Wicked Healthy Winter Salads on www.virginiawillis.com

Wicked Healthy: Broccoli Cauliflower Slaw

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Who says salad means lettuce? A typical “house salad” consisting of crispy lettuce with slices of juicy cucumber and chunks of winey vine-ripe tomatoes can be wonderful at the height of summer, but you’re pretty much guaranteed to be disappointed in winter. Ugh. Limp lettuce from halfway around the world, flaccid hothouse cucumbers, and a wedge of rock-hard orange and yellow flavorless tomato. No, thank you. Instead, how about a crunchy, vibrant, zesty seasonal salad that’s good and good for you? Sign me up! 

Broccoli Slaw


I love the word cruciferous. It’s bold just like the vegetables it describes, members of the cabbage family — crunchy, bitter, often spicy, and rarely bland. Think broccoli, cauliflower, radishes, collard greens, mustard greens, Brussels sprouts, turnips, bok choy, and arugula. They’re pungent, and well, ferocious!

Cruciferous or Brassica vegetables have long been promoted as a key part of a healthy diet and are associated with a reduced risk of heart disease and stroke. They are also being studied for their potential role in cancer prevention.

The health benefits are predominantly due to the fact that these vegetables are particularly high in fiber, a type of carb our bodies cannot digest. Fiber keeps our digestive system moving, helps regulate blood sugar and cholesterol levels, and can help keep weight in check.

There’s a small drawback, our stomachs and small intestines can’t absorb some of the carbohydrates. Thankfully, healthy gut bacteria have the capacity to utilize the fiber for energy — but the byproduct is gas. Yep, that means exactly what you think. These healthy vegetables make us pass gas. 

New Year, New You

I know a promise to rooty-toot-toot might not the best set up to entice you to eat this salad, but hey, you can always blame the dog. 

There are many ways of rebooting and adapting to more healthy eating habits. I find WW (aka Wellness Wins and formerly known as Weight Watchers) app works best for me. The great thing about the newest iteration of WW is that most fruits and vegetables are zero points, meaning they don’t count against one’s daily allotment of points. It’s a built-in way to eat more plant-forward meals — including those gassy Brassicas! 😉 

Wicked Healthy Broccoli Cauliflower Slaw on www.virginiawillis.com

Wicked Healthy

Michael Pollan famously said, “Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants.” One of the best plant-forward books I’ve seen in the past years is The Wicked Healthy Cookbook: Free. From. Animals. by Chad Sarno, Derek Sarno, and David Joachim. It’s absolutely fantastic and packed with great ideas and culinary techniques to up your veg game. As the bloody beet on the eye-catching cover may indicate, this is not nibbles of rabbit food and whispers of lettuce, this is full-flavored, bold, and delicious food. The Wicked Healthy philosophy is 80% healthy and 20% wicked, but frankly, I think their food is heavenly.

Their recipe for Asian Broc-O-Flower Slaw inspired my version of this crisp, umami-rich Broccoli Cauliflower Slaw made with meaty miso, rich tamari, zesty ginger, and fiery garlic. It’s a great side dish and will last a few days in the fridge, just give it a good shake before you serve it.

For more great ideas, check out this post for Roasted Vegetable Winter Salad and my Top Ten Helpful Hints for Winter Salads. 

Bon Appétit, Y’all

Virginia Willis

Wicked Healthy Broccoli Cauliflower Slaw

You can either peel the stalks of the broccoli then chop and add to the slaw. I also like to peel them and cut them into "coins' for snacking. One way or the other, make sure to use every bit. 
Prep Time10 minutes
Total Time10 minutes
Course: Main Course, Salad, Side Dish
Cuisine: American, asian
Keyword: slaw
Servings: 8



  • ½ cup low sodium tamari
  • 1 tablespoon toasted sesame oil
  • 1 tablespoon honey, or to taste
  • 1 tablespoon white miso
  • Zest and juice of 1 orange
  • Juice of 1 lime
  • 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes, or to taste
  • 1 teaspoon very finely chopped ginger
  • 1 very finely chopped garlic clove


