Coleslaw is one of those salads you can't imagine having a cookout without.
No matter where you stand on the coleslaw debate—creamy, mayonnaise dressed or vinegar spiked—we can all agree that what makes slaw the perfect accompaniment to summer meals is its refreshingly crisp texture.
The beauty of slaw is that in most cases, it can be made ahead of time: No matter your dressing, slaws evolves as the cabbage and other vegetables are salted, drawing the moisture out. Salting is also essential in achieving that perfectly crisp texture, where the vegetables are just tender but still retain their crunch.
To achieve slaw salvation, let yours chill out in the fridge for a bit, as most slaws benefit from resting for some time before serving. While it's hanging out, the vegetables begin to soften and the ingredients have time to meld together, creating more complex flavors and textures.
In order to keep your slaw in check, taste it just before you serve it, as the slaw might need a bit more salt or acid to bring it back to life. And make sure to add herbs, nuts and other garnishes just before serving, so they stay extra crunchy.
Now that you have the tools and tips, you can shred, grate and chop your way through these five variations on the classic fixing (printable version here).
3 tbsp mayonnaise + 3 tbsp white vinegar + ½ tsp sugar + ½ tsp dry mustard + pinch celery seeds + pinch cayenne + 4 c shredded green cabbage (½ head) + ¾ c shredded carrot (1 large carrot) + 2 tsp salt + 3 tbsp chopped parsley
In a large bowl, whisk together the mayonnaise, vinegar, sugar, mustard, celery seeds and cayenne. Add the cabbage and carrots. Season with salt and toss. Cover and marinate in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours. Fold in the parsley just before serving.
3 c chopped Napa cabbage (½ head) + 2 c sliced fennel (2 bulbs) + ¾ c celery, thinly sliced + 1 c grapefruit segments (2 grapefruits) + ½ c chopped fennel fronds + 1½ c diced avocado (2 avocados) + ⅓ c grapefruit juice (from the 2 grapefruits) + 2 tsp olive oil + 1 tsp kosher salt + ⅓ c toasted and chopped almonds
In a large bowl, combine the cabbage, fennel, celery, grapefruit, fennel fronds and avocado. Add the grapefruit juice, olive oil and salt, and toss. Cover and marinate in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours. Fold in the almonds just before serving.
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1 c toasted and chopped cashews + ¼ c water + 3 tbsp gochujang + 3 tbsp rice wine vinegar + 2 tbsp chopped ginger + 2 tbsp Kewpie mayonnaise + 1 tsp kosher salt + ½ tsp sugar + 3 c thinly sliced bok choy + 2 c shredded red cabbage (¼ head) + 1½ c snow peas, thinly sliced + 2 tbsp toasted sesame seeds
In a blender, blend the cashews, water, gochujang, rice wine vinegar, ginger, mayonnaise, salt and sugar until almost smooth. Pour into a large bowl and add the bok choy, cabbage and snow peas. Toss to combine. Cover and marinate in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours. Top with toasted sesame seeds before serving.
½ head medium savoy cabbage, cut into wedges + 1 leek, split lengthwise + 2 nectarines, halved and pitted + 2 tbsp white wine vinegar + 1 tsp olive oil + 1 tsp kosher salt + ¼ c torn mint leaves + ⅓ c toasted and chopped pistachios
Prepare and oil a grill and set it to medium-high heat. Add the cabbage wedges and leeks, and grill, flipping once, until well charred but still slightly crunchy, 12 to 15 minutes. Grill the nectarines, flesh-side down, until charred and their juices just begin to ooze, 3 to 5 minutes. Chop the grilled vegetables and fruit. Transfer them to a large bowl and mix in the vinegar, olive oil and salt. Cover and marinate in the refrigerator for 1 hour. Fold in the mint and top with pistachios just before serving.
½ c lime juice + 3 tsp honey + 2 tsp olive oil + 2 tsp kosher salt + 3 c jicama, cut into 2½-inch matchsticks (1 jicama) + 1 c radish, julienned + ¼ c chopped cilantro + 2 tsp lime zest
In a large bowl, combine the lime juice, honey, olive oil and salt. Add the jicama and radish, and toss to combine. Fold in the cilantro, top with the lime zest and serve.
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