Potato Salad. Baked Peans. My favorite Burrata and Heirloom Tomato Caprese Salad. Those recipes have always made up my barbecue buffet table daydreams. But coleslaw? It was always on the bottom rung of my side dish desires. Show me the shredded cabbage bowl and watch me skip right on by.
But my husband? He’s a coleslaw connoisseur. It’s usually the first thing he goes for. But that doesn’t mean the bites he gets are always good and that puts our home’s king of slaw down in the dumps.
But this creamy coleslaw recipe always gets not just one, but two big, Big, BIG thumbs up from my man. And now me, too.
It isn’t goopy. Nor is it soupy. And it’s far from overpowered by the bite of raw onion.
This here coleslaw, folks, this is the best I’ve ever eaten. And the man agrees.
Here’s why, and how to…
There are two factors that distinguish a good coleslaw from the rest. First is the crunch. Second is the flavor of the dressing. Hand in hand they make one good salad.
One of the things I find unattractive about creamy coleslaw is when the crunch disappears and the cut cabbage becomes limp and lame and the salad ends in a soupy, drippy mess. We’ve all seen prime examples of this in the grocery store deli case, right?
This is not that.
After doing a fare amount of investigation, I found a solution to avoid the listless bite thanks to the folks at Serious Eats. Their suggestion? Draw out the water from the cabbage with a sugar and salt brine for a mere 5 minutes, then rinse well with cold water and put it through the spin dry of a salad spinner.
Don’t worry. Adding this simple cure won’t change your coleslaw into a bread and butter pickle, like this one. In fact, the result is a firmer cabbage crunch where the flavor, and color, is actually deepened.
Rather than buying a whole head of cabbage and carrots in need of peeling, I took the short cut and bought a bag of pre-packaged coleslaw mix. You might find it in your veggie aisle bagged with a combination of red and green cabbage, or green only. Either or all will work.
Next up is adding a little spunk to the creamy dressing.
Some creamy coleslaw dressings use a combination of sour cream and mayonnaise with flavorings that run the gamut of grated onion to worcestershire sauce to mustard and lemon juice.
Why go through all those paces? Let’s keep this dressing simple.
Basic mayonnaise is mixed with cider vinegar then seasoned with a little celery salt for the puckery punch I love. Sliced green onion and freshly ground black pepper add a little heat, with a bit of sugar to offset the vinegar pucker. Chopped Italian leaf parsley adds just the right amount of a fresh, herby taste.
The only step that’s left is to load it on a plate or stacked atop a pulled pork sandwich with extra barbecue sauce and potato chips. Now that’s what I call the bounty of the barbecue buffet.
- To prepare the coleslaw
- 1 pound package coleslaw mix
- ½ cup granulated sugar
- ¼ cup kosher salt
- For the dressing
- ⅔ cup mayonnaise
- 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
- 2 tablespoons cider vinegar
- 1 teaspoon celery salt
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 2-3 green onions, chopped
- ¼ cup fresh parsley leaves, chopped
- Pour the coleslaw mix into a strainer and place in the sink. Sprinkle with ½ cup of the sugar and ¼ cup of the kosher salt and lightly toss. Let sit for 5 minutes to draw out the moisture from the cabbage and then rinse well with cold water. Spin the coleslaw mix in a salad spinner and place in a large bowl.
- For the dressing, in a medium bowl mix the mayonnaise, 2 tablespoons sugar, cinder vinegar, celery salt, 1 teaspoon kosher salt, freshly ground black pepper, chopped onions and chopped parsley. Whisk well and pour ⅔ of the dressing over the cabbage mixture, and toss to combine. Add more of the dressing as desired and season with more salt, pepper or parsley to taste.
- Refrigerate for 30 minutes up to overnight and serve.
Have a great day and make something crunchy good!
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