If you had met me in the early 2000s, I would have told you I hated roller coasters, expressways, family vacations to Wisconsin, and, with a burning passion, every kind of dog, big or small.
I didn’t like the texture of tomatoes until I grew my own. And I didn’t like hot weather.
But tastes change.
For every example named above, when I was occasionally willing to step out of my comfort zone, my perspectives often changed, and so did my opinions:
An October weekend with some college friends taught me strapping myself into Batman: The Ride and letting it turn me upside down wouldn’t make me vomit. What’s more, it could actually be fun.
A year spent studying in Florida, hundreds of miles from my family and friends, would cure me of my fear of expressways, if only because they were the means to arrive at the white sandy beaches.
Four years away from my family made me appreciate them more, and the vacations that we went on together.
A tiny white Peekapoo named Bailey after my favorite movie character, who loves to sit on my lap while I work (which makes typing an adventure) changed my feelings towards dogs forever.
Just when I am sure I don’t like something, comfortable and certain in my beliefs, I am often proven wrong, my quick-draw character revealed. So it was with coleslaw.
I had always hated coleslaw. There’s this unwritten rule that people always have to bring it to picnics and summer parties; at restaurants, there’s often a tiny container thrown in with sandwiches or fried chicken, which I either throw away or generously offer to anyone willing to accept it.
I tried it once or twice, then wrote it off, uninterested, unwilling to look its way again.
That is, until the latest in a long line of dietary perspective changes.
I was craving something refreshing and light, high on the fresh produce scale but nutritious, without being all fruit (i.e., all sugar).
I remembered my carrot salad, which I half considered making again. But as its only fan around here, I’d be eating the whole batch alone. And then I saw a blog post online that really stood out to me.
It was pretty, and that is important, all decked out with bright purples and oranges, as colorful as the flower gardens outside my window.
(As a side note and just for the record, I have decided that should I ever have children, I will make the effort to make foods pretty because that is half the battle, and I assume this will be the case for any of my progeny as well. Though, if they still don’t want to eat it, I probably won’t force them.)
And so I set to work Sunday afternoon, cutting the original recipe in half, chopping half of a half of a purple cabbage and doing the same with a green one.
In the end, I surprised myself. I’d even say that I liked it: cold and crunchy, simple and sweet.
I ate some that night, alongside takeout, and now I’m off to repeat the process, with a homemade burger I’ll cook on the griddle. Then I’ll probably sit down on the sofa and see what’s on television, dog at my side, feeling happy.Print
Need the perfect side for your barbecue? Make this delicious coleslaw. It’s bursting with fresh, tangy flavors and an addictive crunch.
- Remove the cabbage cores and slice into thin pieces, or shred in the food processor. Place in a large bowl.
- Peel the carrots and chop or shred into pieces of the same size as the cabbage. Add them to the bowl.
- In a separate bowl, whisk together mayonnaise, Dijon mustard, apple cider vinegar, celery seed, salt, and pepper.
- Pour half of the dressing over the cabbage and carrot mixture, and stir to combine. Add additional dressing as desired, depending on your preference and how wet you like your coleslaw. Add the parsley and toss to coat.
- Cover bowl with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 4 hours before serving, longer if you cut your vegetables into larger pieces, allowing the cabbage to wilt and the flavors to meld together.
Keywords: slaw, coleslaw, cabbage, carrot, summer
Cooking By the Numbers…
Step 1 – Chop Vegetables and Measure Ingredients
Wash all of your produce well, and remove the stems from the parsley.
Chop one quarter of each cabbage head into thin pieces, and reserve the rest. You can easily chop them thinner or thicker depending on your preference for the texture of your coleslaw.
Note: you can also use a mandoline to shred the cabbage if you like a fine shredded texture (see more on this below). And a box grater will work on the carrots, just try to hold them at an angle to get long strips. Use the side with the largest holes for this.
Get out your vegetable peeler and peel the carrots, then chop or shred into the same size pieces as the cabbage.
Finely chop the parsley.
Measure out the remaining ingredients, placing them out on the counter in order of how they are listed in the recipe.
Step 2 – Combine Vegetables
In a large bowl, stir together the cabbage and carrots.
Set aside on the counter or in the refrigerator to chill.
Step 3 – Make Dressing
Taste and adjust seasonings to your liking, if needed.
Step 4 – Dress and Chill
Pour half of the dressing over the salad. Toss to coat everything evenly.
Add more dressing as desired, tossing until the coleslaw has the amount of dressing you prefer. If you have any left over, it makes an excellent dip for sliced veggies.
Add the parsley and toss again to combine.
Chill the mixture for at least 4 hours before serving. This is a necessary step to the process so all the flavors can meld together.
You Don’t Have to Chop By Hand If You Don’t Want To
As much as I love getting out my big knives and chopping up tons of vegetables for the various dishes that I make, sometimes I just don’t want to go through all the effort. This is when I turn to a variety of different appliances to make coleslaw a much easier recipe to prepare.
First up is the mandoline. This is a classic kitchen implement that I love to use to get a nice, fine shred on the cabbage and the carrots. If you like thinly shredded coleslaw, this is the tool to use.
Second we have the food processor. I love the magical little wheel that came with mine that shreds up veggies so well – and so quickly. Depending on the model that you have, you may be able to choose between two different sizes on the grating disc, making your shredded vegetables thicker or thinner as needed.
Next, have you considered the mezzaluna? This curved, often double bladed knife is perfect for making chopped salads, and it can make short work of cabbage and fresh herbs.
Finally, there’s the blender. I know it seems odd, but a high-powered blender can totally do the job. Simply roughly chop the cabbage and carrots before adding to the blender, then pulse until the mixture is shredded. Note that this will finely shred the vegetables into tiny pieces rather than long strips.
A plus here is that the cell walls will also start to break down, releasing some water that you can then press through the holes of a colander or fine mesh strainer and then discard. No more soggy coleslaw, and this will result in less time required in the fridge as well – perfect if you’re short on time!
I’ve also heard that some chefs like to actually finely chop and then salt their vegetables, set them aside for about half an hour, then give them a quick rinse and press out the water. Experiment, and see what results in a texture that you prefer.
And for even more summertime cookout side dish goodness, try our recipe for the ultimate loaded potato salad.
Do you like your cabbage thick or thin in a homemade slaw? Are you a lifelong advocate, or do you tend to push this side dish aside? Tell us in the comments below, and be sure to come back to rate the recipe once you’ve tried it.
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Photos by Meghan Bassett, © Ask the Experts, LLC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. See our TOS for more details. Originally published on June 9th, 2009. Last updated: June 23, 2018 at 17:43 pm. With additional writing and editing by Meghan Bassett and Allison Sidhu.
Nutritional information derived from a database of known generic and branded foods and ingredients and was not compiled by a registered dietitian or submitted for lab testing. It should be viewed as an approximation.
About Shanna Mallon
Shanna holds an MA in writing from DePaul University. Her mantra? Restoring order and celebrating beauty through creative content, photography, and food. Shanna's work has been featured in Bon Appetit, The Kitchn, MSN.com, Everyday Health, Better Homes & Gardens, Houzz.com, Food News Journal, Food52, Zeit Magazine, Chew the World, Mom.me, Babble, Delish.com, Parade, Foodista, Entrepreneur and Ragan PR.