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Boxing Day menu: James Wong’s tasty cabbage and apple slaw


If you’re anything like me and my family, the festive season revolves heavily around feasting. That said, I know by Boxing Day I can start to crave something fresh, with a bit of bite to revitalise my taste buds.


Look no further than this colourful cabbage and apple slaw from my latest book, How to Eat Better. It’s simple to prep in advance and the perfect complement to roasted meats – be they Christmas lunch leftovers or a glistening ham straight from the oven. For maximum health cred, the secret’s in the slicing − more of which below.


Cruciferous crusaders
While I’m by no means advocating a post-Christmas health kick (well, not yet anyway), cabbage of all varieties is a real nutritional superstar boasting calorie for calorie more essential nutrients like vitamins A. C and folic acid than pretty much any other fruit and veg.


Plus when you swap pallid white cabbage for the brilliant purple kind not only do you get a more vibrant plate of food, but also a whopping ten times the vitamin A, twice the iron and double the antioxidants.


Slice it fine
Slicing cruciferous raw veg does more than just make it easier to cook and eat – it’s actually capable of triggering all sorts of complex chemical reactions which can make it measurably better for you. Even once harvested, veg are still living plants, and they react to this simulated pest damage by attempting to defend themselves. Once their cells are broken open an enzyme called myrosinase reacts with the glucosinolates in the cabbage to kick out compounds called isothiocyanates, which are believed to be behind many of cabbage’s health benefits. The finer you slice, the greater the reaction and hence, a potentially healthier slaw. Plus, leaving cut cabbage for an hour or two before eating provides more time for this incredible reaction to take place – the case for prepping your dish ahead of time.


PREP TIME 10 minutes, plus infusing

200g red cabbage, finely shredded
1 carrot, grated
1 red chilli, finely shredded
1/2 red onion, finely shredded
1 green apple, finely shredded
½ tsp salt
Finely grated zest and juice of 1 lime
1 tsp olive oil
1 tsp sugar


Toss all the ingredients together in a large mixing bowl with your hands to ensure everything is evenly mixed. Continue to massage the mixture, squeezing it between your fingers until it starts to slightly soften.


Cover and leave to infuse in the fridge for 30 minutes.

James Wong, Ethnobotanist

James Wong, Ethnobotanist

Trained at the prestigious Royal Botanic Gardens at Kew, James is an accomplished Ethnobotanist – a scientist who studies how people use plants – and an authority on botanicals. Working alongside our in-house teams, James has the enviable task of searching the globe for the most outstanding naturally active ingredients to include in our range.

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