Forever nudged to the side at barbecues and potlucks, coleslaw has never been invited to sit with the cool kids. Mayonnaisey messes that were never cold enough, old school slaws that had too much of the white stuff and bowls that were often left to expire in the sun.
This summer, try some perkier variations. In these lightly creamy interpretations, the mayo shows up more refined. These recipes can act as funky sides and are also perfect for piling on proteins, sandwiches, and delicacies of the bunned variety.
Here’s the thing about slaw: a lot of shredding, slicing, grating, and julienning is required. This part of the job goes much faster if you have a food processor with a shredding blade or a mandoline. If you don’t own either of these, check out this tutorial on cabbage slicing.
1. Kohlrabi Kohl-Slaw
This slaw is easy to put together and easy on the eye (the radishes in the dish really pretty it up), this slaw incorporates kohlrabi. This funky summer veggie, aromatic scallions, and fresh dill make it a cool and crisp side dish.
- 2 cups grated kohlrabi
- 1/2 cup sliced or shredded purple cabbage
- 1 carrots, peeled and grated
- 2 radishes, cut into small circular slices (best with a mandoline)
- 1/4 red onion, grated
- I small bunch scallions
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 Tablespoon cider vinegar
- 1.5 Tablespoons fresh dill, chopped
- 1/4 cup sour cream
- 1/4 cup mayonnaise
Mix all ingredients in a bowl.
Refrigerate at least an hour so all flavors can combine.
2. Grilled Cabbage Slaw
Love grilled leaves in the summertime? This grilled slaw recipe is sharp, spicy, and attractively charred. Grilling the dense cabbage gives the slaw a hearty, smoky flavor.
- 1 large head of green cabbage, cut through the core into 8 wedges (for grilling)
- Vegetable oil, for brushing
- Salt and freshly ground pepper
- 4.5 tablespoons mayonnaise
- 3 Tablespoons cider vinegar
- 1.5 Tablespoons lemon juice
- 3 pickled jalapeños, seeded and minced, plus 2 teaspoons pickling liquid from the jar
Light the grill. Brush cabbage wedges with vegetable oil and season with salt and pepper. Grill the cabbage over high heat until charred, about 3 minutes per side. Take off grill.
When the cabbage is cooled, finely slice it crosswise with a sharp knife.
In large bowl, whisk the mayonnaise, cider vinegar, lemon juice, jalapeños and pickling liquid.
Add the shredded cabbage and toss. Season the grilled coleslaw with salt and pepper.
3. Curry Bacon Slaw
This simple slaw uses a touch of 60’s inspiration. This revamped version uses much less sugar, a little added heat from the cayenne, and curry, of course. Make sure the bacon is ultra crispy.
- 5 cups shredded green or savoy cabbage
- 1/3 cup mayonnaise
- 2 Tablespoons cider vinegar
- 1 teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon pepper
- 1 Tablespoon curry powder
- 1/2 teaspoon cayenne
- pinch sugar
- 5 slices crispy bacon
Place shredded cabbage in large bowl.
In medium bowl, mix all ingredients except cabbage and bacon.
Pour over cabbage.
Crumble bacon over top, fold in.
Serve immediately or cover & refrigerate
4. Rhubarb Slaw
Test out a fruit slaw. Rhubarb’s natural tartness makes it a unique medium for a slaw. Its texture lends the same crunchy boldness that cabbage would in a traditional slaw. Allow time for overnight refrigeration – the rhubarb should sit in brine overnight.
- 1/2 pound rhubarb, julienned (again, best with a mandoline, or chopped thin with small knife)
- 1 cup apple cider vinegar
- 3/4 cup light brown sugar
- 1/4 cup ginger, peeled and sliced
- 2 sliced scallions
- 3/4 Tablespoon red pepper flakes
- 3/4 Tablespoon mustard seeds
- 1/2 small cabbage, thinly shredded
- 1 Tablespoon olive oil
- 1 Tablespoon salt
- 1 Tablespoon pepper
Place rhubarb in a large heatproof jar; set aside.
Boil vinegar, salt, pepper, brown sugar, ginger, garlic, red pepper flakes, and mustard seeds.
Pour mixture over rhubarb and let cool. Refrigerate overnight. This becomes a brine for the rhubarb.
Drain rhubarb, reserving 1/2 cup of the brine. Toss rhubarb with cabbage, brine, and olive oil.
Refrigerate for at least 2 hours, until cabbage softens just a bit.