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Cole Slaw Trouble-shooting

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How can I make my cole slaw more delicious without mayonnaise? My basic recipie is BORING. We like tangy, spicey food. My experimentatal dressings just didn't blend right with the cabbage.

A goal is to get those good cabbage nutrients without too much fat.

Does anyone have a preferred method for processing the vegetables? Sliced? Shredded? Chopped?

My usual combination:
~5 cups green cabbage
~1 cups carrot
1/4 c apple cider vinegar
2 TB oil (canola or EVO)
1 TB sugar
pinch salt

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  1. Are you willing to substitute sour cream or yogurt for the mayonnaise? Most coleslaw recipes call for way too much mayo, IMO, and I usually cut the mayo amount in half and substitute a low-fat sour cream for some of the mayo. Or...do you want just a vinegar & oil-based dressing?

    For some added flavor, try adding any of the following to your dressing:

    > a spicy-hot mustard
    > red pepper flakes or ground cayenne
    > lime juice, honey, and freshly grated ginger root (or horseradish)
    > hot chili oil or minced serrano chilis

    And I prefer shredded veggies for my coleslaw.

    1 Reply
    1. re: Linda W.

      I usually make what in the delis of my youth was called "Health Salad": shredded cabbage (any variety except red), carrots, and cucumbers, paper-thin-sliced celery, grated onion, julienne or small dice of red and/or green pepper -- in a sweet-and-sour vinegar/water/sugar dressing (no oil at all). That's the basic. Then: julienne jicama, if I have any around; minced jalapeno or serrano peppers, or red pepper flakes; a bit of fish sauce; maybe a little lime juice, maybe some grated ginger, maybe some garlic. If I leave out the sugar and up the red pepper flakes, I think of it as instant kimchee.

    2. I've been trying adding other vegetables and fruits to the slaw this year, like turnip, bok choy, scallions, dill pickles, onions, Greek olives, sunflower seeds, apples, pineapple, etc. Usually not all at the same time. And usually there is still more cabbage than everything else together. Looking at the list, I see that most of the additions are crunchy or somewhat astringent, or both.

      For the dressing I've experimented with anchovies, Thai fish sauce, lemon juice, mustard (both prepared and dry), peanut butter, Tabasco, and garlic. Again, usually not all at the same time.

      The peanut butter worked out very well. I usually do a quarter of a head of cabbage at a time, and for that much cabbage I put in less than half a teaspoon of peanut butter. For me, the taste doesn't really register as peanut butter, but it does give the slaw a noticeably richer, earthier flavor.

      1 Reply
      1. re: Bruce H.

        when no one's looking, i add brine from dill pickles.... i also use pepper vinegar -- just hot red peppers stored in a bottle of cider vinegar. Sugar, Vinegar, Pepper & Salt. The must have's of southern cooking. Jazzes up just about anything.

      2. ...I always put in raisins in my coleslaw.

        1. c
          Caitlin Wheeler

          One option is to take regular coleslaw (I think some mayo is called for -- Hellman's low fat isn't bad if you add lots of extra vinegar) and add Frank's Hot Sauce. It's a great combo.

          My low fat coleslaw is cabbage and carrots (I often use coleslaw mix in the bags for convenience) with seasoned rice vinegar and grated fresh ginger. Another terrific addition would be just a touch of sesame oil or sesame seeds.

          1. This is a great non mayonnaise cole slaw.
            1 head cabbage, shredded
            1 red onion, diced
            1 green pepper, diced
            1 cup sugar
            1 teaspoon salt
            1 teaspoon Colemans dry mustard
            1 teaspoon celery seed
            1 cup vinegar
            1/3 cup salad oil
            Mix veggies. Combine other ingredients in s small saucepan. Bring to boil. Pour over veggies and toss. Cover and refrigerate AT LEAST several hours or overnight. I usually use a little less sugar. Letting sit is important.