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Salad Days* (#1): Cabbage (or Broccoli) Delight

[Ah, if only I were truly still enjoying my salad days . . . in reality, I am firmly ensconced smack-dab in the middle of my “main course” days.  But you can enjoy this salad at any age!]

Now that summer is undeniably underway in these parts (nothing spells “summer” quite like a week of temperatures soaring beyond 33C/92F),  heavy duty cooking and baking seem so. . . unnecessary.  I find myself yearning for more raw foods, more fresh foods, and fewer baked goods at the moment (though ice cream cravings do still “scream” rather loudly).

A heatwave such as we endured last week always takes me back to the first year the HH and I lived together, in a miniscule bungalow in the east end of town bordering Scarborough. Not the best neighborhood (there was a murder around the corner from our place, after which I never walked on that street again), the house was, nevertheless, the best we could afford at the time.

Our home was a post-war structure, so tiny it effectively impersonated one of those Fischer Price dollhouses (sans a live toddler, of course). The living room was replete with dusty rose Pier One loveseat and 27 year-old console television, with no room for much else; the bathroom was so narrow that you had to turn sideways to brush your teeth; and the master bedroom, located directly above the (uninsulated) front porch, was an icebox in winter and veritable kiln in summer.

Now, if you’ve ever been to Toronto in the summertime, you will likely remember one important characteristic about this city.  No, it’s not the CN tower (no longer the tallest freestanding structure in the world).  No, it’s not Toronto’s reputation as the most multicultural city in the world (even though it is).  Not the fact that, for a couple of wild nights in June, 2010, its denizens blushed as the city lost its unofficial title of “Most Polite Metropolis in North America.”  And not even that Jim Carrey, Mike Meyers, Alanis Morissette,  Eric McCormack, Howie Mandel and Rachel McAdams all hail from here, either.

[No air conditioning?  This salad will cool you down on those 30C days!]

Nope, the most prominent feature of summertime in Toronto is the all encompassing, overwhelming, whacks-you-in-the-face-the-instant-you-exit-the-air-conditioning, humidity.  And as it happened during that first summer in our shoebox abode, the city suffered one of its hottest seasons in decades. With no air conditioning in the house, we were forced to rely on that age-old standard, the electric fan.

Here’s the scene:  it’s 11:30 PM, and the temperature is still hovering around 30C (86F), 40C with the humidex. At the foot of the queen-sized futon (which on its own nearly fills the room) sits a dresser on which is perched two fans, one trained on me, one on the HH. In addition, a ceiling fan spins at high speed through the night, slightly off balance and wobbling like a magician’s spinning plate trick. To complete the fan club*, a free-standing fan is positioned on the floor off to the side so it sweeps across our bed every ten seconds or so.  We settle down for the night.

But we don’t sleep.  Even with our own little self-constructed Jet Stream, we endured a hellish, fitful seven hours, tossing and turning and perspiring so much that by morning our bed was practically transformed into a private indoor wading pool. (Okay, I exaggerate–but just a little.  The upside, I suppose, is that I lost 2 pounds that night).

Happily, our current rental home came equipped with A/C, and, despite any residual guilt about the environment or the increased costs in summer (further enhanced this year by the lovely HST), we are glad we can use it when the humidex reaches 43C (110F), as it did last week.  And The Girls appreciate it, too.

Yes, Mum, we do appreciate it. And since we have no sweat glands, it’s especially nice to be able to inhale that cool air from the vents and pant to lower our body temperatures. We like swimming, too–just don’t put us anywhere near that ‘pool’ you just mentioned. Gross!” 

This type of heat leads to lethargy; add to that my marking-induced stupor and I just haven’t felt like cooking.

Enter salads!

Since we’ve been eating salad almost exclusively throughout the past week, I thought I’d highlight a few of my very favorites over the next few days. To begin, today’s installment is a long-time standard from my friend and colleague Caroline Dupont’s cookbook.  Ever since I attended Caroline’s raw cooking classes back in nutrition school, I’ve loved this salad , a staple in our house over the warmer months.  I can’t believe I haven’t posted it before this!

The lively mélange of colorful, fresh and crispy vegetables and fruit marries beautifully with the slightly sweet and tart dressing.  Although I’m not a fan of fresh fennel, the ground fennel in this dressing adds just the perfect whisper of licorice to complement the juicy sweetness of the apples.  Every mouthful offers up a different parade of colors, flavors and textures to treat your palate to some first-class, sparkly raw gustatory entertainment (and a whole rainbow of antioxidants and healthy fats to boot). And it’s ready in around 10 minutes–without heat or any real physical exertion (except for the chewing–of which there will be quite a bit, I wager).

