Zesty Coleslaw

  • January 31, 2015


Serves 8

Active Time

30 minutes

Total Time

45 minutes

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  • Zesty Coleslaw
  • Zesty Coleslaw
  • Zesty Coleslaw
Zesty Coleslaw

If it weren’t for coleslaw, many of the rednecks I grew up with likely wouldn’t have any vegetables in their diet at all. At least any that aren’t fried. This coleslaw is hardly the classic preparation and certainly “ain’t yo Mama’s recipe,” but it is mine! No one has mastered the balance of spice and crunch quite like my mother, but with the aide this recipe, you’ll be well on your way!


  • 1 small head of white cabbage, shredded
  • 1 small head of red cabbage, shredded
  • 1 red or orange bell pepper, cut into thin strips
  • 1 small red onion, julienned
  • 1 large carrot, shredded
  • ¼ cup picked jalapeños, minced
  • ¼ cup loosely packed cilantro leaves, stems removed
  • ¼ cup mayonnaise
  • ¼ cup of juice from pickled jalapeño jar
  • 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon cumin
  • 1 tablespoon garlic powder
  • 1 tablespoon hot sauce
  • Salt & Pepper to taste


1. To begin, shred both of the cabbages and put into a large mixing bowl. I usually like to cut the cabbage into quarters and use a fairly thick setting on a mandolin to produce thick shreds. If you like a very fine coleslaw, a box grater is something you could use. If you have neither, cut the cabbage into quarters and then cut out the thick core and discard. Set one of the cut sides down and proceed to make several thin horizontal cuts until it’s done. If some pieces look too long, cut them in half. Ideally you are looking for thin three inch strips. Toss the shredded cabbage with a little bit of olive oil and a very heavy pinch of salt and mix thoroughly. It is important to salt now to start releasing the juices so that you can better control the final “juiciness” of the coleslaw when you are dressing it later.

2. Next cut either end off the bell pepper and discard or use the top and bottom pieces for tomorrow morning’s egg scramble. Remove the seeds and pith and break the pepper down into manageable chunks. Thinly slice the bell pepper and add the shreds to the cabbage.

3. If you do not have a box grater, I would recommend just buying a pre-shredded carrots at the grocery store. While I definitely recommend using a fresh carrot, I also believe that cooking should be fun and shredding a carrot by hand is definitely not fun. Otherwise, using a box grater or the julienne attachment on your mandolin, shred the carrot and add it to the bowl.

4. Next up is the red onion. Trim either end of the onion off and place one of the cut sides down on the board. Cut the onion in half and remove the peel. Proceed to julienne the onion into thin strips by making thin diagonal cuts around the natural curve of the onion to produce identical strips.

5. Remove the cilantro leaves from the stems, enough to fill a quarter measuring cup. You can pass your knife through them a couple times if you’d like, but I generally leave them whole. Add to the bowl.

6. To make the dressing, begin by mincing the pickled jalapeños and placing into a small mixing bowl. Add the mayo and juice from the jalapeño jar and combine until smooth. Add all remaining ingredients plus salt and pepper. Taste the dressing to ensure that the flavor is where you like it and then add to the bowl.

7. The vegetables will continue to release liquids as the salt and dressing break them down, so when adding the dressing tend toward a “dryer” slaw in the beginning. Let the coleslaw chill in the refrigerator for at least two hours prior to serving to allow the cabbage to soften and the flavors to meld and develop.

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