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My Mother's Asian Coleslaw

My mom was one of the best cook’s I’ve encountered. She had a knack for adding a splash of freshness and elegance to every dish she created. And she really loved cooking for friends and throwing parties. So much so that dinners when I was growing up usually consisted of her experiments with party food and appetizers. Capturing her culinary creations was one of the reasons I started a food blog years ago. It was a way to encourage her to write down her recipes. She never did that, as she did everything by instinct and taste. A dash of this … and a splash of that.

Today, I’m grateful that I started that blog and successfully collected her recipes. This past December, 4 days before Christmas, she lost a 4 year battle with breast cancer. We had fun emailing recipes back and forth and she loved seeing them live on my website. It also gave us something positive and productive to do during her cancer fighting years. She inspired me on many levels including our common passion for cooking and throwing fun gatherings for good friends. Thanks Mom.

This slaw recipe takes some time due to all the chopping and prepping but it’s so worth it. You can make it with a little bit of mayonnaise for a more traditional coleslaw or use the dressing recipe with Asian flavors instead. That’s the beauty of a good recipe, you can make it your own. However you choose to dress this gorgeous and colorful slaw, your guests will love the combination of crisp, fresh flavors. And unlike other recipes, this won’t be swimming in mayonnaise and sugar. You can adjust the amounts of all the ingredients to your tastes. It’s hard to say how many this serves because of the varying sizes in the vegetables we purchased. However, I do usually double the recipe if I’m serving more than 10 people. If you want leftovers, simply set aside some of the combined vegetables and don’t dress them until you want to serve them again the next day.

Ingredients:

  • 2 carrots, cut into matchstick shapes about 1.25 inches long
  • 1/3 cup snow peas, ends cut off and julienned – same size as carrots
  • 1 small red pepper, cut into matchstick shapes about 1.25 inches long
  • 1/2 small jicama, cut into matchstick shapes about 1.25 inches long
  • 1/2 head Napa cabbage, cut into thin strips
  • 1/4 head red cabbage, cut into thin strips
  • 1/2 cup cilantro, chopped (or more if you love cilantro)
  • 1/4 red onion, sliced (optional)

Dressing Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise
  • 1.5 tbs mustard
  • 1/5 tbs red wine vinegar
  • 1 tsp honey
  • season with salt

Optional Asian Dressing Ingredients:

  • 1/4 cup low-sodium soy sauce
  • 2 tsp honey
  • 1 tbsp peanut or almond butter
  • 1/4 cup sesame oil
  • 2 tbs rice wine vinegar
  • 1-2 tsp of toasted sesame seeds

Method:

Add all ingredients together in a bowl except cilantro and/or sesame seeds. In a separate bowl, prepare dressing. Add a small amount of the blended dressing to the mixed slaw. Do not add too much dressing, as it’s best if slaw is left reasonably dry. Add cilantro and/or sesame seeds at the end and toss lightly.

Photo Credit: iStockphoto.com

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