The original recipe calls for raisins (I included them in the photo, which was the HH’s serving), and feel free to use them if you’re not following an anti-candida diet (which would be, um, the other 99.9% of you out there?). For those of us restricted to candida-busting regimens, there’s an ACD-friendly variation following.

* Sorry. I had to.

Today’s Question: What’s your favorite cooling meal in summer?

* * * * * * * * * *

I’m also submitting this recipe to Amy’s Slightly Indulgent Tuesdays and Heather’s Raw Foods Thursdays. Go check out the other amazing submissions! I’ve also linked it to Heather’s Raw

Last Year at this Time: Lucky Comestible 5 (1): Fresh and Spicy Cilantro Sauce

Two Years Ago: Zucchini & Pineapple Mini Loaves (with hidden avocado!)–for ACD maintenance only.

© 2010 Diet, Dessert and Dogs


30 comments to Salad Days* (#1): Cabbage (or Broccoli) Delight

  • Courtney

    I don’t have AC and I can SO relate to not being able to sleep…you are just a big sweaty sticky mess and so uncomfortable. Ugh. It is in the 90s and oppressively humid–yuck!

    I am eating a big huge salad now as I read/type this…I eat salad for just about every meal in the summer, lol. So thank you for the recipe and inspiration! I will have to try it soon 🙂



  • That’s such a beautiful salad! I’ve noticed that if I have nuts in rotation, they don’t seem to bother me, so I might try adding them in about once a week. They make such a good addition to salads!


  • Love that picture! And I can always use a new salad dressing recipe – thanks Ricki. Did you go to Nutritional School in Toronto?


  • Courtney,
    Yes, I can certainly remember how uncomfortable it was! Try the fan trick 😉

    I do love nuts in salads, and the walnuts here seem to fit perfectly with all the other flavors.

    The dressing is really something special. Yes, I went to the Canadian School of Natural Nutrition in Richmond Hill. Loved every minute of it. 😀


  • When my boyfriend and I moved into our first apartment our AC was broken and we didn’t have a fan yet. It was about 103 degrees every day. It was brutal! Your salad looks pretty! I eat lots of raw fruits & veggies and salads during the summer too. Sometimes it’s just too hot to turn the stove on!


  • We just bought a fan to get through a particularly hot night. The weirdest thing to me is there are no screens on the windows in our (rented) house. (This is not unusual in Seattle.) We have a couple of portable screens that fit into certain windows, but the bedroom windows are narrow and open out so the screens don’t fit. The bedroom also has doors that open to a balcony and I’ve tried to sleep with them open, but I keep imagining bats flying in! 😀 Fortunately, it doesn’t seem to get too warm at night.

    When it really gets hot sometimes even salads are to much. Then it’s time to make popsicles!


  • Temperatures are the same over here. And no air conditioning unless I go to the grocery store. I think I could bake bread on a random car outside. I really like to eat salads these days but I’m almost out of ideas. So thank you so much for sharing!


  • I would love this salad in summer – looks like it would be even better for sitting for a while in the dressing! It is funny how long we can blog and still not blog all our favourite dishes.

    Sorry to hear how humid it is – humidity is the worst – going to darwin in the wet and dry season the temp is the same but the humidity differs remarkably and it makes such a difference! Glad the air con helps get you through – esp with your marking – you don’t want to hand assignments back fully of sweaty hand marks 🙂


  • Fave cooling meals are salads! But you know I love any post that’s dedicated to salad, Ricki. Yum!


  • We’ve been battling lots of heat here lately. I have a love/hate relationship with AC. Usually we try to sleep without it if the night air cools enough that I can have a fan pulling cool air through the house. We also have a ceiling fan, which is critical to our survival. As Mr. GFE always says, “I can’t sleep if I’m sweating” and it’s true for us, so some particularly brutal nights the AC does have to stay on for a while. Oh, and this salad is absolutely beautiful, Ricki!



  • Beautiful! I love salads, but especially when it’s hot outside. They don’t sap my energy like heavy foods after all that sun. 🙂


  • Nicole

    My day is not complete without a colourful salad! Thanks for the recipe. Also, your little bungalow in the east end of Toronto is just a few blocks from where I live now. It’s not the greatest neighbourhood – you’re right – but it’s practically the only affordable area in the city. I love my house, and thankfully it has central air.


  • Your salad looks great! I have been wanting some new salad recipes. I have kind of been in a salad rut so this is perfect 🙂


  • I think humidity (or lack there of) is the main reason I love living in desert / high desert climates!

    My husband (who as you know is from Canada), were going through the famous Canadians one day and realized that almost every major comedian is from Canada. Sense of humor up there much?


  • Cold crunchy salads like this are the perfect summer meal especially with the heat we’ve been getting here! Though I think it’s cooler here than where you are so I shouldn’t complain. I think cold fresh salads like this are my favourite summer meal.


