Southern Coleslaw – A Versatile Side Dish

The Basics of Coleslaw

Basically, coleslaw is defined as a salad made with chopped or shredded raw cabbage as the main ingredient, usually mixed with shredded carrots and other vegetables and dressed with mayonnaise. My version, Southern Coleslaw, fits the basic definition of coleslaw but adds white wine vinegar to the dressing, as well as finely chopped onion, bell pepper and celery seed for seasoning. Occasionally a coleslaw recipe will include pineapple or apple, nuts, and grated cheese.

Many countries around the world have their own version of coleslaw – in fact the word coleslaw means “cabbage salad” in Dutch. I found it interesting that in Sweden coleslaw is served with pizza and they call it “pizza salad.”

In the Southern United States, coleslaw is traditionally eaten with fish, especially fried fish, and seafood. Restaurants that primarily serve fish and seafood are often called “fish camps.” Coleslaw is also served with BBQ Pork, as a side dish or in the case of a BBQ Pork Sandwich served right on the bun. There is even a Red Slaw, also known as BBQ Slaw, made to accompany Lexington-style North Carolina barbequed pork. Fried Chicken is yet another food with which Southern Coleslaw is served. (In fact I often see “copycat” recipes on the internet for KFC coleslaw!) Southern Coleslaw is also served with hot dogs and hamburgers.

When I was in elementary school, I was served coleslaw in which the cabbage and carrots were minced as finely as those vegetables could be minced. (I don’t know how they got the pieces of carrot and cabbage so small!) I’ve always remembered it and any time now that I’m served coleslaw of that consistency I refer to if affectionately as “elementary school coleslaw.” There is one seafood restaurant in Charlotte that has elementary school coleslaw and this particular restaurant does not call itself a “fish camp” for whatever reason!

The Recipe for Southern Coleslaw

Southern Coleslaw
Serves 10
A salad made with shredded raw cabbage, carrots, onion and bell pepper, dressed with mayonnaise and white wine vinegar and seasoned with celery seed.
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Prep Time
20 min
Total Time
20 min
Prep Time
20 min
Total Time
20 min
Ingredients
  1. 1 medium head cabbage, shredded
  2. 2 carrots, peeled & shredded
  3. 1/4 cup onion, finely chopped
  4. 1 bell pepper, finely chopped
  5. 2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
  6. 2 tablespoons sugar
  7. 1 cup mayonnaise
  8. 1 teaspoon salt
  9. 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  10. 2 teaspoons celery seed
Instructions
  1. Mix all ingredients together in a large bowl. Toss until mayonnaise and white wine vinegar are evenly coating the other ingredients. Chill for several hours before serving.
Notes
  1. I use a food processor to shred the cabbage and carrots, and chop the onion. However, I recommend chopping the bell pepper with a knife for best results.
SILVER FOODIE http://www.silverfoodie.com/

Parting Comments

Celery Seeds are one of my favorite spices to use to flavor coleslaw, egg salad, potato salad and chicken salad. I really like the taste of Celery Seeds! Celery Seeds are found in the flowers of the celery plant, are very small, range from tan to brown in color, and have a strong, pleasant aroma. Celery Seeds were used in ancient medicine to treat colds, flu, water retention, poor digestion and arthritis. Unfortunately there are no recent human scientific studies that verify these claims. I was encouraged to learn that there have been studies that show that Celery Seeds act as a mosquito repellent! (Mosquitos love me – Ugh!) The studies didn’t say whether you had to eat the Celery Seeds or douse yourself with them! I’ll have to do a little more research on that one!

Make some Southern Coleslaw soon and serve it with anything – it’s a very versatile side dish! Remember cabbage is a cruciferous vegetable, which is important in cancer prevention. (See my recent post Scalloped Cabbage – Retro Recipe for information about cruciferous vegetables.)

Remember to Savor the Flavor!

Janet

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Scalloped Cabbage – Retro Recipe

 

Scalloped Cabbage

Scalloped Cabbage is a wonderful dish combining steamed cabbage with chopped green pepper, pimentos, bacon, and cheddar cheese covered in a white sauce with chopped onions and topped with buttered bread crumbs. The original recipe was in Joy of Cooking when I first tried this recipe in the 1970’s. I recently checked the new 75th Anniversary Edition of the Joy of Cooking out of the library and was disappointed to see that this recipe was not included in the latest edition.

