recipes and talk about:
natural foods
whole grains
local foods
the heirloom garden

December 6, 2009 in salad, vegetarian10 comments

the best coleslaw


Two things, and then the recipe for the best basic coleslaw you’ve ever had.

cabbage, to be sacrificed to the food processor gods

First, we went to Hello Sushi tonight. You may recall that I became a bit cranky on my last visit. Tonight, however, was delightful. Just like last time we were coming off a day working at my aunt’s house, but this time I was with my aunt, Linda, instead of my cousin, and this time we’d changed clothes and cleaned up a bit. We had futo maki and Alaskan soup to begin with. The Alaskan soup was a fishy broth with crab and fluffy cooked egg floating around. Next we had one of the specials, mushrooms stuffed with spicy tuna and deep fried. This one had a lot of flavor and texture going on: salty, umami, creamy, chewy, and then little teeny pops from the roe that was sprinkled on top. To finish Linda ordered a spider roll and I ordered a yellowtail nigiri, both also awesome of course, and she had ginger ice cream (ick) for dessert.

And I didn’t take a single picture. Yeah, I bet reading all that was real exciting. Apparently food writing needs pictures.

POM poms?

POM chocolate iced coffee (photo courtesy POM)

Second, the nice people at POM (who sent me POM juice a month or two ago that I haven’t gotten around to cooking with yet) sent me 3 flavors of their new product, in which pomegranate juice is spat into iced coffee. First, the bad. The chocolate flavor was not pleasant. You’d think it had promise, being pomegranate juice and coffee and chocolate (insert Homer drool sound here). But rather than meld into a greater whole, the pomegranate, chocolate, and coffee just all vied for attention in strange ways. Café au lait was more pleasant (“You can’t taste the pomegranate,” Linda said, which I think means along the lines of, “It didn’t overwhelm this drink like it did in the chocolate one”), and the vanilla flavor won the taste test, reminding Linda a bit of egg nog of all things, and I liked it as well. The nice thing is the POM people seem to have been ingredient conscious, using “rainforest-friendly” coffee beans, organic sugar, and so forth.

We slammed them down as caffeine boosts for house painting sessions.

Finally, the coleslaw

oh my god, it's replicating!

I just pulled the last cabbages out of the garden 3 days ago. Everyone else has meticulously cleaned out their gardens months ago and rototilled them into perfect, uniform rectangles. Mine, on the other hand, is covered in garden debris, kitchen scraps, eggshells, and corn dust (from the corn dryer; no, I don’t have time to explain). Oh, and there are still leeks, rosemary, and parsley in there. I shook the snow off the parsley and it immediately looked a bit happier.

big ol' wedge of cabbage

It’s not the traditional time for coleslaw, but it’s still a fabulous side for a hot sandwich like grilled cheese. Try this recipe. It’s your straightforward, straight-up coleslaw, exactly what you’re thinking of when thinking of taking coleslaw to potlucks or picnics.


Adapted from

    1 pound cabbage, shredded – green, red, or a mix
    2 tablespoons onion, minced
    1/4 cup granulated sugar
    1/2 teaspoon salt
    1/8 teaspoon pepper
    1/2 cup mayonnaise
    1/2 cup buttermilk, or 2 tablespoons buttermilk powder
    1-1/2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
    2-1/2 tablespoons lemon juice

shredded cabbage, tamed

In a large bowl, mix together the shredded cabbage and minced onion.

buttermilk powder, yay

In a medium bowl, whisk together remaining ingredients. If you’re using buttermilk powder (I always do), there’s no need to reconstitute it — that just waters down the dressing, which will happen naturally a bit anyway as the moisture from the cabbage leaches into the dressing.

coleslaw dressing - no vinegar or lemon juice yet!

You see in my image how “thick” the dressing made with buttermilk powder looks at first. This is a mistake — I shot the photo before adding the vinegar and lemon juice. Your dressing will not look that pasty!

Stir dressing into the cabbage and onion mixture. Chill before serving until flavors meld, at least an hour.

Related Posts with Thumbnails

post comments feed subscribe to comments

your comments

  1. DocChuck says:

    RE: “… the best basic coleslaw you’ve ever had.”

    I’m not certain what qualifies you to make that statement. But I will tell you that we native Southerners would never consider your cole slaw acceptable, much less the BEST that any of us have ever had.

    Carry on, please.

    • Amy says:

      It’s only been tested on non-Southerners, all of whom rave.

      Would you point me to a coleslaw you love? I’d love to try it, and amend my adjectives if necessary. ;-)

  2. MrsDocChuck says:

    Sorry about my husband’s rude behavior. He hasn’t been himself lately (dental problems).

    I plan to make your recipe this weekend with some fried catfish and I predict he’ll love it.

    • Amy says:

      Sorry he’s not feeling well! I’ve been going through a persistent sinus infection myself, and I know it certainly makes me cranky.

      Let me know how the recipe goes. It *is* possible that I was too hyperbolic with the description. :) Thank you for coming by; I appreciate it!

  3. Stuart says:

    Buttermilk? Interesting. What does that add to it, in your opinion?

    I made some coleslaw this past weekend. It was tasty and purple.

    • Amy says:

      I still have a gigantic purple cabbage in the fridge (and a green one too). Purple is like, the best food color.

      You know, I never thought about it. The original used half milk and half buttermilk. I tried it that way and all buttermilk and liked it better, though halfsies was fine. Maybe the buttermilk tang rounds out the sour tastes from the vinegar and lemon juice? Also, it’s thicker than regular milk (even more so in this case where I don’t even reconstitute the powder), which makes the dressing less watery.

      But I’m primarily going to go with that “tang” answer. It sounds smart. :p

  4. Anu says:

    Just wanted to say that I think you are adorable and I love your blog. Great idea to use powdered buttermilk – I always end up buying a quart for just a little and throwing the rest away. Where did you find powdered buttermilk?

    • Amy says:

      Thanks, my mom thinks so too!


      I’ve picked up powdered buttermilk at both Wal-Mart (yes, evil, I know) and Meijer and both times it was in the baking aisle. I believe it’s near the canned milk products (evaporated etc.). You may have to hunt around a bit but it’ll definitely be in that area. I’m going to extrapolate my data set and conclude that all well-stocked supermarkets will carry it.

      I, too, used to waste buttermilk or just skip recipes that called for it. This stuff is awesome. Just remember you have to refrigerate it after it’s opened — those are real buttermilk solids in that cardboard container.

  5. Mike says:

    Just made your recipe (sort of). Will see how it comes out tomorrow! Didn’t want to chop another onion (I’ve chopped 4 today already – getting ready for a party – Mom’s 8oth), so I crushed some garlic (2 cloves) in the press and substituted sour cream for buttermilk. Dressing tasted GREAT – the raw garlic gives it an aioli type flavor. thanks for posting the recipe!

  6. Cathy says:

    I hate rude comments!!!

leave a reply

Allowed tags: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>