My 5-year old son tried coleslaw for the first time the other day, and he absolutely loved it! I seriously don’t know what took me so long. He generally loves crunchy vegetables, and enjoys dipping cucumber and raw carrot sticks in Japanese goma dressing or Korean bean paste, arugula in vinegrette and chomping on the cold iceberg lettuce cups in Chinese restaurants that are served with steamed ginger chicken. As any mother would be, I’m thrilled by his enthusiasm about raw cabbage and carrots! But instead of drenching the vegetables in store-bought dressing, I tried my hand at making my own, and am happy to report that the slaw was a roaring success.
I must admit that I’m hardly a coleslaw fan. It is on my “never order” list when eating out, but my hubby adores that stuff. I would only take small bites off my hubby’s plate, and have so far not encountered even one that I really fancied. I’m not even nostalgic about the classic KFC version, which my hubby calls, “da bomb”. I guess it’s because my ideal coleslaw has to be fresh and zingy, and the ones out there are often overly creamy, soggy and heavy. I never thought I’d use the word healthy in the same sentence as slaw, but here we go. This recipe actually makes light and healthy slaw! Slaw that I can eat a bowlful of, without any guilt. Which was exactly what my hubby and I did for dinner a few nights ago, with a roasted chicken thrown in for good measure.
I made two versions for this post. One classic (main picture), and one with beetroot grated in (below). The tanginess of the Greek yogurt works very well to balance out the earthiness of raw beets. The only thing to note is that you might need to make one and a half times the dressing if you’re adding the beetroot. The salad can be sweetened with grated apple or raisins, which break the monotony with a burst of flavour added to each bite. I have heard many say that coleslaw is perfect picnic food. I never appreciated why, until now. Imagine having a plate heaped with this crunchy slaw, with a few slices of smoked salmon draped over, a couple of sticky glazed pork ribs, some good, crusty bread on the side, plus a glass of chilled rosé or iced tea in your hand. You’re sitting on the grass, legs out-stretched and watching the kids (and/or dogs) play as the sun slowly sets. Now all I need is a cooler box, and I’m ready to go.
½ cup Greek yogurt
2 tbsp wholegrain mustard
2 tbsp lemon juice (about ½ a lemon)
sea salt and black pepper to taste
1 small head of cabbage, finely sliced
2 large carrots, coarsely grated
2 sprigs of spring onion, sliced into 1-cm pieces
1 small beetroot, peeled and coarsely grated (optional)
1 crunchy apple, cored and coarsely grated (optional)
a large handful of raisins (optional)
In a large mixing bowl, stir together the Greek yogurt, wholegrain mustard, lemon juice, salt and pepper.
Tumble in cabbage, carrots and spring onion (plus apple, beet and raisins, if using). With you hands or tongs, toss vegetables in dressing until every strand is coated.
Cover with clingfilm and let the salad sit in the fridge for at least 30-min before serving. This will keep in the fridge for a day. Just before eating, taste again and add more seasoning or lemon juice if necessary. Enjoy cold!