Slivered Asparagus and sliced cabbage are blanched to become a bright, pliable and crunchy mix that is bathed in an inventive dressing combining tahini, feta, honey and za’atar spices for a satisfying and tangy salad.

asparagus and cabbage salad with tahini and feta dressing.

When asparagus appears en masse at the grocery store each Spring, I automatically grab a bunch of it. It’s neither a bunch of the big fat stalks, nor the super thin sprigs, but rather, the perfectly sized stalks that taste so sweet and green. I long for a way to eat the asparagus that takes advantage of its pliable nature and also preserves that grassy green color and tender snap. Thus is born a salad of blanched asparagus that is bright green and alive with flavor, something raw asparagus seems to lack. To pair the asparagus with something equally pliable, I choose green cabbage. The cabbage is sliced, and the asparagus is slivered down the middle, which, once blanched, yields a spaghetti-like pairing of vegetables that envelop an inventive dressing of tahini, feta, honey, lemon, and Za’atar seasoning.

bowl of asparagus and cabbage salad with tahini feta dressing.

How to Prepare the Vegetables

The goal of this salad is for the blanched asparagus and cabbage to be pliable, like pasta. The cabbage is sliced into 1/4″ wide strips and broken apart. Each stalk of asparagus is cut down its length, into two strips (three, if the stalks are bigger than what you see here). This may sound tedious, but it took me less than seven minutes to slice all the asparagus stalks.

How to Blanch the Vegetables

Blanching is a method of cooking that just slightly cooks the vegetables so that they are more pliable than when raw. the blanching also makes them a bit brighter than they are raw. After dropping the asparagus and cabbage together in the boiling water, it may take less than a minute to blanch them. Taste a piece of asparagus to see if it is done. It should taste softer than when raw, but not much softer. Drain quickly and plunge the vegetables into a bowl full of ice water, toss to make sure they are evenly distributed and let cool for a few minutes.

Make the Whipped Feta Tahini Dressing with Honey and Za’atar 

This dressing is thick and full of texture. The dressing makes four servings which can be tossed, in its entirety with the vegetables for this salad. But if you prefer a lighter dressed salad, use half and eat the other half as a dip or spread, if you like. Head on over to the recipe for Whipped Feta Tahini Dressing when you are ready to make it. It can be made ahead of the salad, a day or more.

Dressing and Serving the Asparagus & Cabbage Salad

Once the blanched veggies are cooled in the water bath use a clean kitchen towel or paper towels to place them on and roll in, to remove the excess water, then place in bowl and dress with all or part of the dressing. Above you can see the salad garnished with crumbled feta and Za’atar seasoning, and being drizzled with more of the dressing. This salad fills me up like a meal because the dressing is thick and substantial with the tahini and feta. If you have any leftovers, it keeps well for a couple of days. I’ve even enjoyed tossing it in a warm pan the next evening to eat with my dinner. The feta and tahini melt a bit. You just need to heat it over medium-low for a few minutes to eat with your hot dinner.

spooning more tahini sauce over asparagus and cabbage salad.
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asparagus cabbage salad with tahini dressing.

Blanched Asparagus & Cabbage Salad (Za’atar Tahini Feta Dressing)

Prep Time10 minutes
Cook Time5 minutes
Make the Tahini Feta Dressing: 10 minutes
Servings4
Calories73
Slivered Asparagus and sliced cabbage are blanched to become a bright, pliable and crunchy mix that is bathed in an inventive dressing combining tahini, feta, honey and za’atar spices for a satisfying and tangy salad.

Ingredients
 

Method:  

  • Make the Whipped Tahini Feta Dressing, using a blender, food processor or whisk.
  • Bring large pot of water (4qt or bigger, partially full) to boil
  • While the water comes to a boil, slice the cabbage thinly (1/4"), and sliver each stalk of asparagus, in half, so cabbage and asparagus slices/slivers are similar in diameter. I had to sliver some of the stalks into thirds. No need to be fussy about it, just aiming to make them thinner than the full stalks so they are more bendy after blanching.
  • Drop the vegetables into the boiling water and leave for barely a minute. Taste a stalk of asparagus and make sure it has a tender bite, just shy of being raw. Drain the vegetables and immediately plunge into a bowl of cold water with ice cubes in it. Toss the vegetables around in the ice bath to be sure the are distributed in the cool water and leave for 10 minutes.
  • Drain the vegetables, and place on either a clean dish towel or several paper towels, and roll to cover for a few seconds. This will help remove excess water.
  • Place in serving bowl and toss with dressing. Garnish with Za'atar spice and crumbled feta as well as lemon wedges.

Notes

Nutritional Info Notes: this is approximate. One full recipe of the tahini feta sauce has 128 cal (see that recipe). This info is mostly reflective of the nutrition in the vegetables because the tool used to calculate cannot calculate my dressing here.

Nutrition (an estimate)

Calories: 73kcal | Carbohydrates: 12g | Protein: 5g | Fat: 2g | Saturated Fat: 0.4g | Sodium: 24mg | Potassium: 437mg | Fiber: 5g | Sugar: 6g | Vitamin C: 48mg | Calcium: 78mg | Iron: 3mg | Magnesium: 33mg | Net Carbohydrates: 6g
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