  • 1 head broccoli, chopped into 1/2-inch pieces
  • 1 head cauliflower, chopped into 1/2-inch pieces
  • 1/4 small cabbage, cored and chopped
  • 1 cup toasted almonds, roughly chopped
  • ¼ cup chopped fresh mint parsley, or Thai basil
  • 2 teaspoons sesame seeds
  • Coarse kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper


  • In a large bowl whisk together all the ingredients for the dressing. Set aside. Add the vegetables, mint, and sesame seeds. Toss to combine. Taste and adjust for seasoning with salt and pepper. Serve immediately. If making ahead, store dressing separate and toss before serving.

recipe adapted from THE WICKED HEALTHY COOKBOOK by Chad Sarno, Derek Sarno, and David Joachim. Copyright © 2018 by Chad Sarno and Derek Sarno. Reprinted with permission of Grand Central Life & Style. All rights reserved.

photographs by Virginia Willis

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Virginia Willis

Georgia-born French-trained Chef Virginia Willis’ biography includes making chocolate chip cookies with Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, foraging for berries in the Alaskan wilderness, harvesting capers in the shadow of a smoldering volcano in Sicily, and hunting for truffles in France. She is talent and chef-instructor for the digital streaming platform Food Network Kitchen. Her segments feature authentic and innovative Southern cooking. She was the celebrity chef at the Mansion at Churchill Downs for the 143rd running of the Kentucky Derby. Virginia has spoken at SXSW, cooked for the James Beard Foundation, and beguiled celebrities such as Bill Clinton, Morgan Freeman, and Jane Fonda with her cooking — but it all started in her grandmother’s country kitchen. Recently, her work has been inspired by her weight loss success story, Virginia has lost 65# and kept it off for over 2 1/2 years! “If a French-trained, Southern chef can do it, you can, too.” She is the author of Fresh Start; Secrets of the Southern Table; Lighten Up, Y’all; Bon Appétit, Y’all; Basic to Brilliant, Y’all; Okra; and Grits. Lighten Up, Y’all won a James Beard Foundation Award of Excellence in the Focus on Health Category. Lighten Up, Y’all as well as her first cookbook, Bon Appétit, Y’all, were finalists in the Best American Cookbook for the International Association of Cookbook Awards and were also named by the Georgia Center of the Book as “Books Georgians Should Read.” She is the former TV kitchen director for Martha Stewart Living, Bobby Flay, and Nathalie Dupree; has worked in Michelin-starred restaurants; and traveled the world producing food stories – from making cheese in California to escargot farming in France. She has appeared on Food Network’s Chopped, CBS This Morning, Fox Family and Friends, Martha Stewart Living, and as a judge on Throwdown with Bobby Flay. She’s been featured in the New York Times, the Washington Post, People Magazine, Eater, and Food52 and has contributed to Eating Well, GRLSQUASH, Culture, Garden & Gun, and Bon Appétit, and more. The Chicago Tribune praised her as one of “Seven Food Writers You Need to Know.” Her legion of fans loves her down-to-earth attitude, approachable spirit, and traveling exploits. Her culinary consulting company, Virginia Willis Culinary Enterprises, Inc specializes in content creation, recipe development, culinary editorial and production services, cookbook writing, media training, spokesperson and brand representation, and public speaking. Virginia is on the Monterey Bay Aquarium’s Seafood Watch Blue Ribbon Task Force, the Atlanta Community Food Bank Advisory Board, as well as the Community Farmers Market Advisory Board. She is a food and hunger advocate for No Kid Hungry and a premier member of the No Kid Hungry Atlanta Society. She a member of The James Beard Foundation, Chef’s Collaborative, Georgia Organics, and Southern Foodways Alliance.

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