  • Kip

    I only had fennel for the first time a few years ago. A huge fan of licorice, even I was a bit suspect of a vegetable that supposedly carried that same flavour. Alas, I love it, both cooked and raw, and will definitely have to give this salad a go.


  • the humidity is what gets to me, Ricki – i hear ya! sadface on no a/c in the hous; i’d not like to imagine living here in va without it, it’s just too sticky here and too often. ugh. i hope you’re getting cooler temps with less humidity – we are for just a few days. thank goodness!

    your cabbage delight looks awesome! walntus, cabbage, carrots, broccoli = mmmmmmmmmmm! my favorite cooling summertime yummies is a big plate of sliced cucumbers, carrots, radishes, and green peppers – a pile of fresh salsa and a few tortilla chips as tasty vehicles. i crave veggies like crazy in the summer, too. they’re the best!


  • Jes

    That salad is beyond beautiful–I think it’d cool me off just looking at it!


  • Katrin

    Hi Ricki! I’ve been meaning to tell you that I love your cookbook! I made the cashew date bread (fabulous!) and the fudgy brownies, which my boyfriend says are even better than my regular (non dairy but with wheat) brownies. They’re a keeper!


  • I can relate. I’m in Berlin and we’ve been dealing with a heatwave for the last few days. We’re in a small apartment and don’t have a fan, let alone any AC. For some crazy reason, we cooked a curry for dinner and sweated while eating it. I would have preferred the salad! Tomorrow night will be salad for dinner. It’s settled!


  • Kiersten,
    I agree–no stove for a few days. 😉

    I’d find the no-screens thing to be the weirdest, too. My sister visited Vancouver and said no one had any screens there, and the bees/wasps just kept coming in and out! I don’t think I’d last a day.

    If anyone could bake bread on a car, it’s you! 😉

    It actually is just as good on day 2! And re: marking, luckily the course is online–no handprints 😉

    Thanks! The dressing is so good it reminded me of one of yours. 🙂

    I’m with Mr. GFE on this one! Hence, the A/C 😉

    I find the same thing–I can feel satisfied yet not bogged down with salad.

    How cool that you’re in that neighborhood! Say “hi” to the corner of Main/Danforth for me 😉

    I find I get in a salad rut, too, so it was good to branch out a bit. 🙂

    I think I need to move to the desert, too. And yes, it’s pretty well documented that all the best comedians come from Canada 😉 When you’re stuck inside with all that snow, you’d better darn well develop a sense of humor!

    Summer does tend to make me want to eat more salads, too. This was definitely a favorite meal!

    It really is the humidity, not the heat, that gets you! I’m also craving more veggies these days–will have to give those radishes another try. 😉

    Thanks so much!

    Wow! Thanks so much! 😀 I am thrilled that you both like the recipes so far. Let me know if you try anything else!

    Well, they say that sweating cools you down, so maybe that’s why you wanted curry! Hope it’s cooler now. 🙂


  • This is a really nice, different and delicious sounding salad.
    I think my preference would be to make with cabbage. Your first apartment sounds really uncomfortable. Having spent years in Chicago, I know how ‘yuck’ the combination of heat and humidity can be. I hope the day is treating you well. Blessings…Mary


  • the salad dressing is perfect…I frequently do something similar, use mustard seed powder instead of the fennel and fresh OJ rather than ACV if i have oranges..but love raw salads with tons of raw veggies and dressing. That = summertime. (and wintertime for me too ) 🙂


  • So delicious! Just back from the cottage and there is not a chance my oven is going on anytime soon- this is the perfect (farm fresh) solution!


  • I like the idea of adding broccoli/cauliflower to the slaw. It looks delish by the way 🙂


  • i have so been contemplating by a second air conditioner for the kitchen… i’m usually sweating buckets in there when i dare to turn on anything 😉 my vitamix has been getting so much use!! this salad sounds awesome!!


  • Mary,
    Thanks so much! I like it best with a combo of green and red cabbage, and broccoli instead of the cauliflower. . . but it’s good any which way. 🙂

    I’ll have to try it with mustard powder–thanks! 🙂

    I hear ya 😉 Though I’m willing to use my oven for baking, for some strange reason!

    Thanks so much! The florets do add a little “je ne sais quoi” 😉

    What a great idea–a separate AC for the kitchen! Though I can’t even imagine the electricity bills. . . 😉


  • Wow! To think that your weather is just about the same as Taiwan’s! I would have never expected that in Canada…
    My favorite foods to eat/drink to cool off in this heat are currently cold noodles and watermelon juice. I drink at least three cups 12-16oz. cups of watermelon juice per now I think–it’s so refreshing! The cold noodles are usually made with sesame-peanut dressing with a pinch of julienned cucumber and carrot. Yum!


  • Just my style! You can bet I’ll be making this salad soon. 🙂


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