By Karen Ferries, RD
While there are countless coleslaw variations, two of the universal ingredients are cabbage and carrots.
Cabbage leaves, traditionally used for treating external wounds, boast a healthy nutrition profile. One cup of raw chopped cabbage offers a mere 22 calories and 2.2 grams of fiber. It is an excellent source of vitamins C and K, and in addition, provides folate, vitamin B6, some phytosterols and the antioxidants beta carotene, lutein and zeaxanthin. Because their potency dramatically decreases when cooked, raw vegetables in the Brassica oleracea family deliver maximum health-promoting benefits. Carrots are also very low in calories and offer many nutritional benefits. A half-cup serving of grated carrot has 23 calories, provides 1.5 grams of fiber, is an excellent source of vitamin A, is a source of potassium, vitamin C and vitamin K, and contains the antioxidants lutein and zeaxanthin.
And remember: incorporating other nontraditional ingredients such as broccoli, mango or almond slices can further boost the nutrition profile with more fiber, vitamin and minerals.
Tips on Making Slaws
By Robin Plotkin, RD, LD
A coleslaw purist may prefer a creamy mix with celery seeds while another slaw fan may quote a recipe with grilled cabbage, bacon, Raita-style yogurt and mint. The varieties are many and the ingredients are plentiful, making slaws a brilliant twist on salads.
Sweet/Tart Slaws: Made with sugary dressings and flavorful vinegars, these slaws often include sweet fruits such as pineapple, apple or raisins. Dried cranberries, toasted almonds or thinly sliced fennel are other flavor enhancers.
Creamy Slaws: These mayonnaise-based slaws can be deliciously spicy when made with mustards and horseradish. Substitute low-fat versions of mayo, sour cream or yogurt and add broccoli, broccolini, chilies or red pepper flakes for more crunch and heat.
Asian Inspired Slaws: With no creamy ingredients and less added sugar than its traditional counterparts, common ingredients include ginger, peanut butter, lime juice, soy sauce, sesame oil, sesame seeds, green onions, dry noodles and peanuts.
Exotic Slaws: Exotic slaws may or may not include cabbage, but these varieties are considered slaws because of the way the vegetables, fruits or other ingredients are finely chopped and tossed together.
- To prevent limp, watery slaw, place sliced cabbage in a colander, sprinkle with salt and allow to drain for up to four hours. Rinse and dry well. Can be done one day ahead.
- Use a variety of cabbages for color, flavor and texture appeal. Try Red, Napa, Savoy, white or bok choy.
- Many slaws taste better if flavors are allowed to marry for a few hours before serving.
- Cold ingredients and kitchen utensils allow for a crisp, finished product.
Making Slaws in Food Service
By Naomi Kakiuchi, RD, CD, CCP
Gone are the days of soggy cabbage slaw as the genre of salad gains a place in the center of the plate. Slaws add crunch, color and variety on salad bar or as a textured liner under entrées. Perfect as an easy-to-prepare dish, thin ribbons of cabbage, carrots, Chioggia or golden beets broccoli, bok choy, Swiss chard, kale, green papaya, apples and jicama can be cut and dressed, or kept separate and mixed in baths the next day.
Creative dressings can also excite the palate your patrons. Use a traditional mayonnaise dressing with some fresh herbs to serve with fish, or change it up with a light rice vinaigrette or sesame-soy tahini combination. Add crumbled gorgonzola for an elegant twist to apple slaw. The fall harvest brings colorful sweet peppers, radicchio, mizuna, and Swiss chard or kale to add texture that heightens the appeal next to grilled salmon or a tofu steak. Try stacking different layers of vegetables in rings to make a napoleon-style salad. Kitchen slicers and mechanical choppers can quickly process ingredients to the right size. Or to make preparation even easier, order precut vegetables and use pre-made dressings. Once mixed, use slaws within two days.