Recipe: Swiss-French Red Cabbage Salad with Apples and Raisins

It’s that time of year again, when I try to serve more vegetables to my family after weeks and months of feasting on baked goods—and I’m usually the worst offender!

My latest plan involves trying to work vegetables into all three meals, and ideally in at least two dishes. For breakfast, that means scrambled eggs with spinach. At lunch or dinner, we’ll have a salad and steamed green beans with lemon, for example. With more and newer options, I’m hoping my kids’ interest increases so they actually like eating vegetables, instead of viewing them as a necessary evil.

After a recent Sunday walk, I tried out a new a new red cabbage salad recipe from a local Swiss-French cookbook. I served it as part of leisurely brunch during our last day of the holiday break. My husband, who usually HATES mayonnaise, liked this salad. Unprompted, my 7-year old said it tasted good after his first bite. My 3-year old gave it a thumbs up, but I think he really only liked (and ate) the raisins, to be perfectly honest. We’ll keep this cabbage salad in our mealtime rotation, and I’ll have to try another one I saw recently from Migros’ made with orange juice (here’s yet another salad recipe with cabbage, orange and fennel that also looks good).


Sunday walk on Mount Vully

Salade de Chou Rouge (Red Cabbage Salad)

Recipe adapted from Recettes du terroir neuchâtelois by Francis Grandjean (2002).

(dairy-free, egg-free, nut-free)

Serves 6-8


500 grams red cabbage (about 1 cabbage)
1-2 apples, diced
about 1/2 cup raisins (I like golden raisins)
Optional: finely chopped chives and lettuce leaves

100 ml vegan mayonnaise (use really mayo if you can!)
3 tablespoons sunflower oil
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
2 tablespoons shallots, finely chopped
2 teaspoons mustard
salt, to taste (I used about 1/2 teaspoon)


1. Slice the cabbage into thin strips and place in a large bowl.

2. Prepare the sauce by whisking together all the ingredients until smooth. Pour the sauce over the cabbage and toss until well-incorporated.

3.Stir in the raisins and diced apple(s). Best served the same day. Top with chopped chives and serve with fresh lettuce leaves, if desired.

For 2015, we have lots to look forward to in terms of managing my son’s milk allergy, like a food challenge next week and starting school in August. I hope you do too! Happy New Year, and Bonne Année, everyone!


Recipe: Salade Estivale for Summertime

The signs of summer are apparent here in Switzerland. Outdoor music festival season started locally with Festi’neuch. Swiss summer trail racing is also underway, and I’ll be attempting my first one next weekend. Most importantly, my son’s summer vacation from school starts in one week. And in terms of food, I’ve noticed restaurants around town are advertising their summertime salads or salades estivales.

Salade Estival Sign  2736x3648-001

My research indicates there’s no set rule for making a Swiss salade estivale, other than it should contain some sort of fresh summertime vegetables. Since I’m always trying to get my boys to eat more vegetables, we’ll be making lots of salads again during our summer vacation. The first Swiss salad recipe I’ve been making this summer is appropriately named Salade estivale, which I came across a while back in one of my Suisse romande cookbooks.

With seven vegetables to choose from in this salad, my boys tend to pick out the ones they like and leave the rest, but I still try to see it as progress. I was reminded this week by registered dietician Julia Marriott of Alimentary Bites that when it comes to serving vegetables to picky eaters, “perseverance and patience” are the only way. As with many salad recipes, the directions below serve as a guide, so feel free to swap in your favorite vegetables or mess with the quantities a bit, depending on the preferences in your household.

Salade Estivale

Adapted from Les recettes de Grand-Mère, Tome 4. Published in 2010 by the Association Alzheimer Suisse, Yverdon-les-Bains.


1 cup kohlrabi, peeled and diced
1 cup carrots, peeled and diced
1 cup potatoes or sweet potatoes, peeled and diced
1 cup corn kernels, fresh or frozen
1 cup green beans, chopped
1 cup red pepper, diced
1 cup peas, frozen

4 tablespoons colza/canola/rapeseed oil
3 tablespoons white wine vinegar
2 tablespoons parsley, finely chopped
2 tablespoons chives, finely chopped
1 tablespoon tarragon, finely chopped
1 tablespoon soy yogurt
salt and pepper, to taste

1. Make the dressing. Put all the ingredients in a sealed jar and shake vigorously. Add salt and pepper to taste. Set aside.

