I wasn’t sure if this recipe would be interesting enough to do a whole post on but then I thought wtf and did it anyway. I grew up not liking coleslaw because all it was back then was overly mayonnaise-saturated cabbage and carrots and who want to be a part of that? It also got quite soggy which is another reason I wasn’t keen. I can kind of buy into this mayo-laden soggy slaw when its slapped onto an incredibly crunchy fried chicken sandwich or something similar and then the slaw almost forms a sauce, but I wouldn’t want to eat it on its own.
If I am not making my all time best crunchy noodle slaw (please ignore the shocking photo on that post) which has an Asian flavour, I want to make this. I think this slaw is pretty epic and I deviate from the basic recipe depending on what I have available in the fridge. The most important thing is it needs to be super crunchy and have lots of different vegetables. Think beyond just carrot and cabbage here. If you want to get really serious about the crunch you can soak your julienned vegetables in a bowl of iced water to crisp them up further, but I generally don’t bother with this and ensure that I only dress it with the bare minimum amount of dressing and just before I want to serve or eat it.
A mandolin is your friend with this and I use one to slice all the vegetables before cutting them by hand into julienne strips. This makes it easier and keeps the shape uniform. I love to use golden beetroot instead of carrots, but carrots are also cool. Purple beets are going to mess up your salad something chronic. Don’t do it! I’ve added a little fennel because I’m rather obsessed with it these days, but not too much as you don’t want the aniseed flavour to dominate. Kohlrabi is the next must-add vegetable. I like onion in the slaw and add a little red onion as well as sliced spring onions. One or the other is also fine. Apple is the other important component because it gives the slaw sweetness. Granny Smith or pink crisp are my faves to use and from a herb perspective, I’m a fan of adding chopped coriander. You will see with my dressing flavours why this works so well but you would leave this out completely.
So once you have resigned yourself and get into the zone with all the peeling and chopping – it’s very therapeutic by the way, you are good to go. My dressing has mayonnaise, lemon zest, lemon juice, crème fraiche, chipotle and chimichurri (but this is entirely optional). The mayo would be better if you made it yourself and I have a fantastic recipe that is super easy and popular on this site so check it out here. Otherwise, I like Hellman’s light (only because I try to save calories where I can and the light is good enough even though the full fat is better). I generally add about the same quantity of crème fraiche to mayo ratio and I love that it lightens things up. If you dot have crème fraiche just roll with all mayo but make it a good quality version along with the French spectrum vs. salad cream, which is not going to deliver the flavours, I’m going for here.
I grate in some lemon zest and add some of the juice (not too much). I made my own chipotle in adobo sauce which has lasted me a couple of years and is so damn delicious but otherwise bought is fine or use a few drops of your fave chipotle flavoured hot sauce. I’ve taken to adding a teaspoon of chimichurri because I generally always have a jar lurking around my fridge for my chicken mayo sandwiches and I love it so much. Once again make it if you can and it lasts for ages (my latest version vs the recipe on the link back there generally always has mint in it and is more chunky).
Mix all the dressing ingredients, season with salt and maybe some pepper and then I add a good few drops of white wine vinegar to give it all a wake-up call. Trust me on this, it really adds zing.
I’m not goings give exact quantities to this salad because you can just put it all together according to your taste, But I do hope I’ve inspired you to make a slaw beyond just cabbage and carrots.
Epic coleslaw dressing recipe
1/3 cup good quality mayonnaise such as Hellman’s
1/3 cup crème fraiche
Zest of half a small lemon
1 Tbs freshly squeezed lemon juice
1-heaped tsp minced chipotle in adobo sauce
1 tsp chimichurri (optional)
1 tsp white wine vinegar
Salt and pepper
Mix all of the above together and adjust quantities of any of the ingredients to your taste preference. Make a bigger batch if you are making a bigger salad.
List of vegetables I love to use in my epic slaw:
Cabbage (red or white)
Carrots or golden beetroot or both
Coriander / cilantro
A few of other salads with some crunch:
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