Looking around a farmer's market recently, I noticed how the orange bell peppers, Golden Delicious apples and purple-red cabbage echoed the colors of the autumn trees. Their flavors, though, brought together the mood of three seasons: the peppers full of the sweet warmth of summer sun, the apples providing the crispness of autumn and the cabbage the sharpness of winter's chill.

I decided to create a dish combining all three to bring indoors the autumn colors while also celebrating barely departed summer, fall's arrival, and soon-to-come winter. I decided on a salad so cooking would not dim the colors of the bell pepper, and chunky cuts to show off the brightness of red cabbage to avoid the effort of making a finely shredded slaw. I also included some sliced ruby red radishes and a zing of red onion.

Making the salad into a time saving one-dish meal, I added kidney beans. I also tossed in cubes of Swiss cheese, although you can skip them. If using, add the cheese just before serving so it stays firm and does not discolor. Rather than mixing up a dressing for this multi-seasonal salad, I reach for roasted walnut oil, whose full flavor, brightened with a dash of lemon juice, nicely compliments the apple and cabbage. Then, I top off the salad with a garnish of chopped mint. As an alternative, canola oil can be used in place of walnut oil, and a drizzle of cider vinegar can substitute for lemon juice. And, rather than mint, some freshly snipped dill would fit this salad's seasonal theme and taste equally good, too.

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After putting together this salad, I realized that along with its pleasant and surprising combination of flavors and colors, it is also a nutritional powerhouse. In one dish, you get some powerful antioxidants from the vegetables and fruit, protein and fiber from the beans and calcium if you include the cheese. Walnut oil is rich in omega 3 fats, which helps protect many aspects of our health, from heart and cognitive functions to our immune system.

Three Season Red Cabbage Salad

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Makes 6 servings.

  • 3 cups finely chopped red cabbage
  • 1 medium orange or yellow bell pepper, seeded and diced
  • 1 small Golden Delicious apple, cored and diced very small
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped red radish (about 4 large)
  • 1/2 medium red onion, finely chopped
  • 1 Tbsp. lemon juice
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 4 tsp. walnut or canola oil
  • 1-1/2 cups canned kidney beans, rinsed and drained
  • 3-4 ounces reduced-fat Jarlsberg or Alpine Lace cheese, shredded (optional)
  • 2 Tbsp. chopped fresh mint leaves, for garnish
  1. In a large bowl, combine the cabbage, bell pepper, apple, radish and onion. Using a fork, mix to combine.
  2. In a small bowl, whisk together lemon juice, salt and oil.
  3. Add beans to the salad. Drizzle dressing over it. With a fork, mix gently until the salad is well coated. Cover and refrigerate 4 hours to overnight.
  4. Before serving, add cheese, if using. Garnish with mint.

Nutritional Information Per Serving:
112 calories,
3 g. total fat (less than 1 g. saturated fat),
17 g. carbohydrate,
5 g. protein,
5 g. dietary fiber,
568 mg. sodium

Diabetic Exchanges: 1 Fruit, 1/2 Vegetable, 1/2 Fat