Happy New Year! With the dawn of a new year, January 1st is often filled with reflection, resolution setting, and promises for behavioral changes to make the days ahead “better” than those that have passed.  Two of the most popular resolution topics are health and financial goals, making this Red Cabbage Salad the perfect meal to start off your 2017.

In cultures all across the globe, cabbage is to be eaten on New Year’s Day to insure prosperity, bringing good luck and fortune for the rest of the year as the leaves are representative of paper money.  In doing some research on this belief, it seems this is a universal assumption, albeit new information to me, but hey- I’ll take seconds if the amount of cabbage consumed correlates with the amout of financial gain I can expect over the next 365 days 😉

cabbage, cabbage salad, red cabbage, new year, applesDespite any folklore surrounding this vegetable, there’s no denying the facts on the health benefits cabbage provides.  Although both green and red cabbage are full of nutrients, the rich red color of the later provides a strong concentration of additional polyphenols, providing unique antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties.  Additionally, 1 cup of cabbage has 56% of your daily vitamin C, a vitamin that supports your immune system, fights inflammation, and helps the body make collagen, the connective tissue that strengthens skin, muscles and bone.

Cabbage also provides digestive support for the body, not just by providing 1g of fiber per 10 calories, but also by helping to regulate bacterial populations in the stomach and throughout the intestines.  Finally, this cruciferous vegetable has been shown to help prevent breast and ovarian cancers, as chemicals in the plant help speed up the body’s metabolism of estrogen, a hormone that, in high amounts, is associated with these specific varieties of cancer.

cabbage, red cabbage, cabbage salad, new year,Perhaps my favorite part about this salad is the variety in taste and texture of each ingredient.  The cabbage creates a crisp base, the apples tart and refreshing, the onions provide the perfect amount of spice, the cranberries chewy and sweet, and the walnuts the perfect combination of sweet and spicy while adding one final crunch.

walnuts, sweet and spicy, cabbage, cabbage salad, candied nuts, candied walnutsLet’s just take one final moment to honor the Sweet and Spicy Walnuts that totally pull this salad together. These delicious bites have quickly become my favorite snack and salad topper from their varied flavor profile.  Walnuts are naturally sweet and meaty, while cinnamon is sweet and spicy, resulting in the maple syrup complementing the sweet with the cayenne offering a spicy kick. Even if you don’t end up making the entire salad, these nuts are an absolute MUST!

cabbage, cabbage salad, red cabbage, new yeaI hope you enjoy this light and nutritious salad as much as I do, and that it brings you all the luck and wealth you deserve for 2017! Are there any new year traditions or rituals you practice? Do you set a resolution each year? Let’s chat in the comments below!

Red Cabbage Salad
Serves 4-6

Sweet and Spicy Walnuts
1/4 cup pure maple syrup
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp sea salt
1 lb walnut halves

Preheat oven to 400F.  Stir together the maple syrup and spices until evenly combined.  Then mix in the walnuts, tossing until fully coated.  Spread the nuts out in one layer on a baking sheet, then bake 10-13 minutes, until almost completely dry.  Store leftover nuts in an airtight container.

For the Salad:
1 head purple cabbage, chopped
1 large green apple, thinly sliced
1 cup Sweet & Spicy walnuts
1/2 cup dried cranberries
1/2 a small red onion, finely diced
Handful of green onions

For the Dressing:
1/4 cup olive oil
2T red wine vinegar
1 tsp dijon mustard
1 tsp stevia (or agave)
1/4 tsp sea salt

Chop and combine all the salad ingredients together.  Stir together everything for the dressing, then toss with the salad until evenly coated.  For best flavor, allow to sit so the flavors mingle. Serve cold or room temperature.   

cabbage, cabbage salad, red cabbage, new yea