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Author Notes: To Nashrah and Daniya,
Remember the days when we all used to pile in a car for a business conference road trip? Do you remember the food? Not the overpriced junk food at the concession stands--our food. We were the food-sneaking queens! There was no way we would be tricked into spending our meager college student funds on concession foods. We were prepared--fresh fruit, bread, lettuce, tomatoes, lunch meats, tuna, hummus, and that infamous egg salad--born out of necessity and adopted wholeheartedly.
It started as plain old egg salad--hard boiled eggs, mayo, salt, and pepper. I jazzed it up once by adding cranberries like I did for the tuna salad. Another time I made a desi version with curry spices and cilantro. The next time I made it, we forgot to buy enough eggs and needed to stretch it. Nashrah’s mother was staying with us at the time and helped me shred purple cabbage, green cabbage, and carrots into the mix. Thus, the sweet, crunchy, brightly flavorful egg salad that accompanied us on every road trip since was born.
It's gone through many iterations through the years. There was once when I even made it into a bunny for Easter. ...But no matter how it's changed, the memory has not. One bite, and I'm transported back to younger days with both of you. —Julie
- 8 Eggs
- 2 tablespoons Salt
- Water (to cover eggs)
- 1 cup Purple cabbage, shredded or minced
- 1 cup Dried cranberries
- 1 Carrot, shredded or finely minced
- 1/4 cup Onion, finely diced
- 1/4 cup Cilantro, chopped
- 3-4 Green onions, chopped
- 8 tablespoons Mayonnaise (~1 tbsp per egg)
- 1 teaspoon Dried onion flakes
- Dash Garlic Salt (to taste)
- Dash Black Pepper (to taste)
- 2 Large leaves from purple cabbage (optional - bunny ears)
- 2 Dried cranberries (optional - bunny eyes)
- 1 teaspoon Carrot, finely minced (optional - bunny nose)
- 4 Green onion tips, cut on a bias to be about 3 inches long (optional - bunny whiskers)
- 1 Brussel sprout (optional - bunny tail)
- 5-8 Sprigs cilantro (optional - grass garnish)
- Make your hard boiled eggs. Fill a pot with water, salt, and eggs. Set on stove and hard boil using your favorite method. I like to heat till the water is just starting to boil, slam a lid on top, turn off the stove, and let it sit undisturbed for ten minutes.
- While you are waiting for your eggs, prep the vegetables. Take the purple cabbage (if you want to create the bunny look, reserve two--or more in case you're afraid of making a mistake--large, pretty leaves for the ears). Shred or mince the rest to make 1 cup or so for the salad. If I'm lazy, I sometimes just do this entire process in my food processor. Put your shredded or minced cabbage in a large mixing bowl.
- Take your carrot and shred it. If you're using the food processor, toss it in and blitz it up. Add it to the large mixing bowl.
- Finely dice your onion and add it to the large mixing bowl.
- Cranberries can either be added whole, or you can give them an extra run through with your knife or whirl in your food processor if you like smaller pieces. I make it both ways depending on how I'm feeling. Add the cranberries to the large mixing bowl.
- Chop up the green onions and cilantro (if you are making the bunny, reserve some for whiskers and garnish). Add your chopped greens to the large mixing bowl.
- The eggs should be done cooking by the time you've prepped your vegetables. Plunge the eggs into icy cold water to halt the cooking process and make them easier to peel.
- Peel eggs and dice using an egg slicer, your knife, or smash it with a fork. It doesn't have to be pretty. Put your egg pieces into the large mixing bowl.
- Add mayonnaise, onion flakes, garlic salt, and black pepper. Mix and taste. Adjust seasonings to taste. (If I'm feeling feisty, I will sometimes add a curry powder in at this stage.)
- If you are not making the bunny, you are done! It does taste better after sitting for a day to let all the flavors meld, but it's perfectly fine to eat right away as well. Enjoy your egg salad on crackers, in a sandwich, or in furtive spoonfuls sneaked out of the fridge.
- If you've decided to make an adorable egg salad bunny, get a medium sized round mixing bowl and a smaller bowl (I think I used a plain old cereal bowl for my small bowl). Fill both bowls with egg salad and then invert onto a plate to create the body (from the bigger bowl) and the head (from the smaller bowl). It should look a bit like an unadorned snowman on a platter.
- Take those two beautiful purple cabbage leaves (you chose the prettiest ones, right?) and slice them into long, triangular shapes for the ears. Poke the ends of the ears into the top of the head, so that they drape back across the body.
- Place two cranberries on the head to create eyes.
- Sprinkle the minced carrot into a triangle shape for the nose. Judicious nudging with a skewer or toothpick is helpful here.
- Take your green onion tips and cut them on a bias, so that they're long and slightly angled at the ends. Insert two on each side of the nose to create whiskers.
- Wash your brussel sprout and place it on the back of the body as a tail.
- Use sprigs of cilantro and any leftover green onion to decorate the plate like Easter grass.
- Hop to it and devour that egg salad on crackers, chips, crostini, or from the spoon!