This date and feta slaw brings together sweet, tart and spicy Middle Eastern flavors in a unique twist on an old favorite. It is a perfect accompaniment to burgers or roasted chicken or salmon. And it’s a great make-ahead side dish for a pot-luck or picnic since cabbage holds up to dressing very well.
This recipe is an adaptation of a recipe by Smitten Kitchen. With its Middle Eastern flavors, it would pair wonderfully with Za'atar Chicken with Lemon-Parsley Salad. It would also be a surprising and delightful accompaniment to simple backyard burgers or BBQ ribs.
Ingredients for Date and Feta Slaw
You probably already have most of the ingredients for Date and Feta Slaw in your pantry. The fresh items needed are a small red cabbage, feta cheese and parsley and, honestly, the parsley is an optional garnish here more for the aesthetics, rather than the taste.
Quality of ingredients is everything in a dish with so few ingredients. The prepackaged feta crumbles sold in most grocery stores are dry and tasteless. Seek out high quality blocks of sheep feta packaged in brine from Greece or France. My favorite is actually this sheep's milk cheese from Bulgaria, from a company called Zergüt. It's not technically a feta cheese, but the taste is fantastic - creamy and full-flavored. It is available in Whole Foods Markets.
Although a smaller quantity of crushed red pepper flakes can be substituted, Aleppo pepper, with it's not-hot, fruity and full flavored taste, is a spice you should keep in your spice drawer. I love it sprinkled on fried eggs and also on avocado toast. It's wonderful added to spice rubs, such as in this Za'atar Chicken with Lemon-Parsley Salad recipe. My favorite is Premium Aleppo Pepper by SPICE + LEAF.
- red cabbage
- extra virgin olive oil
- lime juice
- sea salt
- Aleppo pepper
- Medjool dates
- feta cheese
- Italian parsley
See recipe card for quantities.
Thinly slice the cabbage using a chef’s knife or mandolin. Avoid the core. You should have 4-6 cups of sliced cabbage when finished.
Add lime juice to the cabbage, along with about ¼ teaspoon salt and the Aleppo pepper. Massage the cabbage with your hands to slightly wilt. Taste and add additional salt, massaging with each addition, until seasoned to your liking.
Add pitted and chopped dates and half of the crumbled feta cheese and toss. Make sure that the date pieces get evenly distributed throughout the cabbage, breaking up any clumps that you see.
Pile slaw onto a serving platter or into a shallow bowl. Top with remaining feta crumbles and chopped parsley and serve.
Hint: Like kale, cabbage salads and slaws benefit from some time in their dressing, to soften them and wilt them down a bit into the perfect texture. If you would like a less crunchy version of this Date and Feta Slaw, massage the cabbage with the lime juice and salt up to one hour before serving.
If you don't have Aleppo pepper, you can substitute crushed red pepper flakes in this Date and Feta Slaw. Keep in mind that crushed red pepper is MUCH hotter than Aleppo pepper, so adjust the amount you use accordingly.
Variations on this Date and Feta Slaw are only limited by your imagination.
- Spicy - add crushed red pepper flakes to add an additional kick.
- Crunchy - add toasted sliced almonds or crushed toasted walnuts for extra protein, flavor and crunch.
- Hearty - add roasted and cubed acorn or butternut squash and you've got a complete meal!
Prepackaged, shredded cabbage can be purchased in the produce section of the grocery store, but often it is dry and tire-looking. Invest in a high quality chef's knife like this Global Model X Chef's Knife, or in a mandolin kitchen slicer like this Mueller Multi Blade Adjustable Mandoline to make thinly slicing the cabbage a breeze.
This Date and Feta Slaw holds well for an hour or two after making it. Cover and refrigerate any unused portions. It will still be tasty the next day, although for me, I prefer it freshly prepared.
Date and Feta Slaw
- 1 small cabbage about 1 pound
- 3 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
- 2 tablespoon lime juice from 1 lime
- sea salt to taste
- ½ teaspoon Aleppo pepper
- ½ cup Medjool dates pitted and chopped
- 4 oz feta or other sheep milk cheese in brine crumbled
- 1 tablespoon Italian flat-leaf parsley chopped
- Thinly slice the cabbage using a chef’s knife or mandolin. Avoid the core. You should have 4-6 cups of sliced cabbage when finished.
- Add lime juice to the cabbage, along with about ¼ teaspoon salt and the Aleppo pepper. Massage the cabbage with your hands to slightly wilt. Taste and add additional salt, massaging with each addition, until seasoned to your liking.
- Add the dates and half of the crumbled feta and toss. Make sure that the date pieces get evenly distributed throughout the cabbage, breaking up any clumps that you see.
- Pile slaw onto a serving platter or into a shallow bowl. Top with remaining feta crumbles and parsley and serve.
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