl. Add half a teaspoon of salt and the caraway seed powder. Knead the mix for a while with your clean hands in order to work salt and spice into your cabbage. That takes a few minutes, and you will feel the cabbage getting softer in your hands. Moreover, a strong delicious scent of the caraway will emanate from your bowl. Once you’re done, set aside for 15 minutes. The salt will continue to soften and slightly drain the cabbage.
Meanwhile, take the time to wash, rinse, and chop the parsley leaves. Cut open the apple, take out the core, and chop into quarters and then small slices.
Add apple slices, whole caraway seeds and parsley to the cabbage. Add oil and vinegar, and black pepper. Mix well to fully coat the cabbage with oil and vinegar. Set your salad aside for another 15 minutes before you enjoy it.
Serve your crunchy cabbage salad with my yummy keto crisps, or any home made low carb bread such as this delicious keto focaccia from blog gnom-gnom or a protein dish. For example, you can pair it with my oven-baked garlic shrimps. Enjoy!
Crunchy cabbage salad with caraway seeds! Try this quickly made delicious and healthy salad – ideal for your clean eating January!
More details about ingredients and how to make this recipe see above in my blog post.
Generously serving 2
400g/14oz cabbage leaves, shredded
1 small green apple, not too sweet
1/3 cup chopped parsley leaves
1 tsp caraway seeds powder (sub with whole seeds if unavailable)
1 tsp whole caraway seeds (sub with powder or whole fennel seeds if unavailable)
4 tbsp rapeseed oil
3 tbsp apple cider vinegar
1/2 tsp salt, and later more to taste
Black pepper from the mill, to taste
- Cut the cabbage into half or a quarter, depending on its size. Cut out the chunk. Shred the leaves into fine stripes and cut stripes in half if too long.
- Enter the shredded cabbage into a large bowl. Add salt and caraway seed powder and mix. Knead for a while with your clean hands to work salt and spice into your cabbage. That takes a few minutes, and you will feel the cabbage getting softer in your hands. Once you are done, set cabbage aside for 15 minutes so it can absorb salt and spice.
- Meanwhile, take the time to wash, rinse, and chop the parsley leaves. Cut open the apple, take out the core. Chop into quarters and then small slices.
- Add apple slices, whole caraway seeds and parsley to the cabbage and mix well.
- Then add oil, vinegar and stir up everything well to fully coat the cabbage. Set aside for another 15 minutes.
- Serve with keto crisps, low carb bread or a protein dish. Enjoy!
- Category: salads
- Method: chop and mix
- Cuisine: Northern European