Tangy and spicy red cabbage slaw

May 20, 2010 § 40 Comments

It’s getting warmer! I guess it seems strange because only seven weeks ago we last had snow, and suddenly it’s getting warm enough to turn on the fan. So, it’s time to start cooking light, summery dishes – and I think we can even eschew the term cook, as you can assemble this cabbage slaw without once turning on the oven or stove. It would be great to serve alongside Mexican food as the original recipe suggests, or anything grilled would complement it nicely as well.

This slaw is a combination of crisp red cabbage, shredded and grated carrots for crunch and color, tangy lime juice, and lots of cilantro. Some crumbled feta adds an extra layer of texture and flavor, but it’s certainly not necessary – and of course, vegans and others who cannot have dairy will opt out of using feta. This slaw is great either way and I recommend trying it both ways.

This slaw is great as a make-ahead dish because it really benefits from resting. The longer it sits the better it tastes, up to one day in advance. Of course, if you’re letting it rest for more than an hour, I recommend chilling it in the refrigerator – plus this keeps the cabbage nice and crunchy.

Begin by making the slaw “dressing” by pouring two tablespoons of extra-virgin olive oil into a large bowl.

Then, add in a few grinds of salt and pepper.

Add three tablespoons brown sugar

and squeeze in the juice from about two to three limes. I used 2.5 because I had a sad little half lying around from the day before.

Stir the dressing ingredients around a bit to dissolve the brown sugar.

Now, grab a medium-sized head of red cabbage,

chop it in half,

and then thinly shred it. I like really crunchy slaws but since I know most people don’t, I would recommend slicing thinner than I did, as shown in this picture.

Toss it into the bowl.

Grab a large carrot or two,

and grate one in, and using a vegetable peeler, make long pieces of carrot peel with the other carrot. You could of course opt to simply grate but I think the long orange strands of carrot are gorgeous against the vibrant purple of the red cabbage.

No, I have no idea why they call it red cabbage when it clearly looks purple. Oh well. I do know that carrots were not originally orange, but bred that way by Dutch horticulturalists and gardeners in honor of their ruling House of Orange.

De-seed and de-rib a jalapeno (if you want more heat, include some or all of the seeds).

Finely mince it,

and toss it into the bowl too.

Mix it all around and refrigerate at least an hour or up to one day. Occasionally stir it around to make sure that all the dressing soaks into all the vegetables.

Just before serving, chop up 3/4 cup of cilantro (or fresh coriander, as they call it in the UK), and mix it in.

If you want to add feta, crumble up about six ounces and again mix. Serve immediately and enjoy!

Tangy and spicy red cabbage slaw

Adapted from Real Simple

Serves 8


  • Two tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • Salt and pepper
  • Three tablespoons brown sugar
  • 1/3 cup fresh-squeezed lime juice (from about two to three limes)
  • 1/2 medium red cabbage, cored and shredded
  • One jalapeno, de-seeded, de-ribbed, and minced
  • One large carrot, 1/2 peeled strips, 1/2 grated
  • 3/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
  • Six ounces feta cheese, crumbled (optional – see note)

1. Mix together olive oil, salt and pepper, three tablespoons brown sugar, and the lime juice in a large bowl.

2. Core and shred the cabbage. Using a vegetable peeler, peel half the carrot into strips, and grate the remaining half. De-seed and de-rib the jalapeno and mince, and add all to the bowl with the lime dressing.

3. Chill in the refrigerator, tossing occasionally, for at least an hour, or up to one day before serving.

4. Top with cilantro and feta (if using) just before serving.

Note: adding in feta will make this recipe non-vegan, though it will still be vegetarian, of course.


Merker, Kate. “Tangy Red Cabbage Slaw” from “Take it Outside: Mexican Feast.” Real Simple. June 2010: 228. Print.


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