Fast food: red cabbage & fennel slaw with tahini dressing

Fast food: red cabbage & fennel slaw with tahini dressing

The fun of summer holidays is over. The BBQs have been put away. Long days of eating ice cream are well and truly behind us. Time to get back into a normal routine. If all that summer fun has left your digestion feeling sub par, don’t worry, we have just the recipe for you.

Digestion, bowels, stools. We know. Not subjects people like to talk about. But we really should as it’s so important. Keeping your bowels healthy has far-reaching effects on your overall health. From lowering cholesterol to balancing hormones. Controlling weight to glowing skin. Happy bowels mean happy people.

Fibre is a great way to make your bowels happy. It’s essential for keeping your system ‘running smoothly’. The recommended daily intake of fibre is 30 grams a day. A bulb of fennel contains seven grams of fibre. Added to that is another five grams from the red cabbage. And there you have it. If our maths is correct, you’ve got nearly half of your quota in one meal.

Fennel has long been used to calm the stomach too1. The apple cider vinegar and mint in this recipe also calm the digestive system. The vinegar supports your natural stomach acid; necessary to help break down the fibrous veg, while mint eases indigestion. A pretty clever little combo of ingredients.

Ros’s Tip: This will last in the fridge for 24-48 hours, so it’s a great to make a large amount and take to work for lunch the next day.

What you need

  • ¼ red cabbage (approx. 200g)
  • 1 fennel bulb (approx. 100g)
  • large handful mint (approx. 50g)
  • 50g raisins

For the dressing

  • 1 tablespoon tahini
  • 1 tablespoon water
  • 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon honey
  • salt & pepper

Serves 2

Method

Start by making the dressing. Place the tahini into a small bowl. Add the water and apple cider vinegar. Whisk together until smooth. It will start off by going lumpy; this is completely normal. Simply continue to mix and it’ll smooth out.

Next, stir in the honey along with a generous grind of salt and pepper. Once finished it should be the consistency of thin single cream. Set aside while you prepare the vegetables.

Start by shredding the cabbage. If you have a mandolin, set this to its thinnest setting. Place the flat side of the cabbage against the mandolin. Slice the cabbage down the longest edge to create thin strips. If you do not have a mandolin, simply slice as thinly as possible with a sharp knife.  Place in a large bowl.

To prepare the fennel, slice the stalks off the top. If the tops contain some herby fronds, set aside to add to the salad later. Slice the bulb in half and then into quarters. Peel off any wilted outer layers. If using the mandolin, lay the quarter of fennel with the cut side flat against the mandolin. Slice downwards to create thin shavings. Again, if you don't have a mandolin, slice the fennel lengthwise into really thin slices. Place in the bowl along with the cabbage.

Now pour the dressing into the bowl. Toss thoroughly to ensure all the vegetables are well coated. It’s easiest to do this with your hands. Give the cabbage and fennel a little massage to break it down.

If you kept some fennel fronds, cut these up finely. Pull the mint leaves off their stalks. Roll them up and finely slice into strips. Add the herbs to the bowl along with the raisins. Gently stir.

Divide between two plates. Serve alone for a light meal or with grilled salmon or tofu for something more filling.

Ros Bates created 'A Manner of Eating' to provide recipes and resources for those with food intolerances. She is also Head of Nutrition at Healthy Start Holidays.

 

  1. Valussi M. Functional foods with digestion-enhancing properties. International Journal of Food Sciences and Nutrition. 2012; 63(S1):82–9.
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