Canada Day is a great BBQ and slaw day! If you are going to have the salads outside for a long period of time, avoid the heavy mayo slaws and use an oil and vinegar base instead.
I decided to try my own slaw as a tribute to Canada Day. I wanted to create a bit of the red and white colour and stay true to Canadian ingredients whenever I could. Cranberries, maple syrup, apple cider and even walnuts are essential Canadian ingredients. The walnuts add a good mix of healthy fatty acids (omega-3), a breadth of vitamins and minerals (thiamin, folate, B6, manganese) and the cranberries add dietary fibre.
I suggest using any kind of cabbage but in the fall green cabbage will be in season and very flavourful. If you don’t have walnut oil, substitute the oil you normally use for salads (olive, canola).
1/2 small-medium cabbage (about 4 cups)- Use fresh Ontario green cabbage if you can. Napa cabbage will also work
3/4 cup of dried cranberries
3/4 cup of chopped walnuts
1 tbsp of maple syrup
2 tbsp of apple cider vinegar
2 tbsp of walnut oil (or your favorite salad oil)
salt and pepper to taste
1. Mix cabbage, cranberries and walnuts in a medium bowl.
2. In small bowl, whisk vingear, oil and maple syrup. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
3. Add dressing to cabbage mixture.
Chill for at least an hour if possible and enjoy with any BBQ food.
Napa cabbage is a mild, subtle cabbage that works great in a slaw. It has a bit of Calcium, Potassium and Vitamin A as well as some trace minerals. This slaw is light, so pairing with a heavy steak is ideal. The dressing is the same used to season sushi rice, so it has a bit of an Asian flare.
This recipe comes from Epicurious (originally from Bon Appetite). I modified it slightly since I did not have red jalapenos so I used green jalapenos and added some sweet red bell peppers for colour and texture.
2 tsp of ginger
I clove of garlic, pressed
3 tbsp of seasoned rice vinegar
3 tbsp of sugar
1-2 jalapenos (depending on taste)
5 cups of napa cabbage (shredded or chopped)
1/2 medium red bell pepper (julienned)
3/4 cup of chopped green onions
Stir sugar and vinegar in a small sauce pan over medium heat until sugar dissolves. Remove from heat.Add jalapenos and ginger to the dressing and let sit.
In a medium bowl, mix cabbage,1/2 cup of onions and peppers.
Pour vinegar mixture over cabbage, mix and let stand for at least 30 min. Use remaining onions as a garnish.
Fennel is quite common and has a great texture. It has a strong licorice flavour that can be dulled down a bit with a good dressing. It is low in calories and has a bit of fibre, folate, vitamin C and potassium.
It’s a tame slaw which complimented the spicy sausage I paired it with.
I took the recipe from the website “Simply Recipes” since I had some mint in my fridge I needed to use:
1 large fennel bulb (or 2 medium bulbs)
1 1/2 teaspoons sugar
2 Tbsp lemon juice
1/4 cup olive oil
1/2 teaspoon mustard
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 Tbsp chopped fresh mint
2 teaspoons minced shallot or onion
1 Make the vinaigrette. Put the lemon juice, shallot, mustard, salt, sugar and mint in a blender and pulse briefly to combine. With the motor running, drizzle in the olive oil until it is well combined.
2 Using a mandoline, shave the fennel into 1/8 inch slices starting from the bottom of the bulb. Don’t worry about coring the fennel bulb, it’s unnecessary. If you don’t have a mandoline, slice the bulb as thin as you can. Chop some of the fennel fronds as well to toss in with the salad.
- If pairing with something less spicy, add a little cayenne or jalapeno to the dressing.
- Don’t be shy with the mint.
- Cut back on the oil a bit to reduce the calories. I used less than the 1/4 cup and it was fine.
I love slaw. I have ordered dishes in restaurants just to get the slaw. It is cross-cultural, appearing in Asian, Mexican, Spanish, German, British and North American cuisine. Most of us have grown up being fed some kind of cole slaw during a family dinner or neighbourhood bar-b-que. For the most part, it was a combination of green cabbage, miracle whip and perhaps and a few raisins or a shrivelled apple.
Slaw can add a freshness to an otherwise rich dish (eg. English fish and chips), add texture to a dish (eg.scallops) or allow the incorporation of contrasting flavors (eg.a sweet, creamy slaw to a spicy dish). It is versatile and is a perfect way to incorporate fresh, local, in-season ingredients onto a plate. On the other hand, it can be a means of using root vegetables such as cabbage and celery root during the off-season. You can open the fridge and make a good slaw out of whatever you see. Finally, it’s a great way to encourage fresh ingredients in your children’s diets.
This part of the blog is explore the art of slaw. I intend to explore different techniques, ingredients and dressings to identify the best slaws. I will post pictures and recipes when I can.