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Classic Coleslaw Plus

Stay away from the creamy stuff and you’ll be healthier and wealthier.

Stay away from the creamy stuff and you’ll be healthier and wealthier.

We often toss the cabbage et al with a bit of mayo, but there’s definitely a place for this old-fashioned, vinegary dressing. What would a picnic or barbecue be without a tub of this frugal, crunchy, cabbage salad?

Classic coleslaw recipes call for white vinegar and are sweetened beyond the bounds of modern tastes. This recipe is updated with apple cider vinegar and cuts the amount of sugar. Although some versions contain no oil, it adds an appealing slipperiness to the texture.

As for the cabbage, it must be shredded properly — or, rather, shaved thinly. Using a long, sharp knife or even a mandolin ensures a better texture than going the faster, food processor route. Processors are apt to shred the cabbage too finely. You may wind up with that sort of ultra-chopped, pre-chewed appearance that makes some fast-food coleslaw so repulsive. Shredding too small also brings out the bitterness in cabbage.

Some cooks add red cabbage for colour, but these red onion slivers look and taste good. Parsley and green bell pepper are not traditional additions, either, but they freshen and lighten this hearty salad.

Truth be told, coleslaw is only good in the fridge for up to seven days. After that, it develops a metallic flavour.

Classic Coleslaw Plus

You can substitute 1/4 teaspoon mustard powder for the mustard seeds.


• l lb (450 g) thinly shredded green cabbage (about 1/2 small head)
• 1 stalk celery, thinly sliced
• 1 carrot, shredded
• 1/2 to 3/4 cup thinly sliced red onion
• 1/2 green bell pepper, cut in 1/4-inch dice

• 1/2 cup apple cider vinegar (or plain white vinegar)
• 1/4 cup vegetable oil
• 1/4 cup granulated sugar
• 2 tsp kosher salt
• 1 tsp mustard seeds
• 1/4 tsp pepper


For slaw, toss ingredients in large tub with airtight lid.

For dressing, stir together ingredients in small pan. Bring to boil over medium-high heat.

Immediately pour dressing over cabbage mixture. Toss and refrigerate, preferably overnight.

Keys to coleslaw
• Small cabbages are better candidates for coleslaw.

• Before shredding the cabbage, cut it into quarters; slice out the cores at an angle. Use shaving motions to shred the cabbage.

• Use a mandolin to get the thinnest slices of celery and red onion. A box grater or food processor is fine for shredding the carrot.

• If you’re in a hurry, you can start with bagged coleslaw mixture.

• You can use white vinegar if desired.

• The cabbage must wilt properly. Immediately pour the boiling dressing over it and stir it in.

• It’s best to let freshly prepared coleslaw sit overnight in the fridge.

• When storing coleslaw, invert the tub occasionally to keep the dressing distributed.

• Serve coleslaw with a slotted spoon to drain excess dressing.

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