Tuesday, June 13, 2017
Sun! Glorious, warm, glowing sun! What a wonderful swan song for summer (it is Labor Day, after all. AKA, the last weekend of summer).
This can only mean one thing….I am going to take full advantage of the last cookout get-together of the season by bringing along coleslaw.
While I love the arrival of cooler weather, I’ll miss how effortless healthy eating is during the summer. It’s almost too easy to eat healthy during these fleeting few months. There’s nothing better (and easier) than a big fresh chopped salad, grilled vegetables and fish, freshly-picked berries, watermelon, and cold sangria. I feel healthier just looking at a wooden salad bowl overflowing with heaps of whatever is in season. And one of my favorite foods of summer hands-down is coleslaw.
So, before we all enter into the season of warm, bubbling stews and hearty, (healthy!) casseroles, let’s bid a proper adieu to summer with some grilling and slaw.
Truth be told, I love an old-school creamy decadent slaw. One that is dripping with a tangy vinegar-kissed mayonnaise dressing laced with celery seed. Really, there’s nothing better along side grilled fish, chicken or meat. But let’s face it, this is not the healthiest way to treat a “superfood“, is it? Of course you already know that mayonnaise + summer heat + sitting out on a picnic table for more than 3.5 seconds = not something you want your family to eat, so no need to get into that here.
So, here’s what I like about slaw with a vinaigrette based dressing instead:
- First, it’s versatile. Raw cabbage is the perfect canvas for so many flavors. Seriously, you could pretty much toss cabbage with any of your favorite vinaigrette recipes and be rewarded with a tasty slaw.
- Second, not everyone likes mayonnaise. In fact, a lot of people are completely repulsed by it. While everyone who doesn’t like it has their own reason for declaring mayo the outcast of condiments, I’ve never met anyone who doesn’t like a good vinaigrette. Hello crowd pleaser!
- Third, it’s just safer to serve if it’s going to go unrefrigerated for any length of time.
- Lastly, it lets all of the veggie ingredients shine through. As we ate this slaw, I was struck by how many times people commented about the individual ingredients. They enjoyed finding little unexpected treasures of radish, snow peas and cilantro as they munched. I enjoyed watching them discover a new way to eat slaw.
On the night I came up with this recipe, I was serving it with grilled Vietnamese fish sauce chicken, hence the Asian inspiration. Because the wings had rich complex flavors with a touch of spicy heat, I wanted to keep the slaw light and simple, while focusing on complementary flavors. Of course, I also wanted it to be healthy, so there’s no mayonnaise to be found in this slaw. I added radish and snow peas to the traditional mix of shredded cabbage and carrots and finished it with a bit of chopped cilantro. So good.
Other ways you could use this slaw? As a topping for Asian-fusion fish tacos, as a garnish for fried rice, or add grilled tofu to make it a main course.
servings: Serves 4-6 | time: about 20 minutes plus time to marinade
For the coleslaw dressing:
2 TBSP. unseasoned rice vinegar
2 TBSP. sweet chili sauce
1 tsp. sesame oil
3 TBSP. grapeseed oil
1/4 tsp. ground ginger
Juice of 1 lime
Handful of fresh cilantro, chopped (about 1/3 cup)
For the slaw:
6 large red radishes, cut into matchsticks (about 1/2 cup)
1 cup shredded carrot
3 cups shredded cabbage
1 cup snow peas, cut into matchsticks
Make the coleslaw dressing:
Place all of the coleslaw dressing ingredients in a bowl and whisk well to combine. Set aside while you assemble the slaw
Make the slaw:
Place all of the prepared slaw vegetables in large bowl. Pour the dressing over the vegetables and toss well to combine. You should plan on letting the slaw sit in the refrigerator for at least an hour before serving to allow the flavors to come together, tossing occasionally. Best if eaten the same day it is made (though it will keep in the fridge for a couple of days).