Living, as I do, with four males and only one other girl, there is very little pink in our house. And the closest the boys would usually get to pink food would be how they’d like their steaks cooked. This meal, I’m happy to report, is quick and easy to make, has no steak on the horizon but is unashamedly pink! It also conveniently uses up the last of my winter red cabbages, without serving up any more of the stuff braised. Delicious of course, but Christmas is over now. It’s time for a change.
Red cabbage, like all red/purple foods, is really very good for you. And, like many of the foods that conveniently come into season around this time of year, will provide you with a well needed immune boost. Just one cup of red cabbage will provide you with 56% of your vitamin C RDA, and add to that the fresh lemon juice in this recipe and you’ll really be hitting the spot. As a brassica, it will provide you not only with low calorie fibre, vitamin A and K but glucosinolates as well. These sulphur containing compounds will help fight bacteria and reduce inflammation, whilst helping reduce the risk of cancer. But red cabbage doesn’t just stop there. It has something that makes it different to other brassicas; its red colouring, a helpful flavonoid that also supports the immune system and fights those cancer causing free radicals. And, of course, has the handy little quirk that it turns gorgeously pink when you add lemon juice. Not a bad party trick.
Red Cabbage and Fennel Pesto
Serves at least 6:
350g of red cabbage (that’s about one big half)
250g fennel ( a medium sized bulb)
1 garlic clove
2 tsp fennel seeds
2 tsp salt
2 tbsp olive oil for roasting
150ml olive oil
2 tbsp fresh chopped parsley
Juice of one to two lemons to taste
Preheat the oven to around 180 deg. C, then quarter your cabbage half, remove the core and cut the quarters through again.
Chop your fennel into eighths or thereabouts, then put the cabbage and fennel in a roasting dish, sprinkle over the salt, fennel seeds and olive oil and roast for around 35 minutes until the cabbage is cooked through.
Then comes the complicated bit. Put the cabbage and fennel mixture in a food processor with the extra olive oil, garlic, lemon juice, walnuts and parsley then blend until you have a smooth (ish) pink paste.
Check the seasoning and serve tossed through pasta, using a little of the pasta water to loosen if you think it needs it.