Add Toasted Pecans To Your Coleslaw For A Rich, Nutty Crunch

Fresh and full of flavor, it's hard not to like coleslaw. However, if you're not a fan, we have a theory — you have yet to add toasted pecans to your recipe. Since cabbage (aka the main player in coleslaw) isn't the most interesting of ingredients, the onus falls on the dressing and flavorful add-ins to bring a recipe to life. But, while there are endless ways to spruce up the shredded cabbage, tossing in a handful of toasted pecans might be one of the top ways to upgrade coleslaw.

Both creamy and crunchy, coleslaw boasts a variety of textures. Yet, that textural complexity can be further improved with the help of a few audibly crisp pecans. If you're wondering why pecans specifically, the answer is simple. The pecan is a deeply nuanced nut. It's sweet and it's buttery, with a warm richness that also manages to display traces of earthy woodiness and some faint florality. Given this depth, it's only right that pecans be worked into uninspired and bland recipes, including a coleslaw that misses the mark.

Next question, why toast the pecans? Well, it's a process that transforms the nuts tenfold. The ultimate way to elevate pecans' nutty aroma and fully concentrate flavor, toasting also helps to produce a more satisfying crunch. Furthermore, it doesn't hurt that toasting nuts gives them a deeper hue, which makes for a stunning visual contrast when tossed into a colorful cabbage slaw.

Toasting pecans improves flavor and fragrance

Before we get into recipes ideas, let's talk about toasting. For convenience, you can purchase toasted nuts. Otherwise, it's super easy to give pecans a toast at home, and it will take mere minutes. Start by adding whole pecans — chopping them will increase the risk of burning — to a dry skillet. Then, toast them over medium heat, tossing frequently. Note that you could also bake nuts in a low heat oven. Within 10 minutes, the pecans will become fragrant, golden, and ready to pull from the heat.

With toasty pecans in tow, you can think about which recipes will benefit from their addition. Despite that any basic cabbage coleslaw is a good entry point, the potential for pecans is much greater as the nuts can shine in all sorts of shredded slaws alongside earthy Brussels sprouts, nutty kale, or sweet carrots. As for working other ingredients into the mix, consider how flavors will play off of one another. For example, the delicate sweetness of pecans is a perfect match for this maple, apple, and cranberry slaw. Similarly, woodsy pecans emphasize the umami quality in a savory bacon and blue cheese recipe. Alternatively, the buttery nuts can provide contrast in a tangy slaw crafted with citrus and candied ginger.

Regardless of how you decide to incorporate them into your coleslaw, one thing is for sure, a handful of toasted pecans is guaranteed to bring decadence and crunch to any recipe.