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August 30, 2013

BBQ My Way: Nutty coleslaw

There are certain dishes in American cuisine that are so common that they can be often overlooked. The topic of today's column is just such a dish, coleslaw.

Colonel Sanders himself posed this perplexing question about coleslaw. “It's always a tough decision between that (coleslaw), mac and cheese and mashed potatoes, isn't it?” My answer to the seemingly perplexed Colonel would be to take a little of each, but here is what stands out to me in his question.

Coleslaw is treated more as a side dish than as a traditional salad. I think it's because we take cabbage, and if prepared traditionally, all health benefits of the vegetable immediately vanish. If you look closely at his question, the Colonel didn't compare cole slaw to other salads or fruits, he compared it to macaroni and cheese and mashed potatoes. I've made my point.

Vinegar-based versions of coleslaw have been consumed and recorded since ancient Rome, possibly longer. The term “coleslaw” can be traced to the Dutch term “koolsalade,” which was shortened to

“koolsla.” Once the Dutch immigrants started coming to America, the term was changed to “coleslaw.”

Today's version is actually pretty darn healthy, as it is not mayonnaise based. It is tart, nutty and slightly sweet. We served it with some freshly fried cod fish and hushpuppies, although I think this version of coleslaw could be served along side any main dish.

Nutty Coleslaw Dressing

  • 1/2 cup white rice vinegar
  • 1/4 cup sesame oil
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 2 tsp. soy sauce
  • 1 dash (or more) of hot sauce

Combine dressing ingredients in a bowl and whisk thoroughly.

In a large bowl combine one 16 oz bag of shredded coleslaw mix with one 12-ounce bag of shredded broccoli and carrots. Mix thoroughly with your hands.

Drizzle the dressing over the cabbage and broccoli mix. Toss thoroughly. Let it sit in your fridge for an hour or so. Take out and mix again. Sprinkle one cup of toasted sesames or one cup of dry roasted sunflower seeds on the coleslaw. Serve cold and enjoy!

Dave Lobeck is a barbecue chef from Sellersburg, Ind., who writes the "BBQ My Way" column for CNHI News Service. Visit his website at www.BBQ-My-Way.com.

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