Quinoa and Red Cabbage Salad


One of the consequences of signing up for a CSA box when cooking for one is that occasionally, you get a large portion of something and wonder “how on earth am I going to eat all of that?” This time, the culprit was an enormous head of red cabbage. During fall and winter, and even early spring, I sauté it with bacon and apples and call it a day (see this post). Cooking it down results in a less overwhelming amount of cabbage, and it’s delicious. But, although my friends on the East Coast are still dealing with intermittent snow flurries, spring/summer has definitely arrived on the central coast, and I was craving a cold, vegetable-heavy salad. So, I turned to one of my favorite blogs and found this recipe. And boy, did it deliver. Nothing quite like digging into an enormous serving of a healthy, tasty, nutrient-packed meal. 

I made a few tweaks, but the recipe below is a pretty faithful rendition of the Big Girl’s Small Kitchen recipe. Head on over to their site and check out some of the other amazing recipes they have posted!

Local Ingredients: red cabbage (CSA), carrots (CSA), ginger (Farmer’s)


1 cup dried quinoa

1 head red cabbage

15 small-medium carrots

1 medium piece ginger

4 tbsp soy sauce

8 tbsp rice vinegar

6 tbsp almond oil (the original recipe called for sesame oil, which I didn’t have. If you do, feel free to use that instead)

1/2 tbsp marash chile flakes (or another spicy chile)

6 tbsp sugar

1 cup roasted peanuts (if you have the time and energy to toast them in the oven first, go ahead! They’ll be much more flavorful)


Rinse quinoa, then cook in 1 cup water until tender, adding more water if needed during the cooking process. Remove from heat, fluff, let sit (covered). 

Remove the tough core from the cabbage, then slice cabbage and carrots into thin pieces. If you have a mandolin, I recommend using it for the carrots; the cabbage is best shredded with a large knife. 


Peel and chop ginger (you should have about 1/3 cup; use less if you want a less intense ginger flavor). Combine with soy sauce, vinegar, almond oil, marash chile, and sugar in a small saucepan.


Simmer over low heat until the sauce forms a golden syrup and the sugar is fully dissolved. 

Combine quinoa, cabbage, and carrots in a LARGE bowl (you may want to do this in two or three batches).


Pour sauce over the the other ingredients and toss. Let sit for at least 10 minutes to allow flavors to combine. Chop peanuts, sprinkle on top, serve.

This recipe makes 4-5 generous servings, and makes great leftovers. You can leave the sauce off the extra portions if you plan to eat it later in the week; the hot sauce is quite delicious. However, I found that leaving the ingredients combined (except for the peanuts) in the fridge softened the cabbage just enough to make it easier to eat- it’s up to you.


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