Monday, June 20, 2011

Potluck Slaw - Asian Style

Raman Noodle Cabbage salad has been a favorite recipe at potlucks for years, however, if you read the ingredients label on a package of Raman noodles – you easily can see how this is not a healthful food choice. Today’s recipe is a much healthier alternative. It is one sent to me by one of the docs whose newsletters I subscribe to, however, I swapped out and added a few ingredients to make it, in my opinion, a bit better.
Cabbage is most beneficial when eaten raw, providing vitamin C and indoles, which are important cancer fighting compounds. Rice vinegar is both more mild and sweet compared to white, or healthful balsamic (which is the vinegar I almost always prefer to use).

Asian Coleslaw
1 medium head green cabbage
1 medium head red cabbage
3 large carrots, grated
¼ c. minced scallions or chopped chives
1/4 c. roasted, unsalted sunflower seeds
1-2 tablespoons toasted sesame seeds
*3 T sea salt

*Note: if you prefer soft slaw to crunchy, layer shredded cabbage in a bowl with the sea salt and allow to sit for an hour. Rinse well (may need several rinses to taste).

2/3 c. unseasoned rice vinegar
1 t. tamari (do not use soy sauce)
1/8 c. agave nectar (offers lower glycemic index vs. sugars and honey)
1.5 T sesame seed oil
Blend dressing ingredients with a wire whisk in a separate bowl or 2 c. measuring cup, toss with slaw just prior to serving for crunch coleslaw.

I am a big fan of Omega 3 rich organic extra virgin olive oil, and we use it almost exclusively in our home. However, sesame seed oil, an Omega 6, really provides Asian flavor to this slaw. It is important to know that from a health standpoint, our western diet typically has a ratio of 6 omega 6 oils to 3, when a properly balanced diet would have a ratio of one Omega 6 to four of Omega 3! As you can see, our diets are quite excessive in Omega 6 fats, primarily because everything that comes out of a can, box or bag is processed with Omega 6 oils, such as canola, sunflower, peanut, etc. A few symptoms related to excess Omega 6 include high blood pressure and water retention.
As long as you eat from around the OUTSIDE of the grocery store (fresh or frozen – not including frozen, processed dinners, desserts, pizzas, etc. – read labels on your frozen vegetables – seriously!!) you can greatly control the amount of Omega 6 consumed. It’s also important to know that you should buy Omega 6 oils, such as sesame oil, grapeseed oil and other popular specialty oils, in small bottles, as they oxidize quickly and free radicals form. Keep this in mind if you need to purchase sesame seed oil for this recipe – buy in a small bottle and keep refrigerated after opening.
Enjoy Asian Cabbage Slaw and make it a new summer potluck favorite! I know from experience that those who wish to eat healthy appreciate several healthy choices on the potluck table!

To your health!
Rita S

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