Sunflowers are Ukraine’s national flower and this sunflower slaw recipe features both sunflower seeds and caraway.
Cabbage gets a bad rep, but it’s a generous vegetable. I got a cute little head of cabbage to make St. Patrick’s Day bubble and squeak. Its densely furled leaves disguised just how much of it there was. Even after making a whole lotta bubble and squeak — my husband loves it — I had cabbage to spare.
Making some coleslaw with the overage, I thought how cabbage and caraway, which I associate with Ireland, are also beloved in Ukraine. Ukraine is now under Russian siege. Ireland, too, has had to fight for freedom on its own soil.
Chef José Andrés and his nonprofit World Central Kitchen have been feeding the people of Ukraine. If only we could cook our way out of this war. Failing that, here’s a simple sunflower slaw for Ukraine, Ireland, you, me, the whole world. Its accessible, affordable, nourishing and easy — when so much else is hard.
- 3 tablespoons sunflower seeds
- 1/2 teaspoon caraway seeds
- 2 tablespoons white vinegar
- 1 small onion shredded (about 2/3 cup)
- 3 cups cabbage green, purple, or mixed, shredded
- 1 large carrot (about 1 cup), shredded
- 1/2 teaspoon cumin
- 1/2 teaspoon coriander
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 tablespoon prepared Dijon mustard
- 1 teaspoon agave
- 1/4 cup chopped cilantro
- 1/4 cup chopped dill
- sea salt and freshly ground pepper to taste — be generous
- Heat a small dry skillet over medium heat. Add sunflower and caraway seeds and toast, stirring occasionally, for 3 minutes, or until the caraway releases a hint of its licorice fragrance. Pour the seeds into a small cup or ramekin and set aside to cool.
- Using the same pan, add the vinegar and shredded onions. Cook the onions in the vinegar over medium heat for about 5 minutes, just until onions start to soften. It may cause your eyes to tear for a minute, and seems counterintuitive, but the vinegar tames and softens the sharpness of the onion. Set aside and let cool slightly.
- In a small bowl, whisk together cumin, coriander, olive oil, Dijon mustard, and agave for a minute or two, until they emulsify into a creamy dressing. Keep the dressing until right before you’re ready to serve. Slaw should be crisp, not soggy.
- In a large bowl toss together the shredded cabbage and carrot. Add the onions and any vinegar from the pan that hasn’t evaporated. Pour in the dressing and toss again. Finish with the chopped herbs and toasted caraway and sunflower seeds. Season generously with sea salt and pepper.