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Cleaning up coleslaw. February 20, 2013

Posted by ourfriendben in recipes.
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Silence Dogood here. Our friend Ben and I love coleslaw. And it should be one of the healthiest foods you can eat. The problem is, it’s usually served in a creamy, sugary dressing that counteracts any health benefits and packs in the calories as well. Sure, it tastes great. But couldn’t slaw still taste great minus the creamy dressing?

I was determined to find ways to make a great-tasting slaw without the typical dressing and boost the nutritional value while I was at it. I knew it was possible! Slaw just needed the Silence treatment.

Here’s what I did. First, I replaced the usual green cabbage-carrot-red cabbage mix with broccoli slaw, which combines shredded broccoli stems with shredded carrots and red cabbage. The usual slaw mix is plenty healthy, but broccoli slaw (readily available packaged in the produce section) kicks the nutritional value up a notch by adding broccoli’s potent anticarcinogenic value.

Next, I mixed in plenty of minced red (Spanish) onion and chopped scallions (green onions), since members of the onion family are famous for fighting inflammation, which is now thought to be the root cause of diseases as disparate as heart disease and cancer. They also give coleslaw a flavor kick!

I added plenty of fresh-ground black pepper (also anticarcinogenic) and some RealSalt (unadulterated and mineral-rich). And I added crumbled gorgonzola cheese for a flavor and protein kick. (This is optional, if you want vegan coleslaw; otherwise, you could use crumbled feta or blue cheese instead of the gorgonzola, if you prefer them.)

Then I added extra-virgin olive oil and tossed everything well to combine flavors and coat the slaw with oil. Oil helps the body digest and utilize the nutrients in raw greens and veggies, and olive oil is heart-healthy. After chilling the slaw for a couple of hours to let the flavors blend, I topped it with mineral-rich pepitas (roasted pumpkinseeds) before serving for a delicious crunch.

Yum! My coleslaw was a success. But that’s just the beginning of the ways you can add healthy oomph to your coleslaw. Here are other suggestions:

* Use your coleslaw as a salad topper. It’s delicious over mixed greens and enables you to put a salad together in seconds: the packaged salad mix of your choice topped with a scoop of slaw. (I like to add balsamic vinegar and olive oil to the greens before topping it with the slaw, to make sure the greens are dressed, but this is optional.)

* Add diced red, yellow, orange, and/or green bell peppers to the slaw. Vitamin C and gorgeous color and flavor!

* Add healing spices like cumin seeds, black mustardseeds, caraway seeds, fennel seeds, and/or ground turneric to your slaw. (Turmeric will turn it yellow to orange, so be forewarned, but it has fantastic anti-inflammatory properties.)

* Crank up the healing heat with minced jalapeno or serrano peppers or Szechuan peppers, cayenne, or a splash of the hot sauce of your choice. This will spice up your coleslaw and give it a hint of Korean kimchee, the super-health food made from fermented cabbage.

* Add additional healing veggies like matchstick radishes, tiny blanched broccoli or broccoflower florets, sugar snap peas, and mung bean sprouts. Diced fennel bulbs also taste great in slaw. So does celery and, surprisingly, cucumber, all with proven health benefits.

* Mix in minced cilantro, parsley, dill, or fennel tops just before serving (and before topping with the pepitas). You’ll add a whole layer of flavor on top of whatever you’ve already put in, as well as lots of vitamins, making your slaw even more complex and delicious.

* Add fruit, like diced apple or pear, mandarin oranges, golden raisins, dried cranberries (“craisins”), or even diced pineapple to the slaw before serving.

That’s what I’ve thought of so far. How do you make your slaw healthy?

—‘Til next time,

Silence

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