Colorful Slaw with Pecans


My family and I were vacationing in Florida last month and I would frequent the health food store in the little town of Anna Maria for select items.   I was chatting with the owner one day and somehow we started talking about antioxidants.  Maybe it was the bag of Goji Berries I had in my hand.  Anyway, she asked me if I would like to take a quick test to check my antioxidant level.   I was intrigued, the test was $20 and I didn’t hesitate.   The test only takes 90 seconds, but it took her about 15 minutes to turn on her computer and get things going.  While I was waiting (and trying hard to be patient as my precious beach minutes were ticking by) , she had me watch a video of  a Dr. Oz show where he used this machine to check his audiences antioxidants levels.  The women at the store showed me the chart and a low number is in the 10,000 -30,000 range and that optimally you want to be at 50,000 or above.  Most of the audience in his show were between 10,000-30,000, which he said represented most of Americans.  She showed me how the test worked, by placing her hand around the machine and after 90 seconds, it reads the carotenoids in your cells and she scored a 51,000.   It was my turn and I was getting a little nervous.  I was thinking, What if I have a low number?   I have changed my diet a lot in the last several years but what if I am not eating the right foods?    After 90 seconds of second guessing all my food choices over the last few years, a 61,000 popped up in the screen.  Yah!   I did a happy dance in my head and  left with my baggy full of antioxidant-rich goji berries.

If you are curious, here is a link to find a biophonic scanner operator near you.

We all see and hear things about antioxidants and it seems to be a big buzz word right now.   It should be.  With the rising rate of disease, you want to eat your antioxidants!  I stayed clear of the science lab in school and headed towards the art wing but here is my understanding of anitoxidants.   First, there are thousands of different antioxidants in our food supply.   They protect healthy cells from free radical damage that cause diseases such as cancer, and heart disease.  We get free radicals from stress as well as environmental toxins like cigarette smoke and pollution. Free radicals are floating solo in your body so they join to healthy cells, destroying them and creating more free radicals and more disease.   We need the antioxidants because they block these free radical.   Aside from that, Dr Oz talks about how antioxidants can prevent cancer from growing because they starve cancer cells!  Certain antioxidants are anti-angiogenesis- preventing the cancer cells from growing new blood vessels.  Here is an article by Dr. Oz.

Berries, fruits, vegetables, beans, and nuts  are your source for antioxidants.  Some fight cancer better than others , some protect the skin, some prevent heart disease.    So try to eat your rainbow and meditate everyday!     And guess what I have for you?

A recipe for Colorful Slaw.  Red Cabbage is not only an antioxidant powerhouse, it’s also anti-inflammatory, it reduces cholesterol, boosts energy, and is supposed to be great for you skin.  I only wish I started eating it earlier in life.   Coleslaw never made it on my plate as a kid.     It was not my thing.   All mayonnaisey (I swear that’s a word) and full of cabbage.  Gross.  Who eats cabbage?  Not I.  Well, not my former self.    When I look back at my college years,  I truly wonder if I ate any vegetables in those 4 years.

Anyway, this slaw is the new slaw…healthy and tasty, with a nice crunch.    This recipe is from the cookbook Ripe, by Cheryl Sturnman Rule.  It is such a beautiful book and all the recipes are arranged by color.      This slaw is coated with a delicious orange dressing that adds a perfect sweetness.   I also love to use the peel so I added some orange zest.  I used purple and green cabbage because I had them both but next time I think I might just use purple.    The original recipe calls for peanuts and I was perfectly prepared… until I got distracted.   Never leave the stove area when toasting nuts!  Why do I always break this rule?  Eric came home, took one inhale and said, “you burnt the nuts again, didn’t you?”      I opened the fridge, took out some pecans and this time,  toasted them in the toaster oven.

Plan A

Plan B

Colorful Slaw (Adapted from the cookbook Ripe)

Juice of 2 medium Oranges, divided

Zest of one Orange

1 crisp Red apple, unpeeled cored and quartered

1/2 small head of purple cabbage, cored and in half ( or 1 small cabbage if just using purple cabbage)

1/2 small head of green cabbage, cored and in half again

2 large Carrots, peeled

1/4 red onion, very thinly sliced

3 TBS Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Kosher Salt and Pepper

1 Cup roasted Pecans,ccoarsely chopped – or peanuts

To MAKE: Pour half the orange juice in the bottom of a large serving bowl, along with the orange peel.

In a food processor using the medium shredding disc, shred the apple and scrape it into the bowl with orange juice and mix well.  Next, shred the cabbages and carrots and scrape into the bowl.  Add the onions and mix well.

In a small bowl, mix the remaining orange juice and the Olive Oil and whisk together.  Season with salt and pepper.   Drizzle the dressing over the slaw and add half the nuts and stir to combine.  Sprinkle the remaining nuts on top and serve.

* If you are making this ahead, keep the nuts, dressing, and slaw separate  until just before you serve.

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