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Ideas for Improving Commercial Coleslaw?

I find it interesting and frustrating that 99%(this is a guess) of retail and commercial coleslaw tastes like it was made w/ Ken's Coleslaw Dressing. Mayo, sugar, vinegar , onion juice?

And that same coleslaw is , 99% of the time, the only crunchy vegetable salad option that's part of the deal when you purchase deli sandwiches, etc.

So, we recently ended up w/ a bunch of it, and i started thinking about how I could make it appealing.......(btw, ours does not seem to have horseradish in it.) I mean, cabbage IS of nutritional value, yes?(I haven't researched it yet) Or is it mostly just good as roughage? Commercial colelaw does seem to have an infinite refrig. shelf life.....

In my one riff today, I started with draining it in a colander and even rinsing off some of the mayo. To a cup of it i added some bottled pure chipotle sauce and some ground toasted cumin and a little sherry vinegar. Pretty good, but i'm sure it could be alot better. Maybe cilantro and toasted sunflower seeds? Have any of you talented CHs done some interesting revisions?

So far, i'm thinking about (separately) beets, edamame, julenned snow or sugar snap peas, bacon, julenned spinach ,lovage,..........................Hmmmm, what about cantalope or watermelon w/ mint?
I don't think basil, rosemary or olives would be compatible.

I'd prefer to stay away from starches, but maybe mixing it w/ a lesser amount of a brown rice and wheatberry salad w/ cranberries and walnuts......

(Indians would prob have a fine time sauteeing and adding it to cubed potatoes with black mustard seed and spices, but i'm looking for crunchy veggie salads.)

Thx much for your thoughts.

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  1. Celery seed really dresses up my coleslaw.

    1 Reply
    1. re: phantomdoc

      Agreed! I don't know what it is about celery seeds, but they do improve the flavor of many side dishes.

    2. When faced with commercially made coleslaw, I usually rinse the stuff, to get rid of too much sugar in the dressing. Sometimes you can find a dressing with a vinegar based dressing,which I like better. But I still rinse it out.

      2 Replies
      1. re: sueatmo

        Yes, it's the sugar that ruins this commercial coleslaw...AND the fact that they ONLY use the white part of the cabbage instead of mixing in the lovely darker green parts....total YUCKY glop. Such a shame to ruin such a nutritious member of the brassica family...cabbage is a total nutrition powerhouse, opinionatedchef. Any cruciferous veggies are top-notch for nutrition.
        I like the idea of the celery seeds...you could go a different way and add some lovely fresh cilantro and lime juice (to cut that damned sugar a bit) and even a little salsa.

        1. re: Val

          Good ideas. I like the idea of using celery seeds. Or you could use some dried dill instead.

      2. my family loves it the way it is! Maybe add a diced granny Smith apple though. Or rinse it off, and use Cesar salad dressing, and halved cherry tomatoes.

        3 Replies
        1. re: mariars

          I've been adding applesauce to my homemade slaw, it's a really nice addition.

          1. re: coll

            Never in a zillion yrs would i have thought of that! what fun!

            1. re: opinionatedchef

              I had some at a BBQ place that I fell in love with, and tasted apple in some fashion. A few Tablespoons of applesauce were perfect.

        2. " started with draining it in a colander and even rinsing off some of the mayo."
          So now we have washed chopped cabbage (and perhaps a few bits of carrot or whatever else they included in the mix) into which we add our own dressing.
          Seems simpler to me to tell the deli to keep their commercial stuff then chop up some cabbage and make my own. It certainly wouldn't take any more time than washing and draining the commercial stuff and adding my own dressing.

          2 Replies
          1. re: todao

            Grated horseradish and pineapple. It is believed to be the secret ingredients in the slaw that a local deli makes.

            1. re: todao

              I agree but sometimes you are faced with a situation.

            2. Add chopped broccoli, sunflower seeds and rasins or cranberries. I like that crunchy salad sweet.