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flowers gone wild

Recipe: brassica poppy seed salad

Everything happens in summer. Jeremy and I sat down with our calendars last month to map commitments and schedule those “want to do” things that will never get done unless you cordon off the dates well in advance. Even then, a good percentage is usually punted to the next year because stuff invariably comes up. Since my last post, my parents have returned to Colorado for the summer, we celebrated Yuki’s one year Gotchaversary (the day we adopted her), and the high country snow has begun to melt, leaving wildflowers in its path of retreat.

out for sushi with the parents

yuki and her gotcha cake (which she shared with neva)

hiking through verdant forests

still easy to get to snow in july

stopping for flowers and a view

amazing fields of wildflowers on my trail run

colors on the ground and in the sky

dandelion and larkspur carpet the hillslope

lupine at peak bloom

With my parents in town for the summer, we are dining out a lot more than we usually do when left to our homebody tendencies. It happens every summer because getting together to eat is the de facto way Chinese people hang out. At home, I’ve been sticking to exercise, simple meals, and lots of salads to counteract the effects of indulgent restaurant food. One of my favorites happens to be a homemade take on a prepackaged salad. They look so tempting, but I never buy them because I start calculating how much it costs to make it myself. Plus, this kale and cabbage salad never has enough dried cranberries and pumpkin seeds for my taste.

the salad: kale, cabbage, red cabbage, toasted pumpkin seeds, dried cranberries

the dressing: apple cider vinegar, white vinegar, canola oil, poppy seeds, salt, sugar, mustard, onion

I know I have blogged a lot of kale and cabbage salads here, but it’s because I love salads that are hard to wilt. Brassicas fare better than lettuce both in terms of time and salad dressings. This is the kind of salad that you can prep once and assemble throughout the week without the components turning to slime in your refrigerator. And it’s easy to make the tangy-sweet creamy poppy seed dressing. Toss the ingredients in a blender and you’re pretty much good to go. If you don’t have a blender that can reliably make super smooth purées, I find grating the onion is an easy way around unwelcome chunks of onion in your dressing. I swapped out a little of the white vinegar for apple cider vinegar because I like the fruitier flavor of the latter. There also doesn’t need to be as much sugar as listed in the recipe.

grate the onion

place all but the poppy seeds in the blender

mix the poppy seeds in last

We can all agree that homemade salad dressings taste the best and cost a fraction of what you pay for store-bought. However, I get that it isn’t always convenient to make your own dressing – especially in summer when there are so many things to do that don’t involve cooking or washing dishes! I sometimes use a store-bought substitute because I have been there with the not wanting to spend another minute in the kitchen.

this one works just fine

If you want other shortcuts, you can purchase pre-shredded cabbage and kale from places like Trader Joe’s or other supermarkets. Whichever way you do it, a quick couple of handfuls of greens, a few sprinkles of dried cranberries and pumpkin seeds, and a toss with dressing will get you your salad fix. It also packs well if you’re bringing lunch to work or taking a big batch to a potluck.

six components

combine in a bowl


This is my current favorite salad, although I tend to rotate through a bunch of them in the warmer months. It holds up well structurally, maintaining a nice crunchiness even overnight. The pumpkin seeds contribute additional crunch and nuttiness in contrast to the sweet and chewy cranberries. Even though I’m grazing on this in summer, it will be equally delightful come winter because of its brightness in flavor and color. Total keeper.

a satisfying light meal

or a side salad

colorful and tasty

Brassica Poppy Seed Salad
[print recipe]
dressing modified from The Kitchen McCabe

4 cups shredded kale (about 4 large leaves)
3 cups shredded green cabbage
1 1/2 cups shredded red cabbage
1/2 cup dried cranberries, roughly chopped
1/2 cup pumpkin seeds, toasted
1 cup poppy seed dressing

poppy seed dressing
3 oz. white vinegar
1 oz. apple cider vinegar
1 cup canola oil
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 1/2 tbsp yellow onion, grated
2 tsp salt
1/2 tbsp Dijon mustard
1 tbsp poppy seeds

Make the dressing: Place all ingredients except for poppy seeds in a blender. Mix on high speed until blended and emulsified. Stir in the poppy seeds. Bottle and refrigerate. Makes 2 cups.

Make the salad: Toss the kale, cabbages, cranberries, pumpkin seeds, and 1/2 cup of the poppy seed dressing together. Toss with more dressing to taste. Serves 4-6.

more goodness from the use real butter archives

shredded brussels sprouts and kale salad emerald kale pesto pizza crunchy kale salad shredded kale salad

7 nibbles at “flowers gone wild”

  1. angelitacarmelita says:

    This is exactly what I want to eat! I’ve been blowing up my local farm market, but the softer lettuces, radishes and candy sweet onions have come and gone now, so this looks ideal. As always, your photos are breath taking and inspiring. xoxo!

  2. farmerpam says:

    I buy the huge bag of this salad at Costco, love the crunch factor. Great pictures, thanks for sharing!

  3. Jill Hyde says:

    Love how you make things so easy. I personally like the Brussels slivered that’s in the COSTCO one and I’d add that. Love the wildflowers. Omg. Gorgeous! Have fun being the good Chinese daughter you are this summer! Xoxo jill

  4. June McConachy says:

    Please can you tell where that trail run is w Jeremy and your 2 puppies? I love love your blog!! Thanks!

  5. Jasmine says:

    I made this! My husband loved it! I knew he would as he loves a crunchy salad :) We added carrots to it. Thank you for another great recipe!

  6. jenyu says:

    angelitacarmelita – Thank you and I hope you enjoy the salad!

    farmerpam – That’s exactly where I saw it and decided to make it myself :) It’s so good, right?!

    Jill – Ha ha, I don’t have the patience to slice Brussels sprouts, so cabbage works for me :)

    June – That trail is Snodgrass and we’re on the section that overlooks the town of Mount Crested Butte. It’s so pretty, I hope you get to hike it!

    Jasmine – Yay! I bet the carrots made it even more colorful/beautiful xoxo

  7. sarah Lewkowicz says:

    I always love the Happy Parents photos!!!

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