I try as far as possible to eat with the seasons. It’s better for the planet and, some would argue, better for our bodies. So in the middle of winter I really miss having a big bowl of salad. In recent years I’ve learned to scratch that itch by making slaw.
The most popular version that we all know is coleslaw – but you can pretty much make a delicious slaw from any of the firm winter vegetables that you can eat raw and slice thinly: carrots, cabbage, onions, leeks, fennel, celery, red cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower – you name it. And you can add flavour in all sorts of ways with unctuous mayonnaise-based dressings or virtuous Thai-style flavours. They make a very virtuous side dish and pair well with all sorts of grilled meats and fish. Perfect for The Dissident Diet. It’s great to add a raw food boost to your diet too.
Here are 5 alternatives, quantities are very rough. Experiment and suit yourself:
Celeriac and Apple Slaw
This delicious slaw is fantastic with roast pork, grilled mackerel or a pasta main course. Cut 2 tart English apples and a large chunk of celeriac into matchsticks (or run them through your food processor) and mix with a half a red onion, very finely sliced. Whisk 4 tbsp of walnut oil with a tbsp of lemon juice, a sprinkle of salt and pepper, and pour over vegetables adding some chopped walnuts and parsley. Delicious!
Celeriac and Pepper Slaw
Peel and chop a large chunk of celeriac into matchsticks along with 3 celery sticks and half a Savoy cabbage, very finely sliced. Mix 2 tbsp olive oil with 1 tbsp cider vinegar (or white wine vinegar) and toss with 1 tsp toasted cumin seeds, some slivers of roasted red pepper from a jar and a handful of chopped coriander. This salad combines very well with cheesy flavours like cauliflower cheese, and also works with fish pie.
Vietnamese Salad Slaw
Slice one white cabbage, 3 large carrots and a white onion as finely as possible. Mix 2 tbsp sesame oil, 2 tbsp lime juice, 1 tbsp Thai fish sauce, 2 tsp Rice Vinegar with some finely chopped red chilli, garlic and a tsp of Xylitol. Let the flavours marinade for 20 minutes then dress the salad, tossing thoroughly and adding some roughly chopped mint leaves from the garden as you do so. You can beef this salad up to main course status by adding shredded cooked chicken, or serve with teriyaki salmon or smoked mackerel. I guarantee you’ll make this one again and again.
Not Quite Traditional Winter Coleslaw
I’ve never been a fan of the sticky dressing that covers so many shop bought coleslaws so over the years I’ve perfected my own – although it’s probably different every time I make it. This recipe makes loads but it won’t last long. Finely shred 1 green cabbage, 4 large carrots and one or 2 red onions. Mix 75 ml full fat natural yoghurt with the juice of 1/2 lemon and 2 tbsp mayonnaise and toss the vegetables in this dressing along with a generous handful of sultanas and 1 tbsp poppy or sesame seeds.
Red Cabbage Coleslaw
Finely shred 1 small red cabbage, 3 apples and half a leek. Mix approx 2 tbsp walnut oil with 1 tbsp balsamic vinegar and add this to the vegetables with a handful of raisins (or dried cranberries) and chopped walnuts. Toss thoroughly. Tastes great with pork or poultry.