Tropical Cabbage Salad
When Costa Ricans make a salad, they don’t reach for lettuce: It’s fragile and wilts in the heat. Instead, they go for hardy and long-lasting cabbage. This salad is found just about everywhere in Costa Rica. It is a mainstay of cosado, a common daily main meal that also includes beans and rice, a fried plantain, a tortilla, and a little piece of meat or an egg. It is never laden with the heavy, high-fat salad dressings we’re used to seeing or the mayonnaise we put in cole slaw, the American version of cabbage salad. It is traditionally mixed with but one ingredient: lime juice.
4 cups cored and shredded green cabbage (about half a large head)
4 plum tomatoes, such as Roma tomatoes, diced (about 1 cup)
2 medium carrots, peeled and shredded through the large holes of a box grater
1 large red bell pepper, stemmed, cored, and diced (about 1 cup)
1⁄3 cup finely chopped fresh cilantro leaves
1⁄2 cup fresh lime juice
1⁄2 teaspoon salt
Mix the cabbage, tomatoes, carrot, bell pepper, and cilantro in a large serving bowl.
The salad can be made to this point; cover and refrigerate for up to 4 hours.
Add the lime juice and salt.
Toss well to serve.
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