Snap Pea Cabbage Slaw with Grapefruit Dressing

15 Apr

snap crackle pop. okay, maybe not crackle.

Sugar snap peas are kind of fun.  You can probably convince your picky kids and spouses to eat them.  They’re sweet, crunchy, and have cute little peas inside.  What’s not to love?  To top it off, when you’re cooking with snap peas, you get the satisfaction of hearing percussive sounds while you remove the fibrous strings.  They’re packed with entertainment value, guys.  (Am I overselling them?  I think not.)

If you’ve never worked with them before, I’ll let you in on a little secret:  make sure you remove those fibrous strings.  Occasionally I’ve been lazy and left them on, but it makes eating sugar snap peas rather unpleasant.  Just grab hold of the stem end and bend it back until you hear a “snap” – then pull it along the length of the pod and watch as the strings come off.  Magic!

These sugar snap peas don’t play the largest role in this slaw, but they’re part what makes it fun and interesting.  The primary component is ever-reliable cabbage, which generally is a pretty important character in slaw.

this cabbage was examined by my trusty sidekick, maxwell.

Today I used purple (or red) cabbage, which is particularly beautiful and good for you.  It’s been credited with reducing cholesterol and preventing cancer, among other superhero accomplishments.  It’s also really cool looking when you cut it down the middle.  My cat thinks so, too.

Finally, the element of this dish that has a subtle but important role: the grapefruit dressing.

the grapefruit before I demolished it.

You can use any citrus you like, but ruby red grapefruit has an excellent balance of sweet and tart that makes for a wonderful salad dressing.  Blood orange would also be amazing.  Combined with a sweet and spicy grainy mustard, a zip of lemon juice, and olive oil, it’s an original and delicious dressing for a slaw.  If you let the cabbage marinate in the dressing for a while it will only get more delicious.

Oh yeah, and there’s chicken, too.  You can leave it out if you want to keep this vegetarian.  But a little bit of poached chicken breast, shredded and tossed in the slaw, makes this a great salad for a picnic lunch.  To poach a chicken breast, I recommend this method.  For the poaching liquid, I just use water with a bay leaf and some peppercorns.

Snap Pea Cabbage Slaw with Grapefruit Dressing (serves 4)

ready for its close-up


  • 1/2 head purple cabbage, core removed, thinly sliced
  • 2 cups sugar snap peas, fibrous strings removed, chopped
  • handful fresh parsley, finely chopped
  • 1 cooked chicken breast, halved and pulled into small strips (optional)
  • 1/4 cup ruby red grapefruit juice (or other citrus)
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon grainy mustard
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil


1.  Place the sliced cabbage, chopped snap peas, parsley, and chicken in a salad bowl.

2.  In a separate bowl, whisk together the grapefruit juice, lemon juice, mustard, and salt.  Stream in the olive oil, whisking constantly.  Pour the dressing over the salad and toss to combine.  Serve right away, or for best flavor, refrigerate (covered) for a few hours before serving.


3 Responses to “Snap Pea Cabbage Slaw with Grapefruit Dressing”

  1. Linda Williams April 16, 2011 at 8:18 am #

    Thank you Laura, and Maxwell. This will be a perfect recipe for an upcoming outdoor pot luck party! Yum!!

  2. Cassie April 16, 2011 at 11:24 am #

    Awwww to the kitty sniffing the cabbage 🙂 This slaw is so unique. I would have never thought to use peas, cabbage and citrus together

  3. sheila @ Elements May 1, 2011 at 6:55 am #

    This is my type of salad! And your dressing with fresh fruit juice and no vinegar is just the type of dressing I love! I might give this a try…without the meat though. Thanks so much for sharing the recipe! 🙂

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