Sauerkraut making - introduction to lacto-fermentation

Contrary to what most people think of what sauerkraut and pickles are, lacto-fermentation does not involve vinegar. In fact, vinegar kills the good bacteria that we are trying to grow and eat here! So in this fermentation process, the acid comes from the naturally occurring lactobacilli on the vegetables that have the ability to convert the sugars in the foods into lactic acid.  Lactic acid is a natural preservative that inhibits the growth of harmful and putrefying bacteria and promotes the growth of healthy bacteria. It also increases the vitamin and enzyme levels of the foods.

In this sauerkraut recipe, only 2 ingredients are required - cabbage and salt.

It was April 2nd, my friends Liane and Emma came over for a sauerkraut making party.

We had 5 heads of cabbage. We patiently chopped them into thin shreds and put them in the biggest bowls I had in the kitchen.

We added sea salt to it (about 1-2 tsp for each head of cabbage) and gave the leaves a good massage. The salt draws the water out of the vegetables and creates a natural brine.


The fun part began - we started packing the cabbage down into a 1.5 liter ball jar with our fists to create an anaerobic environment by getting all air bubbles out. You can see that the cabbage was already softening and the moisture was coming out.

 We were pushing and pushing until the brine started to rise to the top of the cabbage. Can you believe that we pushed almost 2 heads of cabbage into this 1.5 liter jar?

Finally after much muscle building exercise, we created these 3 little musketeers, 2 big and 1 small. To keep the cabbage under the brine so that no molds could form, we put a jar filled with water to weigh the content down.

Done! We covered each jar with a cloth secured by a rubber band so no bugs could get inside. The best temperature to ferment sauerkraut is 55-65 degrees and the ideal fermentation time is 2-4 weeks.

For the first couple of days, the cabbage was bubbling nicely - a good indication that the bacteria was feasting on the veggies, producing lactic acid to preserve the food. Now we'll just have to wait!

Summer Bock, a fermentation guru once said, "If I had to pick one thing, one assignment for everybody to go out and do, it would be to learn how to make your own sauerkraut."

Salad Jars

If you want to move away from processed food and gain control over what you put in your mouth, packing lunch to work is the way to go. But who wants to wash and chop veggies in the morning when you are half awake and barely have time to even eat breakfast?

Here is the solution - PLANNING, if you want to win in the kitchen. Make 3 or 5 of these on Sunday night and you'll have lunch the rest of the week. How about too tired to make dinner at night when you come back from work? Pop open one of these and you get something way better than a mediocre take-out.

Will the salad get gross after a few days? Honestly.... I've tried up to 3 days, even the avocados stay fresh in these air-tight jars!

But there is a technique in layering. I am giving you more of a formula than a  recipe. Be creative with your combinations!

Use a quart size mason jar, layer in this order from bottom to top - dressing, hard veggies, protein, grains, soft veggies or fruit, nuts, seeds and greens.  When you are ready to eat the salad, shake and toss and empty content in a bowl. 

Jar Recipe 1:

  • Creamy basil dressing*
  • Radish
  • Carrots
  • Celery
  • Red Bell peppers
  • Cucumbers
  • White beans / chickpeas
  • Avocado
  • Arugula mix / spinach mix
  • Pumpkin seeds / walnuts

*Blend 1/2 cup of olive oil, 1/2 cup of tahini, 3 cups of fresh basil leaves, 2 tsp of ground ginger, 2 tsp of garlic powder, juice form 2-3 lemons, 1 1/2 tsp of salt.


Jar Recipe 2:

  • Thai peanut dressing*
  • Cucumbers
  • Radish
  • Carrots
  • Tomatoes
  • Cooked cabbage
  • Cooked quinoa
  • Tofu
  • Spinach leaves
  • Sesame seeds

*Combine 6 Tbsp of almond or peanut butter, juice of 1 lime, 2 Tbsp of tamari, 3 Tbsp of sesame oil, 3 Tbsp of water.

Jar Recipe 3:

  • Ranch dressing* (Dairy Free)
  • Beets
  • Carrots
  • Radish
  • Celery
  • Cucumbers
  • Steamed broccoli
  • Avocado
  • Cooked lentils
  • Baby kale leaves
  • Walnuts

*Blend 1 cup of raw cashews, 1/4 cup of olive oil, 1/2 cup of water, 1/2 cup of freshly squeezed lemon juice, 1 Tbsp of dried parsley, 1 1/2 Tbsp of dried dill, 2 tsp of onion powder, 1 1/2 tsp of salt.

Noodle-less Pad Thai

If you love noodles but fear carb , here is a perfectly satisfying "noodle-less" noodle-like dish for you.



  • 1 lb ground pork (or other ground meat) marinated with salt, tamari, white pepper and sesame oil.
  • 1 small head of cabbage, sliced into flat noodle like thickness.

Cooking method:

  • In a large pan, add pork, break it up with a spatula and let it brown a little.
  • Add cabbage. Cover and cook for about 15-20 minutes, depending on how "al dente" you like your cabbage to be. Add salt to taste. If there is excess water, cook uncovered for a few extra minutes.

Pad Thai sauce:

  • Combine 6 Tbsp of almond or peanut butter, juice of 1 lime, 2 Tbsp of tamari, 3 Tbsp of sesame oil, 3 Tbsp of water.
  • Pour sauce over cabbage mix, serve with sesame seeds, ground peanuts, scallions, cilantro, lime wedges and favorite hot sauce.


Quinoa fiesta with mango curry dressing

This recipe reminds me of the "sweet curry" U.K. style I used to love when I was a university student in London. It is slightly fruity and not at all spicy. I had something like that at a Whole Foods salad bar and had been trying to replicate it ever since.


  • cooked quinoa
  • quartered grapes
  • chopped mangoes
  • chopped red bell peppers
  • chopped cashews
  • cilantro
  • scallion (or coriander as they call it in the UK)


  • 2 tsp of olive oil
  • 1/3 inch cube of fresh ginger
  • 1 garlic clove
  • 1/2 tsp of curry powder
  • pinch of cumin
  • pinch of paprika
  • juice from 1/2 a lemon
  • salt to taste

Mix everything together. Go easy with the dressing, you might not need all of it. If grapes and mangoes are not ripe or sweet enough, add dried cranberries for extra sweetness.