Lynda Balslev: End of summer slaw
It’s officially the end of summer. A change of seasons is always a good time to switch gears and do a little cleaning — consider it a spring clean, but in the fall — and nothing too taxing, mind you; we’re all under a little stress these days. A simple project will feel like an accomplishment, such as cleaning out your refrigerator. This was my inspiration when I did just that and made this slaw.
It’s amazing (and potentially alarming) what can be discovered in the depths of a refrigerator. One thing that became clear to me is that sturdy greens and crucifers have a long storage life. A quarter head of cabbage here, a lone broccoli spear there, not to mention a few shockingly pretty rainbow carrots that were stashed for later use (and promptly forgotten) remained bright and crisp.
All of these veggies, from cabbage, to crucifers, to chicories and roots are perfect ingredients in coleslaw. Not only do they have hearty flavors that stand up to bright dressings, but they hold their satisfying crunch and won’t easily wilt.
This coleslaw is substantial, and while it’s the tail end of the summer season, it’s equally suited for a fall barbecue and more meaty cool-weather meals. Use the recipe as a guide to use up whatever is in your refrigerator; there is no set rule on the ingredients. With that said, however, choose ingredients that are crisp and sturdy, and try to include a balance of flavors, from earthy and peppery to sweet. Jazz up the color varieties, too, if you can — it will be easy on the eyes.
This salad bowl includes red cabbage, daikon radish, sweet carrots, red bell pepper and a broccoli spear (I told you this was a refrigerator cleanout). And, yes, that’s a broccoli stalk in the mix, which happens to be an excellent addition to a slaw. Just be sure to peel the tough outer skin before you shred or cut it.
As for the dressing, feel free to adjust the seasonings to your taste. I grew up eating mayo-heavy slaws, and while there’s nothing wrong with these creamy renditions, I prefer the lighter oil-and-vinegar versions.
End of Summer Slaw
Active Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 15 minutes
Yield: Serves: 4 to 6
2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1 tablespoon fresh orange juice
1 tablespoon whole milk yogurt
2 teaspoons sugar
1/2 teaspoon Sriracha
1/2 teaspoon salt, or more to taste
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 medium head red cabbage, cored and thinly sliced
2 carrots, shredded
1 4-inch (approx.) daikon radish, peeled, shredded
1 small red bell pepper, thinly sliced
1 broccoli spear, florets chopped, stalk peeled and shredded
2 green onions, thinly sliced
Whisk the dressing ingredients together in a small bowl.
Combine the slaw ingredients in a large bowl. Pour half of the dressing over and toss to coat. Add more dressing to your desired taste and taste for seasoning. Refrigerate for at least 1 hour before serving.
Lynda Balslev is a cookbook author, food and travel writer, and recipe developer based in the San Francisco Bay Area.
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