Show Stealin’ Slaw

June 11, 2008

Do you ever feel bad for coleslaw? It’s always upstaged by its meatier counterparts on the picnic table—always invited but never the guest of honor. It wilts in the heat, growing more sad looking with each rising degree or passing minute. It doesn’t even warrant two whole syllables, instead being truncated to simply: slaw. Given this sad state of affairs, I usually heap a spoonful onto my plate at a BBQ, purely out of pity. And then I nudge the mound around my plate, trying to staunch the flow of its mayo-y rivulets from dampening the bun upon which my burger sits. And, inevitably, the slaw goes mostly uneaten.

I think cabbage deserves better, frankly. So I’m happy to bring you a slaw recipe that will prompt you to sit up a little bit straighter when you take a crunchy bite, wondering what exactly has imparted the faint heat (cayenne) or the sweet snap (granny smith, julienned). And it won’t suffer from the pitfalls of so many slaws before it: saccharine amounts of sugar, insipidly diluted mayo and a pale green color palette. Instead, it gets a tangy perk from Greek yogurt and a flavor boost from the toasted caraway seeds and an eye catching addition of red cabbage strands.

(Click “more” for the rest of the story, more photos & the recipe.)

Even better, we—Kevin, me and our favorite cards partners—piled this slaw high atop pulled pork-style sandwiches last week. It was the kind of night that was made for coleslaw, with its warm breeze, a late sunset and cold beers. And I took secret pleasure in the fact that, for at least one night, the slaw stole the show.

Crunchy Coleslaw with Cayenne and Toasted Caraway Seeds
Adapted from Food & Wine

One 3-pound head of green cabbage, cored and finely shredded
One 2-pound head of red cabbage, cored and finely shredded
Kosher salt
1 teaspoon caraway seeds
1 teaspoon celery seeds
1/2 cup water
1 cup Greek yogurt
1/2 cup heavy cream
2 to 3 tablespoons sugar (to taste)
1/2 small onion, minced
2 garlic cloves, minced
3 tablespoons cider vinegar
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 large Granny Smith apple, cut into 1/4-inch matchsticks
1/2 cup chopped flat-leaf parsley

Put the shredded green and red cabbage in two large colanders and toss each with 1 teaspoon of salt. Let drain in the sink for 2 hours. Pat the cabbage dry.

In a small, dry skillet, toast the caraway and celery seeds over moderately high heat until fragrant, about 20 seconds. Add the water and let cool.

In a blender, combine the yogurt, cream, sugar, onion, garlic, vinegar, lemon juice, cayenne and black pepper. Pour in the caraway and celery seeds and their liquid; blend until the dressing is smooth.

In a large bowl, combine the green and red cabbages, apple and parsley; toss with the dressing. Season with salt.

7 Responses to “Show Stealin’ Slaw”


  1. I love that it has no mayo. The mayo plus the sweetness always seems to turn me off. I cannot even take a pity scoop!

  2. eggsonsunday Says:

    When I saw the title of this post, I thought to myself “I wonder if she used Greek yogurt?” Happy day! I love the combination of the cabbages and granny smith apples — I’m definitely going to make this! –Amy

  3. Maggie Holt Says:

    I had to hold myself back from eating all of the leftovers at one time! It actually got a little spicier the day after which made it even more delicious!

  4. Brynn Says:

    Your slaw sounds delicious and refreshing. Certainly an upgrade from whatever they try to pass along as coleslaw in the grocery store deli case. My only question – when do we get to hear about these pulled pork sandwiches??

  5. diane (mom) Says:

    This will definitely be a 4th of July addition,never knowing exactly when the dinner hour will be.Thanks! Mom

  6. Kristin at The Kitchen Sink Says:

    Gretchen: Sounds like we have the same slaw aversions. After trying this version, I think my days of pity scoops might be numbered too.

    Amy: I’m that predictable, am I?

    Maggie: I think it got a little better on day 2 too. Glad you enjoyed!

    Brynn: Note that I said pulled pork *style* sandwiches. It was actually pulled chicken in a Carolina-style pulled pork sauce. Here‘s the recipe. To be honest, I didn’t love it. I’d like to say I’ll try again soon, but smoking a pork shoulder isn’t high on my list of priorities at the moment!

    Mom: Oh good! You guys are going to have so much fun at the lake. I’m jealous. Very jealous.


  7. So true. Coleslaw is the poor sister. This “slaw” is sexy though and I’m bookmarking this. I’ve been looking for a killer coleslaw recipe.


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