Classic side with a unique spin
By Sophie Isbister, Life & Style Editor
Coleslaw, that sloppy mess that you used to eat at summer barbecues when you were a kid, is probably the best-kept secret of the salad world when it comes to a flavour to nutrients ratio. You may recognize coleslaw’s main ingredient, cabbage, from other popular cultural items such as cabbage rolls or gardens where babies are born. In truth, cabbage is fantastic for you. Sure, boiled cabbage dinner is mostly associated with foul-smelling working class fare, but the humble cruciferous vegetable is a ubiquitous household staple for a reason. For one, cabbage is denser than lettuce, probably because it has to carry so many nutrients. Raw cabbage is rich in vitamin C, as well as the antioxidant glucosinolate. Cabbage also contains dietary fibre, the roughage that humans need to eat a lot of in order to keep things running smoothly.
Faced with the truth about cabbage, I started looking for tasty and fresh ways to eat more of this wonderful veggie. That’s when I discovered the versatility of coleslaw. Coleslaw is traditionally made with mayonnaise, buttermilk, and cabbage (or radioactive waste, if we’re talking about KFC’s slaw), but there are several variations to both the dressing and the salad ingredients. Because the relatively neutral flavour of cabbage makes up the bulk of the salad, a variety of other ingredients will complement and enhance the overall taste. You can add sweet fruits like grapes, apples, pears, and pineapples. You can also try nuts and seeds—I’m partial to sunflower seeds, but I’ve had great slaws with walnuts and pecans in them as well. The dressing can also be jazzed up with horseradish, hot sauce, or mustard. For this recipe, I’ve kept it super simple, only adding apples and tasty sunflower seeds.
This salad is dead easy to make—in fact, the hardest part is cutting the apple into small, twig-like pieces. Also, whether or not you decide to use fresh cabbage will play a factor in how labour intensive this recipe is. I’m partial to the store-bought bagged coleslaw mix, which can easily be replaced with a quarter each of shredded red and green cabbage, and a half a cup of shredded carrots.
To assemble, shake the dressing ingredients in an empty mason jar, or in one of those shakers made specifically for salad dressing (who even buys those)? Then cut your additional vegetables into small, matchstick-shaped pieces (it adds to the homogenous texture of the salad). Mix it all up and let it sit, covered, in the fridge for about 30 minutes before serving.
You will need:
1/2 package of pre-cut coleslaw mix
1 Granny Smith apple
1/2 cup sunflower seeds (unsalted)
For the dressing:
1/2 cup mayonnaise
3 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
Salt and pepper to taste