This is one of my favourite salads and something I am very proud to have dreamed up one day when trying to figure out how to take something as classic as a slaw and put a modern, Middle Eastern twist on it.
As you will see you end up with a very tasty salad that doesn’t require mayonnaise or eggs. This dressing is also very versatile, so it’s definitely one to experiment with in other salads.
Serves 6-8 as a substantial side salad
– 1 small head of red cabbage (or ¼ large head)
– 1 small head of white cabbage (or ¼ large head)
– 2 medium red onions
– 2 bulbs of fennel flaky salt (such as Irish Atlantic Sea Salt) and freshly ground black pepper
– 100g fresh dill, stems chopped finely and fronds roughly chopped
– 2–3 tbsp za’atar
For the dressing:
– 250g creme fraiche
– 200g tahini
– 2–4 garlic cloves, minced juice of 2 lemons (but zest them beforehand for the salad!)
– 2–3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1. First prepare the cabbages by cutting away the thick core and removing any brown or tough outer leaves. Finely shred the cabbages into strips.
2. 3–4mm thick – this can be done by hand, on a mandolin or by putting it through the thick (3mm or so) grating disk of a food processor.
3. Cut the onions in half, top to tail, removing the outer skin. Trim off the top and root and cut into thin 2mm slices (again, by hand or using a mandolin or the thin slicing blade on a food processor). Repeat for the
4. To make your dressing, place the crème fraîche in a medium bowl, gently folding in the tahini, garlic, two-thirds of the lemon juice and the olive oil with a spatula until everything is well mixed.
5. Taste and adjust the seasoning, adding more of any element to get it to your liking. You should end up with a dressing that is full of flavour and with the consistency of natural yogurt. Get it good and strong in terms of flavour, as it really needs to battle against the slaw vegetables to truly sing!
6. Finally, place the cabbage, red onions and fennel in a large bowl, tossing in the remaining lemon juice that you reserved from the dressing and the seasoning.
7. Add two-thirds of the dill and all of the dressing, tossing until well mixed.
8. To finish, taste and adjust the seasoning, adding more lemon if necessary. Sprinkle the remaining dill on top along with the za’atar and the lemon zest when serving.
Tips and Tricks:
– Grated beetroot would be a very worthy addition, or any typical slaw ingredients.
– This salad would work very well with grilled lamb or in a lamb burger.
– The dressing here also works perfectly on a simple salad of cucumber and tomato wedges, but be sure to serve immediately after dressing.
– If you don’t have any za’atar, use a mix of 1 tablespoon each of sesame seeds and cumin seeds, lightly toasted in a dry frying pan set over a medium heat for 2–3 minutes.
– An alternative dressing here would be to use our smoked aubergine yogurt.
Garrett Fitzgerald left his office-based career to follow his dream: to immerse himself in the creative adventures to be enjoyed with food. That journey started off with three wonderful months in Darina Allen’s Ballymaloe Cookery School. Next, he and his partner James travelled the world, exploring the flavours of local food throughout. Bringing that experience back home on a wing and a prayer, Brother Hubbard opened on Dublin’s Capel Street in 2012. Leaning towards aspects of Middle Eastern and Southern Mediterranean food, The Brother Hubbard Cookbook is packed with nutritious, wholesome, often deceptively vegetarian dishes that emphasise flavour, colour and texture.
The Brother Hubbard Cookbook is published by Gill Books, and is available to buy on www.gillbooks.ie.