While I don’t mind mayo, I don’t want it swimming in mayo. Really soupy coleslaw is gross. I like coleslaw to have just a touch of dressing giving flavor to the veggies but not crushing them so they lose their crunch.
Speaking of crunch, I want to crunch and chew my way through coleslaw, not slurp it up.
Coleslaw needs to have some onion background. Not overpowering but it needs to be present. Coleslaw is also more than just cabbage, it can be a great opportunity to introduce some new veggies to the scene!
Now even though I don’t mind mayo, I have started making my coleslaw without. One reason being is that I want to be able to make slaw for my vegan friends and friends who have dairy allergies. Also because I want a slaw that can sit out at a party or BBQ without a time constraint and one that doesn’t strike fear into the very heart of my guests if it has been sitting out.
And finally because mayo, while alright, isn’t really that necessary. Sorry mayo, not this time buddy!
I don’t have an exact recipe for you today, what I do have is more of a concept. This is how I prepare coleslaw and what I like it to contain.
Cabbage: It’s key and it doesn’t matter if it’s purple, green, or Napa. It just needs to be cored and sliced thinly. Use the whole head because it will be delish and you will want extra. Also because the cabbage will start to break down and soften a bit on you due to the dressing, so use a bit more than you think you’ll need. Mixing cabbage is totally okay because everyone is welcome to the party.
Onions: I like red onion because it’s pretty and slightly sweeter than white onion. Slice it as thin as the cabbage.
Carrots: It adds another color and more crunch plus bringing another veggie to the party. I like it shredded.
Optional: Adding in some shredded zucchini or shredded beet. Zucchini brings another texture while beets bring color and sweetness. Just keep in mind that if you do use beets, everything will turn purple. It happens.
Mustard, I love mustard and mustard makes up the base of my dressing. I like to use a combo of whole grain and dijon. Whole grain is spicy adding in some heat along with additional texture while the dijon makes things creamy. Equal parts whole grain mustard with dijon.
Apple cider vinegar because it’s sweet and tart. It just screams backyard BBQ to me. You just need a splash, enough to break up the mustard and make it a little more dressing like.
Cane sugar, just a pinch. Maybe two teaspoons, this will help take out some of the tartness of the vinegar and mustard.
Olive oil, less than the vinegar amount. While most will tell you that dressings call for more oil than vinegar, I don’t play that way. I like vinegar more than I like oil, for me the perfect balance is less oil and more vinegar because I like the tartness.
Salt, just a pinch and lots of black ground pepper. I love black pepper in coleslaw! Add in a pinch of red pepper flakes to help bring out that heat at the end that I mentioned earlier.
Last, dried dill. And lots of it! Dill is amazing and smells like summer. Add it to your coleslaw and you will never look back.
Optional add-in, some horseradish. It blends well in the dressing and gives a nice kick in the background.
How much dressing you need will depend on how much veggies you have. Keep in mind that carrots, zucchini, and beets contain a lot of liquid. If you do use those veggies, they will add liquid to the dressing.
I make the dressing in the bottom of a very large mixing bowl, tasting along the way to make sure everything is tastes how I want it to. Then I add in my veggies and toss till everything is coated. Once everything is mixed, I transfer it to a smaller bowl and allow it to hang out for a few hours in the fridge before serving.
You can serve it immediately but allowing it the chance to sit will help the veggies take on the dressing and mingle nicely.
Coleslaw can be gorgeous AND tasty. Coleslaw doesn’t have to be swimming in a mayo based dressing where you can’t even see the veggies. Coleslaw can be as fun as it can be healthy. Most of all, coleslaw can be whatever you want it to be. Play around with ingredients and see what you come up with!
Enjoy guys! And remember, always play with your food!