Coleslaw

Bowl of Coleslaw
Wotchers!

Coleslaw. A simple dish, but one that can be tricky to get right. And by ‘right’ I mean the way you like it. There are thousands of recipes and styles for coleslaw as well as the dressing used, depending on what your tastes are, so there’s no chance that this recipe is going to please everyone, but I’m going to press on regardless.

This is the coleslaw I like, for a number of reasons: it’s got crunch, its got seasoning, its got a creamy dressing and its simple to make. It also stays crisp in the fridge for 3-4 days, so well worth the effort of making. Now you might be thinking “Effort? What effort? Chop it all in the food processor, surely??” – and certainly that is one way to go, but not for me. If you like your coleslaw with a really fine consistency and you’re going to eat it immediately, then it does make sense, however I find that, after a few hours, vegetables shredded in a food processor lose their crunch and the juices from the vegetables make it all in all rather too soggy. Slicing with a knife is a little time consuming, but for 3 days worth of crunchy coleslaw, its not bad at all.

Another dislike of mine has to do with the dressing – over-greasy, oily dressing is a real let-down as far as I’m concerned, so the dressing I’ve come up with retains some creaminess, but also has a freshness that really compliments the crunchy veggies. As far as quantities go, feel free to double up if you don’t want to have half a cabbage lying around, but be prepared to eat a LOT of coleslaw in the next 72 hours before it turns mushy. Better to wrap the unused half in cling film and make a fresh batch later in the week, methinks.

If (like me) you really dislike runny dressing, one way to minimise this is to only put dressing on the portion that you’re going to eat immediately – store the rest of the prepared vegetables in the fridge, ready mixed in a ziplock bag (press out all the air before sealing). You can keep the dressing next to it in a pot and mix it up as required.

My final pet peeve is raw onion – quite apart from the whole giving you ‘death breath’ aspect, I find it doesn’t take much to become overpowering and upset the whole balance of the dish. Feel free to ramp things up with sweet red onions or even regular onions, but I think this just a hint of spring onion hits the mark perfectly.

I’ve deliberately left out any salt in the recipe – salt draws liquid from the vegetables, so your coleslaw will have a longer shelf life if you just salt on the coleslaw on your plate.

Coleslaw
1/2 a head of white cabbage
3-4 carrots
3 spring onions

Dressing
150ml ‘light’ mayonnaise – I recommend Hellman’s
150ml Low fat yoghurt
1-2tsp freshly-ground black pepper

Equipment
Large bowl
Sharp knife

  • Cut the cabbage into thick slices from root to tip. Remove the hard core. I chop it finely and add to the dish.
  • Shred slices finely. Add to bowl.
  • Peel carrots and cut lengthways into thin slices.
  • Cut slices crossways into small matchsticks. Add to bowl.
  • Trim spring onions, and chop finely. I have a mini food processor attachment that fits onto my ‘stick’ blender which does the job brilliantly – the small pieces giving the mild taste of onion but removing the risk of chomping into a large chunk.
  • Add finely chopped onions to the rest of the vegetables and mix thoroughly.
  • Mix dressing ingredients together until well combined and add to the vegetables a little at a time until desired consistency – personally, I don’t like it to be swimming in dressing, just nicely coated – but you can easily either keep any excess in the fridge or mix up extra if the quantities given seem a bit stingy for your tastes.

Variations: Whatever takes your fancy. For the best success, keep the textures similar. Try shredding any of the following:  turnip, swede, fennel, celery, French beans, runner beans, asparagus, cauliflower.

Cost: £1.40 (July 2011)



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