2. Cook the vegetables. Bring a pot of water to a rolling boil and cook kohlrabi, carrots and potatoes together until fork tender, about 5-10 minutes. While these vegetables are cooking, use a steamer basket to steam the corn, green beans, red pepper and peas, just until tender. Do not overcook.

3. Put all the warmed vegetables in a large bowl and toss gently with the desired amount of dressing. Sprinkle with some fresh herbs and serve immediately, while still warm.

Salade Estival Sign

 I’m always grateful for the good advice and support of other food allergy parents. Many thanks to you all, and bon week-end!

Recipe: Kohlrabi and Carrot Salad

kohlrabi salad

I served a lunchtime salad today with a new vegetable for the kids: kohlrabi, or chou-pomme (cabbage-apple) in French. It’s apparently one of the first spring vegetables in Switzerland. We see it all over our farmers’ market this time of year, but I didn’t feel compelled to buy any until I saw a recipe calling for kohlrabi and carrots.


Instead of cooking the vegetables for the salad, as the recipe called for, I peeled and grated the raw kohlrabi and left them that way. Also, I cheated and bought two bags of pre-grated carrots from Coop, so it all came together rather quickly.

It seems like I’m throwing almonds in everything I make these days, following my son’s successful food challenge. Keeping with this trend, I sprinkled some toasted almonds on top, which I thought were a nice addition.

While the boys were hesitant to try a kohlrabi salad, the carrots certainly helped make it more appealing. I could definitely see us bringing it on a picnic or two this summer. Like my celery root salad, it reminds me of an American-style cole slaw—minus the mayonnaise and other dairy-based ingredients.

Kohlrabi and Carrot Salad

Recipe adapted from Migroscuisine de saison.
Serves 4-6


6 cups raw carrots, grated
6 cups raw kohlrabi, grated
1 bunch of fresh mint, roughly chopped

4 tablespoons canola oil
2 tablespoons cider vinegar
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1/4 cup apple juice

salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
Optional: toasted almonds

1. Whisk together all the dressing ingredients in a small bowl.

2. In a large bowl, combine the salad ingredients. Add the dressing to the salad, combining until well incorporated. Add salt and pepper, to taste.

3. In a small frying pan, toast some thinly sliced almonds over high heat, tossing them frequently, until they become fragrant and very lightly browned. Sprinkle on top of the salad.

kohlrabi salad with carrots
How do you prepare kohlrabi? What are your favorite kohlrabi recipes? Please leave a comment below or send me an email with the details. Bon week-end, all.


Le Cédrat: Cooking with Bumpy Lemons

Citrus season continues! One fruit in particular often catches our eye as we’re walking through town. My boys and I have started referring to them as “bumpy lemons.”

First, we noticed these large yellow fruits in store window displays. Then, one of my favorite Swiss food blogs wrote about them and their many uses. Finally, our favorite vendor at the farmers’ market started selling them. It was time to try them out!


My 2-year old still calls them “bumpy lemons,” but we know them now as cédrats (Citrus medica). We bought about half a dozen cédrat at the farmers’ market last week that were grown in Sicily. As the vendor weighed out our fruit, he wanted to make sure I knew they weren’t citrons or lemons. I may be wrong, but I think he assumed that as an American, I wouldn’t know the difference between a lemon and a cédrat!

Besides the added texture of the yellow skin and their larger size, cédrats have a much thicker rind than a regular lemon. In terms of smell and taste, the difference is more subtle. Maybe cédrat is a bit more bitter? This could also be my impression because cédrat have a larger proportion of bitter peel, compared to the juicier interior of a lemon.

After careful consideration, I decided to make two things with my cédrats: 1) marmalade or confiture and 2) arugula salad with seared scallops.

Confiture de Cédrat

Making jam always seems like a daunting task, and it does take time. Sterilizing jars, in particular, I imagine as very laborious. However, you don’t have to do this if you make jam that will be eaten quickly—which in my home isn’t a problem!

Here’s what I did, using a recipe from Parmesan et Paprika as a guide:

1. Sliced 1 kilogram of cédrats (in my case, 4 of them) into very thin pieces with a mandoline.

2. Added the cédrats to a liter of water in a large pot and brought it to a boil. Simmered for about 1 1/2 hours over medium-low heat.


3. Stirred in 1 1/2 kilograms of sugar and the juice of one lemon.

4. Simmered for another 30-60 minutes over medium-low heat, stirring often, until the jam began to thicken. When I put a small amount on a plate and it thickened as it cooled, I knew it was ready.

