Spicy Coleslaw

Spicy Coleslaw

I like my coleslaw mayo free and with a kick. For a creamy version, see the variations.
TIME 1½ hours, mostly unattended
MAKES 8 servings
2 tablespoons Dijon-style mustard, or more to taste
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice, or more to taste
1 teaspoon minced garlic
1 tablespoon minced fresh chile (like jalapeño), or more to taste, optional
¼ cup vegetable oil
1 medium Napa cabbage (about 1½ pounds)
1 large red bell pepper, cored, seeded, and chopped
4 medium scallions, chopped
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
¼ cup chopped fresh parsley leaves for garnish

1 Whisk together the mustard, lemon juice, garlic, and chile if you’re using it in a large bowl. Drizzle in the oil a little at a time, whisking constantly, so that the mixture comes together and emulsifies. (Or purée the dressing ingredients in a blender, and transfer to a large bowl.)

2 Trim or pull the outer leaves from the cabbage and then remove the core with a paring knife. Switch to a chef’s knife and cut the cabbage into halves or quarters, then thinly slice each piece; the slices will naturally fall into shreds. (You can also use a food processor to shred or grate the cabbage.)

3 Add the cabbage, bell pepper, and scallions to the bowl and toss to combine. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and refrigerate for at least 1 hour to let the flavors mellow and the cabbage soften and exude some juice. (You can refrigerate it longer, up to 24 hours, if you like; cover with plastic wrap first and expect some extra water to pool at the bottom of the bowl.) Just before serving, toss the coleslaw with the parsley. Taste, and adjust the seasoning with additional mustard, chile, lemon, salt, or pepper. Serve with a slotted spoon.

  • Creamier Slaw: Substitute mayonnaise or sour cream for some or all of the oil.
  • Mexican-Style Slaw: Substitute lime juice for the lemon juice, 2 grated medium carrots for the bell pepper, and cilantro for the parsley.
  • Apple Slaw: For a fruity, crunchy fall salad, substitute 2 grated medium tart apples for the bell pepper.

  • Napa cabbage is almost as tender as lettuce but stays crisp. For more crunch, try Savoy or regular green or red cabbage; all work well, and each gives a different texture.
  • Fresh herbs wilt (some even turn black) soon after you chop them, especially if you combine them with any liquid—which is why it’s always a good idea to wait until right before serving to add herbs to salads.

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