Cabbage is a cruciferous vegetable of the same family that includes broccoli, cauliflower, kale, brussels sprouts and bok choy. Cabbage is available in US supermarkets year round and it’s a storehouse of powerful antioxidants that are important because they protect against breast, colon and prostate cancers. Cabbage is rich in antioxidants as well as anti-inflammatory properties that scavenge harmful free radicals.

Cabbage is low in fat and calories, with only 44 calories in one cup. Cabbage has a very low glycemic index, which means it doesn’t cause an undesirable rise in blood sugar levels. Cabbage is an excellent source of Vitamin C, Vitamin K and several B vitamins as well as potassium, manganese, iron and magnesium, all important minerals.

When buying cabbage, choose a fresh, compact, firm, medium-sized head that feels heavy for its size. To prepare, trim off the stem end and discard any withered outer layer leaves. Wash thoroughly in cold running water. Slice the head into two pieces and then slice or chop as needed for the recipe. Cabbage is best used when fresh for maximum nutritional value but it may be kept in the refrigerator for a few days before using.

The Recipe

Scalloped Cabbage
Serves 8
Steamed cabbage dotted with chopped green peppers, pimentos, bacon and cheddar cheese covered in a cream sauce and topped with buttered bread crumbs.
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Prep Time
15 min
Cook Time
10 min
Total Time
25 min
Prep Time
15 min
Cook Time
10 min
Total Time
25 min
Ingredients
  1. 1 medium head cabbage, chopped
  2. 2 tablespoons chopped green pepper
  3. 2 tablespoons chopped pimentos
  4. 6 slices bacon, cooked & crumbled
  5. 2 tablespoons butter, melted
  6. 1/2 cup bread crumbs
  7. 1 cup grated Cheddar cheese
Cream Sauce
  1. 2 tablespoons butter
  2. 2 tablespoons flour
  3. 1 cup milk
  4. 1 small onion, chopped
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
  2. Steam chopped cabbage, drain well. Place layers of drained cabbage in a greased baking dish.
  3. Sprinkle minced ingredients and grated cheese over top of cabbage.
  4. Melt 2 tablespoons butter over low heat.
  5. Add 2 tablespoons flour; blend over low heat for 3-5 minutes.
  6. Stir in 1 cup milk slowly. Add 1 small onion, chopped to cream sauce.
  7. Cook until smooth and thickened, then pour over cabbage.
  8. Melt 2 tablespoons butter over low heat. Mix with bread crumbs. Sprinkle buttered bread crumbs over top of cabbage.
  9. Bake Scalloped Cabbage for 10 minutes, until heated through and cheese is melted.
Notes
  1. Scalloped Cabbage is only in the oven for 10 minutes so make sure the cabbage is cooked to the way you like it before placing it in the baking dish.
Adapted from The Joy of Cooking
Adapted from The Joy of Cooking
SILVER FOODIE http://www.silverfoodie.com/

Additional Information

Be sure to steam or otherwise cook the cabbage to the tenderness or crispness that you like prior to putting it in the baking dish because it will only bake for 10 minutes in the oven.

After placing the cabbage in a casserole dish, add the chopped green pepper, chopped pimentos, crumbled bacon and grated cheese.

Make a white sauce and add one small chopped onion to the sauce. When the sauce is smooth and thickened, pour the sauce over the entire baking dish of cabbage. Top the entire casserole with buttered bread crumbs. Bake at 375º F. for 10 minutes.

Parting Comments

I can’t encourage you enough to eat some cruciferous vegetables several times a week. Cancer prevention tops all other areas of health research with regard to cabbage and its outstanding benefits. All of the cruciferous vegetables are considered excellent in preventing cancer, particularly breast, colon and prostate cancers.

Serve your family and friends some cruciferous vegetables soon and you’ll be giving them food that not only tastes good but is also healthy for them to eat!

Remember to Savor the Flavor of Cruciferous Vegetables!

Janet

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For a list of link parties in which I participate weekly, click on “Link Parties” on the header menu bar.