Thursday, October 25, 2007


Somewhere along the line, coleslaw came to be defined as a soggy pile of white cabbage dripping with watery mayonnaise. I actually sort of like it on occasion, especially tucked into turkey sandwiches that might otherwise be dry.

But I have recently developed a tastier, healthier and much more colorful alternative. There are several variations to it, but my main idea is simple.

The basic ingredients are shredded red cabbage and carrot. My grater doesn't have a "coarse" plane, so I use a steak knife to shave off fine slices of cabbage, cutting against the grain. As for the carrot, I just use a peeler to make thin slices.

Instead of mayo, I add a generous splash of raw apple cider vinegar and a light drizzle of honey or agave syrup. A touch of olive oil is nice, but optional. A few raisins perfectly counter the vinegar, and I have also taken to adding a few goji berries, a slightly tart Himalayan berry available dried from most health food stores or in Chinatown (more postings on that soon).

It's important not to use white vinegar or balsamic vinegar, as they completely change the balance of flavors. If possible, look for Eden brand apple cider vinegar.
Another optional ingredient is a little diced red onion or a few fine slivers of red bell pepper for a bit of additional color and crunch. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Another variation to keep your tastebuds on their toes: grate in a little orange zest. Not too much, though, or it will dominate.

Store the coleslaw overnight before eating, preferably packed snugly in its container, so the vinegar has a chance to soften the vegetables and plump up the raisins and/or goji berries. It goes great on sandwiches, roll ups, as a side dish, or on its own. It's all raw, full of vitamins and enzymes and 100% free of mayonnaise!

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