Coleslaw has the ability to make me sad. It should be a refreshing crunchy dish but too often it appears to have been sentenced to death in a minuscule cup, relegated to an unimportant side dish. Coming to think about it, my sparse encounters with coleslaw is – sadly – limited to KFC visits of childhood days and the occasional cafe indulgences. Sometimes the cut is too thick, too thin, the dressing too sweet, too sour, too squishy or too watery. And of course, the dressing is usually a non-vegan, base of mayonnaise and sour cream, which sparked a need to devise a vegan coleslaw that would earn a seal of approval.
A good coleslaw rests largely on two things: good knife skills and a good dressing. I like to shred the vegetables using a mandoline set to the thinness slice (either 1/4-inch or 1/8-inch thick depending on my mood). It is fast and consistent. If you do not have a mandoline, you may also use a food processor attached with a slicing disc, although this tends to produce short and ‘stout’ vegetables instead of long and noodle-like. Of course, a sharp chef’s knife will always work to produce thin ribbons.
Onto the dressing. Cabbage contains a lot of water and the water is drawn out when it comes in contact with salt. Hence it is best to extract the water before dressing the slaw, so that the dressing does not become watery and diluted, and the vegetables stay crisp. It makes a big positive difference to maintain the final taste and texture of the slaw. As mentioned above, the dressing for coleslaw is usually based on a combination of mayonnaise, sour cream. It is creamy, tart, sharp and a little peppery. In the raw and veganized version, the integrity of the texture is maintained with soaked cashews, and the tartness with lemon juice, apple cider vinegar and coconut yogurt. Coconut yogurt works so good with everything from dressings to smoothies.
In my version, I add shredded kale to further amp up the nutrition value. Coleslaw need not be all white and an anemic green. I hope you will enjoy Kale-slaw (pun-intended). I have shared the recipe over at Millenial Kitchen, so check it out! You can find many healthy food ideas over at the recipe sharing site, started by Andrew Davis. Wishing you an abundant 2015 and a year of colorful and vibrant living!
The origin of the word coleslaw is Dutch, coming from the term koolsla, which means cabbage salad. Kool is cabbage, and sla is the abbreviation of the Dutch word salade, meaning salad. The term slaw now refers to to all manners of shredded vegetable salads. Broccoli stems, Brussels sprouts, Butternut, Daikon or Radish can all be made into excellent slaws of vegetal crunch.