Karen Barnaby: 3 easy coleslaw recipes that are perfect for summer

With barbecue season ramping up and potlucks on the horizon, you can thrill the crowd with your coleslaw magic.

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Do you have a list of small and unimportant things that drive you crazy? So do I. On my list is letting the garbage bag slip down into the can and not adjusting it, not stuffing the soiled laundry all the way into its receptacle, and coleslaw soup.

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Coleslaw soup is created when the salt in the dressing pulls water out of the cabbage, diluting the flavor of the slaw and turning it into soup. What may have started out as a deliciously seasoned coleslaw starts to lose its punch after a few hours, becoming progressively soupier and blander as it sits.

It doesn’t have to be this way.

Coleslaw is in a class of its own. It’s a salad, a condiment, and can also be the base for a meal. One of my favorite quick meals is a slaw with Thai seasonings – fish sauce, mint, cilantro, lime juice, green onions and chilies – tossed with leftover beef, chicken or pork.

Wherever there’s cabbage, there’s slaw. In Sweden, a tango vinaigrette version known as pizzasallad is served with pizza. Curtido is a popular Central American condiment – part slaw, and part pickle that you find on restaurant tables to use as you wish on your pupusas and other dishes. Queensland, Australia, has cheese slaw, a creamy-style slaw with cheddar cheese that is popular on barbecued chicken.

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Soupy coleslaw is easily rectified by salting the cabbage to extract the water, then dressing it. It softens the cabbage, removes any harsh flavors, and renders it succulent yet crunchy.

With barbecue season ramping up and potlucks on the horizon, you can thrill the crowd with your coleslaw magic.

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Preparation Basics

Cut the cabbage into four wedges and remove the core from each wedge. To make the cabbage easier to slice by hand, separate the inner portion of leaves from the outer portion. Place the outer portion curved side up on a cutting board and lightly smack it to flatten it out. Slicing the cabbage on an angle instead of straight across will give you pieces of uniform length. The inner portion is small, manageable, and easy to slice.

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If you use a mandoline, there’s no need to separate the cabbage.

To each pound of sliced ​​cabbage add 1-1 / 2 tsp (7.5 ml) table salt. Massage the salt into the cabbage and let it sit for half an hour. Rinse well and drain. Taste a piece to determine if it is at an acceptable salt level for you. Continue rinsing if salty, or move on to squeezing the water out with your hands if it’s good. The drier it is the better. Proceed with the recipe.

Taste the slaw before serving and make any taste adjustments you think it needs.

Green Goodness Slaw

This TikTok viral salad from Baked By Melissa has spawned many variations and many people enjoy it as a “dip” with tortilla chips. This is my take on it. If you’re allergic to nuts, you can substitute 2 tbsp (30 ml) tahini.

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1 lb (500 g) green cabbage, approximately 6 cups (1,500 L) after chopping

1/2 medium English cucumber

2 thinly sliced ​​green onions

4 tbsp (60 ml) lime juice

4 tbsp (60 ml) extra-virgin olive oil

1 cup (250 mL) fresh basil leaves, packed

1 cup (250 mL) fresh spinach leaves, packed

2 cloves garlic, smashed

1/4 cup (60 mL) raw cashews or almonds

1/4 cup (60 ml) nutritional yeast

1/2 tsp (2.5 ml) salt

1 ripe avocado, peeled and sliced ​​or diced

Chop the cabbage finely into 1/8 to 1/4-inch (0.6 cm) pieces and prepare according to Preparation Basics above.

Split the cucumber lengthwise and remove the seeds. Dice into 1/8 to 1/4-inch (0.6 cm) pieces and transfer to a bowl. Add the 1/4 tsp (1 ml) salt and mix well. Let rest along with the cabbage for half an hour. Drain the cucumber well and squeeze out the water. Do not rinse. Combine with the prepared cabbage and green onions.

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Place the lime juice, olive oil, basil, spinach, garlic, cashews, yeast and salt in a blender. Blend until smooth and add to the cabbage mixture. Mix well and correct the salt. Garnish with the avocado before serving.

Makes 4-6 services.

Spicy Honey Mustard Slaw

This chunky style slaw is great with burgers, hot dogs, pulled pork and ribs.

1 lb (500 g) green cabbage, approximately 8 cups (2 L) after slicing

1/2 cup (125 ml) coarsely shredded carrots

1/4 cup (60 mL) mayonnaise

2 tbsp (30 mL) Dijon mustard

1 tbsp (15 mL) coarse grained mustard

1 tbsp (15 mL) honey, or more to taste

1/4 tsp (1 ml) Tabasco sauce, or more or less to taste

1/4 tsp (1 mL) caraway or celery seeds, if desired

salt to taste

Slice the cabbage into 1/4-inch (0.6 cm) strips and prepare according to Preparation Basics above.

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Mix mayonnaise, Dijon mustard, grain mustard, honey, Tabasco and caraway seeds, if using, in a large bowl. Add the prepared cabbage and carrots. Mix well and correct the salt. Cover and refrigerate for at least an hour.

Makes 4-6 services.

Lebanese-Style Cabbage Salad

Tart, and fragrant from the mint, this goes well with any simply prepared protein. You can add a sprinkling of feta if you like.

1 lb (500 g) green cabbage, approximately 8 cups (2 L) after slicing

1 medium tomato, halved and thinly sliced

2 green onions, thinly sliced

2 tbsp (30 ml) extra-virgin olive oil

2 tbsp (30 ml) lemon juice

2 garlic cloves, finely minced

2 radishes, thinly sliced

1/4 cup (60 ml) chopped fresh parsley

1/4 cup (60 mL) chopped fresh mint

salt to taste

Slice the cabbage into 1/8-inch shreds and prepare according to Preparation Basics above.

Place the olive oil, lemon juice and garlic in a large bowl. Add the prepared cabbage, tomato, radishes, parsley, and mint. Mix well and correct the salt. Serve right away or refrigerate.

Makes 4-6 services.

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