Vegan cole slaw
The first apartment that David and I rented together was the second floor of a two-story house. The first floor was occupied by our landlady. She was a nice elderly woman who was very very anxious about the well-being of her second-floor apartment. When it rained she would call and tell us to close the windows. When something broke, she would trundle up the back stairs with a big roll of tape and put it back together. “To tape!” she would exclaim, giving us an insight into her home improvement methodology. With admirable regularity, she cooked a dish that, apparently, took the whole day to make. Starting early in the morning, the fragrance would waft up our back stairs and wend its way into our open windows. We called it “rubber glove stew.” The smell got stronger as the day wore on, and it clung to our furniture for days. I’m fairly certain that the stew contained cabbage, and, to this day, the smell of over-boiled cabbage makes me feel a little queasy. Poor stinky brassica! I do like cooked cabbage in certain situations, of course – quickly sauteed and wrapped in moo shoo pancakes is always nice! But when we got a lovely head of cabbage from our CSA, I decided to keep it raw and make (more) coleslaw. I’ve made lightly olive-oil-and-balsamic-dressed slaws
recently with various fruits, nuts and cheeses to mix things up a bit. This time I wanted to make something that tasted more like a traditional cole slaw, but with a creamy almond dressing instead of mayonnaise. I’ve been thinking about it for a while, and I think it came out really well! Nice and sweet and crunchy and tangy and savory. The slaw is something of a prototype, because I kept it very simple. You could easily add any other thing you generally like in coleslaw. You could easily add roasted garlic or herbs to the dressing.
Here’s Cab Calloway & Dizzy Gillespie with Pickin’ the Cabbage. According to the scholars of youTube this is Gillespie’s first composition! He was 22!
1/2 head of cabbage – regular or napa
2 carrots – peeled and grated
4 or 5 scallions, white parts and quite a bit of green, washed and chopped fairly fine
1/2 cup sliced almonds
1 t dijon mustard
1/2 t sugar, or to taste
1 t. capers
1 T white wine vinegar
1/3 cup olive oil
about 1/3 cup water, but start with less
salt & plenty of pepper
Chop the cabbage into small shreds. Mix the cabbage, carrots and scallions in a big bowl.
In a blender combine the almonds, mustard, capers, sugar and vinegar. With the blender running, add the olive oil in a thin stream until everything is combined and smooth. Add water, a little at a time, until it’s just as thin and creamy as you like it.
Pour the almond dressing over the cabbage mixture, mix well. Season with salt and pepper.