You know the dressings and sauces that you’re tempted to just throw in a straw and call it a day? I can’t be the only one. I like making my own salad dressing because I know what’s dressing my salad. And because you don’t have to channel your chemistry class days when looking at the list of ingredients on a store-bought dressing. Store-bought dressings also tend to have an excessive amount of sugar, which, to me, defeats the purpose of eating healthier in the first place. Most days, my salad dressing is a combination of good olive oil, lemon juice, chili flakes, salt and pepper. But this one gets special treatment.
This creamy, zingy lemon-chili tahini dressing-sauce-whatever-you-want-to-call-it combines our staples and ushers in the velvety, ground sesame goodness that is tahini. We all have that jar of tahini lying around from the homemade hummus craze, right? If you don’t, you’ll want to keep a jar around for homemade dressings like this one.
Now, onto the cabbage part. For a few consecutive weeks, we were getting cabbages of all sorts in our CSA subscriptions from New Earth Farm. From your common cabbage head to napa and tendersweet cabbages, I'll admit it became a bit challenging figuring out what to do with it all. I sliced ‘em up, sautéed ‘em with some garlic, then topped ‘em with an egg. I’ve probably tossed it in a salad of sorts. And of course, one can make kimchi, sauerkraut and coleslaw. It wasn’t until grilling season really kicked off that I realized a nice char on the grill would elevate cabbage to a whole new smoky rendition. Thus, this easy, weeknight side dish was born. In total, this dish takes about 10 minutes to make from start to finish, and that’s reason enough to add this to your weekly rotation. Frankly, this could serve as a main course, but Cody insists that a main course without meat is really a side. Though, I think this charred cabbage might have swayed him otherwise.
Charred Cabbage with Lemon-Chili Tahini
Serves 2 as a side or 1 as the main course
Makes about 1/3 cup dressing
I N G R E D I E N T S
1/2 head tendersweet cabbage*
1 Tbsp tahini
2 tsp fresh lemon juice
1 Tbsp olive oil, plus more for the cabbage
1 tsp sesame chili oil
1 Tbsp water
Salt and pepper
*If you can’t find tendersweet cabbage, don’t stress! One napa cabbage or half of a common cabbage head work wonderfully as well.
M E T H O D
Heat your grill on medium heat.
While you grill is heating up, make your dressing. Add the tahini, lemon juice, olive oil, sesame chilli oil and water to a small bowl. Whisk until evenly incorporated. Depending on your preferred consistency, you can gradually add more water to thin out the dressing. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Set aside.
Now, slice up your cabbage. Slice vertically, toward the stem into two or three cabbage “steaks” (at least 1 inch thick) making sure to keep the stem intact, which keeps the leaves from separating. Once the grill is heated, drizzle olive oil on both sides of the cabbage, season with salt and pepper and place directly onto the grill. Grill for about 4 minutes on each side, or until there’s a nice crispy char on the edges of the cabbage. Remove cabbage from the grill, and transfer to a large serving platter. Drizzle the dressing over top and serve immediately.