summer crunch salad with creamy caesar dressing

summer crunch salad with creamy caesar dressing |

Our refrigerator broke.

On the overnight, all of my produce- my glorious, seasonal produce that I get weekly from one of the most beautiful farms on Long Island froze solid. Everything in our freezer melted too. The kitchen smelled. I’d rather scream my head off right now than type 500+ words (and believe you me- I did plenty of that) but ironically, two interesting recipes came out of this utter misfortune.

You know me, waste not want not.

This is what happens when coleslaw meets caesar salad. 

summer crunch salad with creamy caesar dressing |

I used green cabbage, radicchio, rainbow carrots, and chioggia (candy cane) beets.

Normally, I would just throw everything into the food processor, but I wasn’t sure how that was going to pan out considering everything was rock hard. I left them to thaw slightly. Then, I thinly sliced the cabbage and the radicchio and used my vegetable peeler to shave the rest of the veggies. Because everything was so cold, it was very easy to slice.

For the dressing, I made a lemony-caesar blend with Greek yogurt, instead of mayo.

summer crunch salad with creamy caesar dressing |

A quick note about the veggies:

You might think that eating raw beets is a little weird. I know I always thought that eating raw beets was a little weird. Rest assured, the candy cane variety is mild and sweet. When sliced thin and mixed together in a salad like this, they remind me of carrots. They’re delicious. Give them a try.

What wasn’t so delicious though, was the radicchio (that rhymes!). This particular head was so bitter, it was almost inedible. It took over the whole salad. Use only a tiny bit, or just leave it out altogether as I ended up doing in the final recipe below.

summer crunch salad with creamy caesar dressing | theclevercarrot.comsummer crunch salad with creamy caesar dressing |

When I first started this salad, I wasn’t quite sure what I was getting myself into. I couldn’t handle all of the waste. But surprisingly, it all worked out. Both the cabbage and radicchio thawed out nicely and didn’t turn into into a watery mess. The carrots and beets also held up their shape. I purposely made the dressing thick, so that any extra water from the veggies would loosen it up as it sat in the bowl. Even if I was the only one who ate this (my kids were traumatized) I was pretty chuffed with my new, frozen fridge creation.

Has a kitchen appliance malfunction ever result in an impromptu creation, rather than disaster? Do tell!


  • The key to a salad like this is to slice everything as thin s possible. Use a food processor, mandolin or vegetable peeler, as I’ve done here.
  • If you are not using candy cane beets, substitute with golden beets for a similar flavor. Do not use the purple ones; it will stain your salad (and everything else it touches)!
  • To make this in advance, only dress the salad about 15 minute prior to serving. Any longer and it will start to get watery.
summer crunch salad with creamy caesar dressing
Prep time
Total time
Serves: 2-4
Caesar dressing
  • zest + juice of 1 lemon
  • ½ garlic clove
  • 4 good quality anchovies
  • 2 tbsp. olive oil
  • ½ c. low-fat Greek yogurt
  • ¼ c. parmesan cheese
  • salt + pepper to taste
  • ½ head green cabbage
  • 4 carrots
  • 2 chioggia (candy cane) beets
  • handful of fresh basil leaves
* To make this in advance, only dress the salad about 15 minute prior to serving. Any longer and it will start to get watery.
  1. To make the dressing, add the first 5 ingredient to a blender and run the machine. Pour the dressing into a bowl and stir in the parmesan cheese. It will be thick. Season with salt and pepper and have a taste. Add extra lemon juice if needed.
  2. Cut the cabbage in half and remove the core. Slice into thin shreds.
  3. Using a vegetable peeler, remove the outer skin from both the carrots and beets.
  4. Peel the carrots into ribbons.
  5. Peel the beets into strips.
  6. Add all of the vegetables to a large bowl.
  7. Pour some of the caesar dressing over the top. Using tongs, toss well to coat adding more dressing as needed.
  8. To serve, thinly slice a small handful of fresh basil leaves and scatter over the top of the salad.
  9. Enjoy chilled.


  1. says

    Oh noooo Emilie!! How horrible! I definitely know the feeling of having a freezer/fridge malfunction, I ended up making some sort of vegetable soup with my frozen-fresh (is that a new term?!) veggies alongside a few other dishes from defrosted frozen produce! The soup solution came about as I didn’t think that the veggies would taste so good upon thawing. You’ve proven me wrong though, this looks beautiful, fresh and crunchy. I wouldn’t have known that your vegetables had suffered! Gorgeous photos as always. Hope that your fridge is back in working order now! xx

    • Emilie says

      Ah, yes… fresh/frozen soup! I love it! That is a wonderful way of using up questionable produce. I was actually quite surprised at how well things thawed out. I was expecting a big puddle of slop!

      I hope you and your hubby are enjoying your holiday- I’m living vicariously through you on IG :) xx

  2. says

    Been there with the slow death fridge…the smell and the brown water from the ice maker were a dead giveaway. But you sure made lemons out of lemonade (so to speak)! Now on the lookout for those beets…

    • Emilie says

      Don’t even- it’s like everything is crumbling at once. Ah, well… When you said brown water I laughed, because that is exactly what’s happening!! A new and sleek vessel shall soon be mine ;)

  3. says

    Aw I know how you feel! Even though my fridge works “normally”, it sometimes freezes food if put too close from the back panel… Which is NOT normal I think! I’m sometimes quite afraid to be ill with things that have been frozen, then thawed and frozen again in my fridge without I know about… This ruined some salad several times (and trust me, you can’t save it from turning into a watery mess…) and as for hard vegetables such as carrots or cabage, I just thaw them and use them in soup or stir fries!

    • Emilie says

      Isn’t that just so frustrating?! I can’t stand when food gets ruined like that. And it really makes you wonder- is it still fresh? Soups and stir-fry’s are also excellent ideas. At least I was able to save the hard veggies! We’re definitely looking forward to our new fridge, that’s for sure :)

  4. says

    Great salad. Very creative. I’ve never even thrown one carrot away. (Carrot juice makes a wonderful vinaigrette.) But I cannot get over how gorgeous your photos are!!!!!

    • Emilie says

      Hi Mimi! Oh, good- so I’m not the only one who gets crazy about waste. You know, it’s funny because it never crossed my mind to even use the carrots for a vinaigrette. One of my favorites is a Japanese style one with miso and ginger! How do you make yours? Thank you SO much for your sweet words :) xx

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