South Tyrolean cabbage salad ('Krautsalat')

South Tyrolean cabbage salad ('Krautsalat')

Have you ever noticed how food has the power to bring you back to a specific place or point in time, no matter how far away or long ago? How preparing a familiar meal can make you feel at home even in the most unfamiliar of places? How a sun-kissed peach can bring you back to that day five summers ago when you drove to the beach in Picton with your best friends? What an amazing thing. 

South Tyrolean cabbage salad ('Krautsalat') | Beloved Kitchen
South Tyrolean cabbage salad ('Krautsalat') | Beloved Kitchen

When I think about South Tyrol, the first things that come to my mind are the mountains, the Tyrolean-style houses perched on sloping streets and the fresh alpine breeze. I think about family, German dialects and local farmers with their blue aprons and feather-bearing hats. And I think about the food of the region, with its interesting mix of Austrian and Italian flavours, all against this scenic backdrop. Imagine the aromas of caraway seeds, freshly baked wholemeal bread, pungent cheese and smoky speck next to coffee, the freshest tomatoes, mushroom risotto and Aperol. It's quite a unique combination, and the best of both worlds!

South Tyrolean cabbage salad ('Krautsalat') | Beloved Kitchen
South Tyrolean cabbage salad ('Krautsalat') | Beloved Kitchen
South Tyrolean cabbage salad ('Krautsalat') | Beloved Kitchen

One of my favourite things to eat when I'm in South Tyrol is cabbage salad, or 'Krautsalat'. When you go to a typical South Tyrolean restaurant, you'll often find a salad bar where you can choose from a range of different traditional vegetables and salads to eat alongside your main course. You normally find things like Russian salad (peas, potatoes and carrots in a mayonnaise sauce), pickled beets, mixed leaves, potato and chive salad, butter beans, nuts and seeds - and of course, cabbage salad.  I love this concept, as it ensures you get a good serving of vegetables along with your meal.

South Tyrolean cabbage salad ('Krautsalat') | Beloved Kitchen
South Tyrolean cabbage salad ('Krautsalat') | Beloved Kitchen

Before visiting South Tyrol, my idea of cabbage salad was the coleslaw you get from Saint-Hubert, creamy or traditional (my Canadian/QuΓ©becois readers will know what I mean!) My cabbage salad world got turned upside down when I saw how the South Tyroleans do it - healthy, homemade and so simple. All you need is a head of cabbage, some vinegar, a bit of olive oil, caraway seeds and sea salt and you can make the tastiest and healthiest of salads. This is my go-to salad recipe when I get cabbage in our weekly vegetable box, or when we're longing for the South Tyrolean breeze here in London. It always does the trick!

South Tyrolean cabbage salad ('Krautsalat') | Beloved Kitchen

Do you have any recipes that remind you of a specific place or point in time? A go-to meal that you prepare when you're feeling a bit nostalgic? I'd love to hear about it in the comments section!

-xo KA

South Tyrolean cabbage salad ('Krautsalat')

This is my take on South Tyrolean cabbage salad. Traditionally the salad is made with white cabbage, but I like to play around with different kinds of cabbage (I find purple cabbage particularly pretty). I like to make this salad with a raw cider vinegar which is quite mild, but you can also use white wine vinegar. Start with 1/4 cup of vinegar and then increase as required depending on the strength of the vinegar and how tangy you like it.

Ingredients:

  • 1 head white, green or purple cabbage, cored
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1/4 - 1/2 cup raw cider vinegar
  • 1 tbsp caraway seeds
  • 1/2 tsp Maldon sea salt flakes, or to taste

Method:

Finely slice the cabbage using a mandoline slicer (or alternatively use a sharp knife). Transfer to a salad bowl and add 2 tbsp olive oil, 1/4 cup raw cider vinegar, 1 tbsp caraway seeds and 1/2 tsp sea salt. Toss well to coat and to help the cabbage soften a bit. Let the salad sit out on the counter for 10-15 minutes, and toss again. Taste and adjust by adding more vinegar or salt, if desired. I normally use about 1/2 cup of mild raw cider vinegar.

Serves 4-6. The salad will keep in the fridge for a couple days.

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