Chorizo and Red Cabbage Salad

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This lovely book was gifted to me by my mother. She knows what I love, and I love all forms of charcuterie.

The book was published in 2014, and written by Amanda Ballard. It is a guide to make your own cured meats, smoked sausages, salamis, and so forth.

I have since realized that much of the home-made charcuterie I’d love to make by hand, I cannot, due to the fact that I live in a very humid region. So no hanging whole jamons in my basement. (insert sad face.)

However, there are so many fun recipes in this book, utilizing purchased charcuterie and meat varieties. Like, coppa and spring onion frittata, and dried cranberry and brandy Christmas pâté. But I zeroed in on a chorizo and red cabbage salad.

From the book, “This salad is stunning due to its vibrant red color. It’s a lovely way to make cabbage exciting, as just a small amount of chorizo lends superb depth of flavor.”

Where I live, I can only find Mexican chorizo, which is soft and greasy. It’s important to find real Spanish chorizo for this salad. There are two basic kinds of Spanish chorizo, and I’m generalizing here.

There are sausages in links that need to be cooked; they look similar to Italian sausages, below left. And there is chorizo that is more similar to salami or pepperoni, that you’d see on a charcuterie platter. They come in a variety of shapes and made of different meats, depending on the origin in Spain, lower right.

This recipe utilizes the latter variety of chorizo, which is another reason I was so intrigued by this recipe.

Chorizo and Red Cabbage Salad
Serves 2 for a light lunch

Salad:
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 red cabbage, cored, sliced or shredded
5 ounces chorizo, peeled, diced

Dressing:
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
1/2 teaspoon garlic purée or crushed garlic
Big pinch freshly chopped parsley
1 teaspoon freshly squeezed lime juice

For the salad, heat the olive oil in a frying pan over medium heat, then add the red cabbage and fry until soft, stirring regularly.

Add the chorizo and keep stirring for 2-3 minutes, so that the chorizo starts to cook and release its oils.

Remove from the heat and let cool.

Meanwhile, put all the ingredients for the dressing into a bowl and mix together well. Once the cabbage and chorizo mixture has cooled, pour over the dressing.

Toss to mix well.

Serve. I personally liked serving the salad still warm.

I loved the dressing, but I’d change the ratio to a 50-50 mixture of olive oil and red wine vinegar. The chorizo does let off a lot of greasiness, so I prefer a bit more vinegar.

I’d definitely not serve this salad cold.

I can also see a dollop of crème fraiche served on this salad! Plus, I could also throw in a few golden raisins for a touch more sweetness, but that’s just me!

Warm Mediterranean Salad

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There is a nice shopping mall about 2 hours away that I visit when I have to go to a mall. Well, truth be told, I probably only shop at Williams-Sonoma there, unless I’m Christmas shopping. Then I’m a bit more adventurous.

The mall has a nice restaurant that I go to because of the convenience. But it’s good! You’ll all probably be shocked that it’s a chain restaurant, called Pepperoni Grill.

The menu is nice, the restaurant is always clean, and the service great. Surprisingly great.

Oddly enough, I’ve always ordered the same thing, which is a warm Mediterranean Tortellini and Vegetable salad, served with a creamy balsamic vinaigrette.

I say this is odd, because typically, I would order something new on the menu. But, after 20+ years, I keep ordering this salad. It’s so good, so well prepared, and so satisfying.

Then I had the brilliant idea to replicate the salad at home. It doesn’t look exactly the same because the restaurant uses tricolor tortellini, but mine tasted just as good! Being that it’s not springtime, I opted for green beans instead of asparagus.

Warm Mediterranean Salad
inspired by Pepperoni Grill’s salad
Serves 12

Vinaigrette:
3/4 cup olive oil
1/2 cup white balsamic vinegar
4-5 cloves garlic, peeled
3 tablespoons yogurt
1 tablespoon agave syrup
2 teaspoons whole-grain Dijon mustard
1/2 teaspoon salt

Salad:
2 pounds small, red-skinned potatoes, quartered
1 pound trimmed green Beans
1 pound yellow squash, coarsely chopped
32 ounces cheese tortellini
10 uncles spring lettuces
Sliced sun-dried tomatoes, the kind stored in oil
Kalamata olives, drained, halved
Grated Parmesan

To prepare the vinaigrette, place all of the ingredients in a small blender jar. Blend until smooth. Taste for salt. Can be made a day ahead, but bring the vinaigrette to room temperature before making the salad.


The vegetables must be prepared separately for the salad, in order to have them all at the proper cook. It’s also best for all of the vegetables and the tortellini to be warm when served, so one must move quickly!

In a steamer basket, cook the potatoes just until tender. Place in a large bowl, toss with a few tablespoons of vinaigrette, and set aside. If you don’t like a lot of dressing, use some olive oil instead.


Cook the green beans in the steamer basket and add them to the potatoes. Toss together gently, adding a little more vinaigrette to keep the vegetables moist.

Do the same with the yellow squash, making sure not to overcook. Add to the potatoes and beans.

Cook the cheese tortellini according to package directions. Drain and let cool slightly.

Add the still warm tortellini to the vegetables. Add the desired amount of vinaigrette and and toss gently.

Add the sun-dried tomatoes and olives to taste.

Then sprinkle on a generous amount of Parmesan. No mixing necessary.

Serve warm.

I like a lot of vinaigrette on my salads, but I’m aware that not everyone does. So when I suggest to add the desired amount of vinaigrette, that’s exactly what I mean!

My mother’s secret to a good potato salad was to always add some olive oil to the warm, just-cooked potatoes. So that’s what I did in this salad, using the vinaigrette instead of just olive oil, as well as adding some vinaigrette to the cooked tortellini. This keeps them moist and prevents sticking.

In anticipation of making this salad, I googled it to see if I was making something fairly unique or not. Turns out, there are tortellini/pasta salads, and there are potato salads. This salad really combines the two – a pasta salad with a significant amount of veggies.

The vegetables are along the lines of “primavera” vegetables, and can definitely be changed depending on what’s in season. Zucchini, broccoli, baby carrots, asparagus… all would be good. They could be grilled as well.

And of course this salad would be wonderful with grilled meat, but I prefer it the way it is.

So would I visit Pepperoni Grill for a special night out? No. But the fact that I can expect quality with what I’m ordering and enjoy a leisurely lunch, with a decent glass of wine, during a day of shopping, is really nice.