Cabbage Bean Casserole (aka Hearty Salad Bowl) *


'Cabbage Bean Casserole'


This could be also be called a "bowl" or "salad" (a word with potentially boring connotations).  There are many variations; at this point I eat this most days of the week, improvise almost every time, never get tired of it and always look forward to it.   

The only dressing I use nowadays is red wine vinegar, possibly because I've learned to love the taste of the other ingredients.  An optional but sure-fire way to jazz it up (if desired) is to add, on the portion you're about to eat, a very small drizzle of tahini.  This is made easier with a pourable product called 'Mighty Sesame Co. Tahini" that comes in a squeeze bottle and is completely convenient, with one ingredient: sesame seeds. Otherwise you can mix tahini with lemon juice or vinegar to make it easier to work with (and delicious).  I've tried grinding sesame seeds in a spice grinder which is OK but tahini seems to be much more noticeable.  I usually prefer the simplicity and reduced calories of going with just the vinegar, unless I think some extra zing is needed for some reason. 

Most of the ingredients are optional and I've listed those that I have personally settled on over the years.  (Though this might be another evolving phase for me).  I used to use cut-up raw carrots for their crunchiness, though I've decided it's too much work and I don't miss them. I liked cucumber for awhile, then decided I didn't.  Avocado might add appeal for some, but it's more work to get ripe avocados when you need them, and after a few years of using them in this dish I realized I actually like it better without.  Likewise with olives, which you would think would add some 'umami,' but I now feel that less is more.  I used to add a bunch of fresh garlic (chopped and sautéed first), and sometimes ginger, but no longer.  It's so much easier without these, and possibly even tastier with fewer flavors.  Raw cabbage is the main ingredient, tastier than red cabbage IMO. I like it in pieces that are as large as possible and include the stem (cut a little smaller) which is crunchy and delicious.  Lately I've added raw cut-up arugula (in small pieces) either with or instead of cabbage.  It's not as naturally delicious as cabbage, but with wine vinegar etc. etc., they are both delicious.  (You can always add more vinegar -  yum!).    

I used to add raisins but I don't keep them in the house anymore to avoid snacking on them along with a handful of nuts - too tempting.  Cut-up apple is as good if not better.  Some variations are without any fruit.  In terms of tomatoes, I can go either way.  I've decided that fresh parsley is dispensable so I haven't been using this.  

I continue to think that celery is an important ingredient; it's quick just to saw off slices from the end of the whole bunch, leaves and all. 
I *always* sprinkle walnut pieces to the portion I'm about to eat - crunchy & delicious.  

I always use ground black pepper, sometimes thyme, occasionally dill, but mostly dried mint!  I'm a big fan of dried mint - it might even have an edge over fresh mint in terms of a more subtle but wonderful flavor.  IMO there's no need to hunt down fresh mint. 



Warning: this makes a Huge amount, a three-day food supply for one person.
Reduce quantities if you’re trying this for the first time.

  • 3 cans drained cooked beans.  (=4.5 cups; I usually use 4 cups - same difference - because I don’t use cans, see below)
  • 4 - 6 cups raw cabbage, cut coarsely into large bite-size pieces
  • 1 cup chopped celery.  (to save time just chop at the end of the bunch, leaves and all)
  • 1 cup of coarsely chopped purple onion (up to 1.5 cups but if too much it's too spicy)
  • 2 cups+ unpacked chopped arugula  (optional)
  • 2 medium apples cut in pieces (~ 4 cups)
  • 3 TBSP chopped cherry peppers (aka “hots”) from a jar, if you like it spicy.   (2 TBSP are not quite enough for me) (optional)
  • 2 TBSP (OR MUCH MORE TO TASTE) of red wine vinegar. 
  • ground pepper to taste
  • dried mint to taste if desired.

  • Cut-up walnuts or other nuts -  added to the portion being consumed (to preserve crunchiness).  
  • Optional drizzle of tahini to the portion being consumed. 

  • One small can of thickly sliced water chestnuts.
  • Roasted (or otherwise cooked) veggies of your choice
  • May serve with, or mix in, rice or pasta.  (I sometimes mix in 2 - 4 cups of cooked wheat berries which are delicious and completely  unprocessed). 
  • Tofu cubes.  Tastiest IMO is pre-flavored or pre-baked tofu cut in a large dice, then sautéd until a little crunchy, with a little oil, soy sauce and maybe Asian garlic chili sauce.  Using a non-stick pan is easiest.   (*Never* heat your non-stick pan above medium heat).
  • Better than tofu is Yuba (sometimes the HoDo brand is sold in the Baltimore area at MOM's organic market; this is *not* the dried variety).  It's basically tofu but with an amazing meat-like consistency.  If you can't find it, demand that your local store supplies it and don't give up).  Likewise, cut it up and sautéd with some soy sauce and maybe asian chili garlic sauce +/- a little oil, until it's slightly crunchy). 
  • Dressing options:  lemon juice+tahini, vinegar+tahini,  +/- small amount of dijon mustard or soy sauce/tamari sauce. 


  • Combine ingredients EXCEPT THE WALNUTS AND TAHINI and toss. (Add those to the portion being consumed so the nuts stay crunchy, and so the tahini -if using- doesn't make the rest soggy). 


I find that a large supply of 2-cup Pyrex containers (with plastic lids) is indispensable for food preparation, along with adequate freezer space (I use a very small supplemental freezer in the basement).  It's cheaper, easier and healthier to buy dried beans, cook a large quantity in advance, and freeze them in these handy portions.  Likewise with rice or other starch (wheat berries!), and of course:  SOUP and CHILI.  I would never have time to actually prepare food without this system.  Instead, I just move a few Pyrex containers from the freezer to the fridge a few days before I need them. (If I forget, they can always be 'zapped').   

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responded with submitted 2016-05-14 14:39:17 -0400
published this page in Food Without Recipes 2016-04-09 19:42:18 -0400