From Scratch: Make coleslaw in a snap


Pity the poor cabbage. It's a humble vegetable.

It has never been adopted by foodies like its cousin, kale. At 29 to 49 cents a pound, it doesn't carry much cachet in the vegetable aisle. I am here to change all that.

One cup of raw cabbage delivers half the vitamin C you need in a day. And that is just the beginning. Cabbage contains tons of other vitamins and fiber delivered in a compact, easy-to-use package. It's found in every supermarket, and if well wrapped, keeps for weeks in the refrigerator.

If you're still not excited, think of a dressed up cabbage dish that most Americans associate with fast food or delis — coleslaw.

Making coleslaw from scratch couldn't be easier.

First, forget that pre-shredded cabbage in a bag. It is overpriced and usually dried out. Fresh is the only way to go.

To begin: Start with half a small head of cabbage. With a knife, cut out the hard core at the bottom.

If you have a box grater, you can use the coarser side to grate the cabbage. This will sometimes add a bit of grated knuckle, so I much prefer to use my mini food processor for this task.

Place the grated cabbage in a medium to large bowl.

Next, finely chop — or process gently with just a few pulses of the processor — a red or green bell pepper.

Finally, add one grated carrot.

Cabbage by itself is not particularly eye-catching, so these other veggies will make the slaw more visually appealing. If you loathe either one or both of them, you can leave them out.

Combine and toss the cabbage, pepper and carrot. Add a dash of salt and toss again.

For the dressing you will need mayonnaise, sugar and white vinegar. My preference is a 1-1-1 ratio; that is, one part mayonnaise, one part sugar and one part white vinegar.

If you don't have white vinegar, apple cider vinegar will do, though its distinct flavor may overpower the other ingredients. If you like it sweeter, increase the sugar.

For the amount of cabbage mentioned above, I use 1/4 cup of each. After making it a few times, you won't really need to measure.

For an authentic deli flavor, you can add 1/2 teaspoon of celery seed. Mix the dressing in a small bowl and then add it to the cabbage mixture and toss well.

Leave the coleslaw sit for 15 minutes or so as the dressing will draw out the juice of the cabbage and infuse the flavors.

— Julie Falsetti, a York native, comes from a long line of good cooks. Her column, From Scratch, runs twice monthly in The York Dispatch food section.