Easy Summer Side: Broccoli Slaw
People don't eat enough vegetables. In some ways I understand why. There's not much worse than overcooked vegetables, soft and slimy, or a wilted, overdressed salad, but still, there is so much pleasure to be had eating vegetables prepared simply that I don't understand why some people have such negativity. Fortunately, there has been a food movement in this country over the last decade and veggies are playing a more prominent role, especially in restaurants, and with all the farmers markets popping up, side dishes like this slaw are really good recipes in your back pocket to give you an easy, delicious, and healthy side dish.
As is the case with many things I make, this is not a formal recipe, but a technique you can use for any shredded vegetables you like. For the slaw I pictured above, I used 1 bag of pre-shredded broccoli slaw mix and added 1 small onion, 1 large carrot, and some leftover kale I had sitting around. That is what is so great about this technique - you can use any vegetables you like, just shred or julienne them and you are good to go. This slaw would have been equally delicious with the standard cabbage mix, but jicama, cucumbers, bell peppers and more could easily be used.
First tip, start by thinly slicing your onion and soaking it in the vinegar. This does two very important things: 1)softens the bite of the raw onion which many people do not like and 2) allows the onion-y flavor to permeate the dressing. A couple of notes about vinegar: you can use whatever vinegar you like, each will lend its own specific tang and flavor to the slaw. The only vinegar I would not recommend is balsamic, the dark color will make your slaw rustier in color (which I don't find as attractive) and it is a very strong vinegar that I think an overwhelm a simple slaw. Also, standard white vinegar is pretty strong, so you may need to add extra sugar or sweetener to balance the acidity.
I tend to love cider vinegar for slaws, and since I had just gotten a bottle of fire cider (spicy apple cider vinegar), that's what I used today. While the onions are soaking, you have a pocket of time to shred or slice any veggies you need to. I like using a box grater or a mandoline, then it is time to build your dressing. I added a tblsp of honey, a pinch of celery seeds and light olive oil to the vinegar/onion mixture and whisked to combine. Season with salt and pepper to taste then throw in your shredded vegetables. Toss it to combine then pop it in the fridge to let all the flavors marry. An hour works, but you can make this slaw a day in advance if you want.
When the time comes to serve, just mix again and eat. Because there is no mayo and the vegetables are sturdy, this is a great side for picnics, and the crunch and freshness is a great accompaniment to a rich main dish, either a greasy cheeseburger, or juicy barbecued anything. And it's so healthy, you can eat a lot of it without worries or guilt. Give it a try, trust me, you'll be happy to eat your vegetables.
Labels: Salad, Snacks and Sides, Vegetables