In the winter months when I’m craving salad I make slaw. Usually with red and white cabbages, always in plentiful supply in the cooler weather, and whatever other fresh produce is available at the markets. Usually carrots, celery, fennel, beetroot, capsicum, radish, snowpeas and spring onion. If it’s fresh and crunchy and is capable of being julienned or shredded it’s likely it will find its way into a big beautiful bowl of slaw. Always dressed, by personal preference with a light tangy vinaigrette rather than a heavier mayonnaise.
On my kitchen bench at the moment? A big bowl of crisp and crunchy, slightly sour granny smith apples. Gorgeous as they come and easily transformed into a breakfast compote or dessert crumble. Or perhaps paired with fennel and celery in a very simple but incredibly refreshing slaw. A lemon mustard vinaigrette not only adds bags of flavour but cleverly prevents the apples and fennel from discolouring. Being winter, adding a scattering of toasted pecans to my salad provides yet another dimension of flavour and texture.
Using my trusty Japanese mandolin I prepared my slaw in mere minutes as a light fast day lunch to tide me over to a more substantial dinner later in the evening. At just 130 calories per serve it served its purpose wonderfully. Delicious, crunchy and refreshing. Clean eating at its very best.
Looking over the recipe below I will admit most of the calories do come from the vinaigrette – but used judiciously its the most important element that ties everything together, elevating the slaw into something interesting that I want to eat. As regular readers of this blog know, in my world I will sacrifice calorie count for flavour every single time. It’s quality over quantity with my preference always skewed, if necessary, towards a smaller serve of a beautifully presented plate of food.
Apple, Fennel And Celery Slaw With A Lemon Mustard Vinaigrette
Makes about 4 cups (130 calories per cup serve)
4 medium celery stalks (24 calories)
1 baby fennel bulb (100g) (30 calories)
2 small green Granny Smith apples (110 calories)
2 long green spring onions (scallions) finely sliced (20 calories)
4 tablespoons flat leaf Italian parsley, finely sliced (4 calories)
3 tablespoons lemon mustard vinaigrette (recipe follows) (244 calories)
2 tablespoons pecans (90 calories)
LIGHTLY toast pecans in a dry heavy based pan over a medium flame. Cool completely, then chop coarsely. Set aside
PEEL celery and slice into matchsticks, using either a sharp knife or the julienne blade on a mandolin.
PEEL and quarter the fennel bulb. Discard the core and slice into matchsticks using either a sharp knife or the julienne blade on a mandolin.
JULIENNE whole unpeeled apples to the core into using a mandolin. Alternatively core and quarter the apples before slicing into matchsticks with a sharp knife.
PLACE julienned apples, fennel and celery into a large bowl. Add finely sliced green spring onions and parsley.
TOSS immediately with 3 tablespoons lemon mustard vinaigrette until well combined. The salad should be lightly dressed and will prevent the salad from discolouring and turning brown.
TRANSFER salad to a platter and scatter over coarsely chopped pecans. Serve.
Lemon Mustard Vinaigrette
Makes 6 tablespoons (81 calories per serve)
4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil (480 calories)
2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice (6 calories)
1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard (2 calories)
1/4 teaspoon sea salt flakes
COMBINE all ingredients in a small jar with a tight fitting lid. Shake vigorously for 30 seconds until emulsified. Season to taste with a little more salt