not your mother’s coleslaw

Memorial Day weekend is just a week or so away, and thus begins the unofficial start of grilling season. So Rosie and I thought a few tasty salads might wet your appetite—salads that make delicious sides for grilled chicken, meat or fish. For the next three weeks we will feature traditional salads, each with a unique twist.

Here is salad number one: Red Cabbage Slaw with Toasted Caraway Seeds. Although I love coleslaw, it gets kind of boring after awhile. So instead of a traditional mayonnaise-laced dressing, why not a simple vinaigrette?! And how about red cabbage instead of green? Add toasted caraway seeds and you’ve got a fresh, tasty approach to an old standby. A spunky, crunchy “coleslaw” that’s easy and darn good.

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Red Cabbage Slaw with Toasted Caraway Seeds

Prep time: 12-15 minutes           Makes 8 servings

2 teaspoons caraway seeds (or 1 teaspoon fennel seeds)
1/4 cup Nakano seasoned rice vinegar, roasted garlic or original
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon Dijon-style mustard
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon coarse-ground pepper
1 small head red cabbage, or 8 cups pre-shredded cabbage
2 stalks celery, sliced
1/2 small red onion, thinly sliced

In a small skillet toast caraway seeds over medium-high heat until they start to pop, about 3 minutes. Remove pan from heat and set aside.

In a 1-cup measuring cup, whisk together seasoned rice vinegar, olive oil, mustard, salt and pepper; set aside.

Discard outer leaves of cabbage. Cut cabbage in half and place cut sides down. Use a serrated knife to thinly slice each half. Cut long pieces in half again. Place cabbage in a large bowl along with celery and onions. Sprinkle with caraway seeds. Drizzle with dressing and toss. Let stand 10 minutes before serving.

Nutrients per serving: 70 calories, 1g protein, 8g carb, 3.5g fat, (.0.5g sat. fat), 0mg chol, 230mg sodium, 1.5g fiber

 An original recipe by Rita Held

 Kitchen Notes:

  • Pre-shredded cabbage is a convenient short-cut. However, it is not as fresh or attractive as cabbage you slice yourself. Slicing your own cabbage is fast and easy.
  • I prefer Grey Poupon Dijon mustard. It’s well-balanced and not too sour.
  • Caraway seeds are versatile for quick breads, rolls and biscuits. They seem to retain their flavor over time (2-3 years) if stored in a cool dry place with a tight fitting lid.

6 thoughts on “not your mother’s coleslaw”

    • Rosemary, I use a serrated knife because it’s easier to make really thin slices for the “shredded” cabbage in coleslaw. I don’t like hand shredders because the cabbage gets too thin and watery. Plus, serrated knives just always seem to be sharp!

  • Hi Rita,
    I tried both ‘not my mother’s coleslaw’ and the Szechuan macaroni salad for Memorial Day. I served them with pork ribs and corn. John, Lisa and Richard liked both of them BUT the Szechuan salad got four stars. There was enough of both for take-homes.
    If I do the ‘red coleslaw’ again-which looked very pretty, I’d cut the slaw thinner and I used just plain Rice vinegar instead of the seasoned or garlic. Didn’t read the directions carefully. Anyway, thanks for getting me to try something new.

    • Hi Susan. So glad you liked the two non-traditional traditional salads. I adore that Szechaun mac salad. I know there’s a serious cook in your family, so I’m glad it passed the taste test. For the coleslaw, yes, for sure slice the cabbbage thinner. That’s why I call for a serrated kinfe; it makes it easier to thinly slice. Hope to see you in Maine in August! Rita

  • Rita and Rosie, I Enjoyed this recipe quite a bit! Used to detest cabbage, but that’s because I’ve only had it in it’s two most common forms: sauerkraut and coleslaw. A few years ago I tried curtido (a Salvadoran cabbage salad) and found it wasn’t the cabbage I disliked, just they way it was prepared. This recipe will definitely be added to my list!

    Can you suggest other seeds to substitute for the caraway/fennel (as a variation)? Maybe toasted black sesame seeds? Thanks!

    • Areta, glad you like this simple un-traditional coleslaw. I suggest either celery seeds, or sesame seeds as you say—black or white. Other seeds such as mustard and cumin are a bit too strong and not a good match with the flavor profile of the recipe. So it’s caraway, fennel, celery or sesame seeds.

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