seeded slaw

If you’re finding it too hot for baked beans, try cole slaw.  An American original standard, it’s a fitting side for July BBQs.  I can’t resist experimenting with cole slaws.  I made an all-Oregon, hazelnut/blue cheese version a few years ago, for example.  And let’s not forget my Polish sauerkraut-apple-carrot slaw of yesteryear.

This one is studded with crunchy seeds, a nice contrast to the creamy dressing and cabbagey cabbage.

I salt my cabbage prior to making the slaw.  I find it makes for less watery run-off when the salad is complete.

The easiest dressing in the world is some homemade crème fraîche, mixed into the pre-salted cabbage.  But if you don’t have any of that around, consider a buttermilk alternative.

Seeded Slaw

Serves 6 as a side dish.

  • 1/2 med. head of green cabbage (weight will vary widely given the time of year and freshness of cabbage, but aim for around 6 cups, shredded finely)
  • 1/2 cup sweet white onion (e.g., Walla Wallas), sliced very thinly
  • handful of sunflower seeds
  • 1 tablespoon yellow mustard seeds, presoaked in hot water
  • 1 tablespoon caraway seeds
  • 1 tablespoon fennel seeds
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt

Rinse finely sliced onion in plenty of cold water, set aside.

Presoak the mustard seeds in hot water.

Toast all the seeds except the mustard seeds in a dry pan on medium heat (shake the pan frequently for 2-3 minutes, until the seeds smell fragrant and look roasty).  Add non-mustard seeds to onion.

Shred cabbage as finely as possible.  A mandoline, if you have one, is best, but I’ve used a sharp knife and wits plenty of times. Place in a colander.

Salt the cabbage with the kosher salt, and toss in the colander.  Let sit for an hour or so.

Give the cabbage a good rinse, and dry it as completely as possible with a tea towel or paper towels.

Place the dry cabbage in a large bowl with the mustard seeds and the onion/seed mixture.   Add either 2/3 cup of crème fraîche and a bit of cider vinegar or the following buttermilk dressing:

Buttermilk Dressing

  • 1/2 cup buttermilk
  • 2 tablespoons cider vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon whole grain mustard
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 teaspoon sugar

Whisk together all parts of the dressing, then toss it with the cabbage.  Chill completely (both you and the slaw).  Slaw improves if it is kept overnight in the refrigerator.

2 thoughts on “seeded slaw

  1. Nicki 4 July 2011 / 11:00 pm

    Hhm actually I think coleslaw is a Dutch original, not an American original… A very non-trad take, ideal for a hot day is: red onion, red cabbage, radishes, cucumber in batons, carrots in batons, sliced anise, chopped mint, bunch of chopped cilantro. Dressed with Chinese white rice vinegar, sesame oil, salt and brown sugar – enjoy!


  2. Eugenia 5 July 2011 / 8:57 am

    Hi Nicki! Sounds fabulous. And I’m going to try your kim chi fried rice just as soon as I make up a new batch.

    You’re right about the Dutch, sort of, since it has Roman roots. I had thought that the Dutch used a vinegar-based dressing instead of a creamy one (hence making it unlike our standard US stuff) but I see I’m completely wrong: . Pretty different than ours, but still, I shouldn’t say it’s an American original at all!


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