And, voilà! Delicious homemade confiture. We have so much that I’ve been handing out small jars to friends and neighbors. I’ll likely be having some on my zopf for second breakfast again today.


Arugula and Cédrat Salad with Seared Scallops

After making my jam, I use the remaining cédrat to make a savory lunch. During my cédrat research phase, I discovered two recipes for salads that looked intriguing. So, while I was stirring the jam, my dear husband picked up some scallops from our local fishmonger for an easy salad.

I tossed some of the finely shaved cédrat with arugula and a quick dressing: 4 tablespoons olive oil, 1 tablespoon white balsamic vinegar and 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice with salt and pepper to taste. The scallops were cooked quickly with some olive oil, lemon juice and chopped shallots. Before serving, I sprinkled some fresh lemon zest on top.


Citrus fruits are still abundant in our markets. I may need to tackle oranges amères (bitter oranges) next!

Serving Vegetables: Fresh Salads for Lunch

My 2-year old with food allergies can be quite a picky eater, particularly when it comes to vegetables. He rarely eats anything green—unlike his older brother who absolutely loves broccoli. I just started reading the NY Times Motherlode’sPicky Eater Project” series, so I’m hoping to get some good advice! In the meantime, I’ve been serving salads for lunch with some basic Swiss recipes for Sauce à salade from my Croqu’menus cookbook: Italian, French and yogurt dressings (see the recipes below sans dairy, eggs, peanuts and tree nuts).

In the following photos, you’ll notice the Swiss versions of French and Italian salad dressings differ from those in the United States. For example, French dressing in the United States typically has a reddish-orange color, while it’s white or cream-colored in Switzerland.


French and Italian salad dressings in the United States

2014-01-15 17.13.24

French and Italian salad dressings in Switzerland


Salad #1 – Salade Niçoise with Italian Dressing

On Saturday, I made a salad reminiscent of Salade niçoise. Of course, I didn’t have any olives on hand for which this recipe gets its name, but black olives aren’t a favorite in my household anyway. My little guy loves fish, so I used fresh tuna. The Italian dressing recipe, or Sauce à salade à l’italienne, was easy and didn’t make a huge amount, so I will definitely make this again. Thumbs up from both the boys!



Italian Salad Dressing

Adapted from Croqu’menus (9th edition, 2005, p. 163).


2-3 tablespoons red wine vinegar
4-5 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon finely chopped onion
1 tablespoon fresh herbs, such as basil or cilantro
1 garlic clove, roughly chopped
Zest of half a lemon
Salt, pepper to taste

Place all the ingredients into a blender jar. Use an immersion blender (or stand blender) to blend all the ingredients together until smooth. Season with salt and pepper. Refrigerate in a sealed jar and use within 3-4 days.


Salad #2 – Beet, Pepper and Toasted Pumpkin Seed Salad with French Dressing

My homemade version of Sauce à salade à la française took on a slightly yellow hue from the Dijon mustard and tarragon I threw in. We liked this dressing a lot. Even though my oldest thought it was a bit tangy, we’ll make this one again too.



French Salad Dressing

Adapted from Croqu’menus (9th edition, 2005, p. 162).


1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
2 tablespoons white wine vinegar (I used white balsamic vinegar)
3-4 tablespoons olive oil
1-2 tablespoons roughly chopped onion
1 clove of garlic
Salt, pepper to taste

Place all the ingredients into a blender jar. Use an immersion blender (or stand blender) to blend all the ingredients together until smooth. Season with salt and pepper. Refrigerate in a sealed jar and use within 3-4 days.


Salad #3 – Crispy Chicken Salad with Soy Yogurt Dressing

Finally this week, I made a soy yogurt dressing. Unfortunately, this was our least favorite dressing, so I won’t be sharing the recipe. However, the boys LOVED the “crispy chicken” I made—even the picky eater who doesn’t usually eat chicken, unless it’s hidden in something like a quesadilla! This salad will be appearing on our table more often, but likely with one of the other dressings mentioned above.



After many salads this week, I don’t want to give you the impression that my kids ate all their vegetables. My oldest complained about the beets. My youngest wouldn’t touch the green beans. I still think we made some progress though, and hopefully it will continue this year as I push vegetables to the forefront of our meals a little more often and reduce the need for that commonly heard phrase from parents everywhere—“Eat your vegetables!”

If you have any good allergy-friendly, veggie-focused recipes or if you have advice for how you’ve dealt with picky eaters, please leave a comment below. Thanks, and bon week-end, everyone!