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Now that we have a pulled barbecue-style chicken recipe on the blog, it’s time to make a slaw to top off that chicken.
I’m not much of a coleslaw fan. In fact, I usually go out of my way to avoid coleslaw when it’s served at restaurants. Why do restaurants still offer coleslaw as a side option? Do people choose coleslaw when presented with the other options: french fries, seasonal veggie, a salad, or coleslaw. The answer: No!
<–Clearly I have strong feelings about coleslaw.
Coleslaw itself is a very simple salad, and honestly quite appetizing. Carrots, onion, and cabbage are usually the main ingredients. Okay, maybe the ingredients on their own aren’t appealing–other than carrots–but they have potential. The unappetizing part, in my opinion, usually comes from the dressing. There’s just something about a warm mayo dressing, poured over cabbage, that just doesn’t sound so appealing. And the sogginess. It’s all too much.
After Helen worked on perfecting the barbecue chicken, I knew you would want a coleslaw to top or serve on the side of that chicken. So I got busy in the kitchen, determined to make a really good coleslaw. A coleslaw even I wouldn’t turn down.
After many tests, I discovered a couple of “tricks” that take traditional coleslaw from a “not going to order that” to “I’ll take the coleslaw, please!”.
Trick No. 1 Salted Cabbage: Salting the cabbage before making the slaw produces the best coleslaw.
Salting veggies with a high water content brings out the water in the veggies. This means you’re getting the water out of the cabbage before that water ruins the dressed salad. That extra water can result in soggy coleslaw. The kind of result that usually makes me opt for the roasted veggies.
Trick No. 2 Greek Yogurt: Once the water is removed from the cabbage (resulting in crunchy cabbage), and the remaining two salad ingredients are added to the cabbage, it’s time to make the dressing.
Coleslaw dressing is usually made with mayonnaise, along with a few other ingredients (sugar, mustard, seasoning). Using Greek yogurt adds a delicious amount of tang to the dressing, and the thick consistency of the yogurt makes for a great dressing base. The yogurt dressing is thick, but incredibly light once it’s mixed with the cabbage slaw. I personally don’t like slaw that’s drowning in a dressing. This dressing adds just enough flavor to the cabbage without overpowering the fresh veggies.
Thanks to the salting process, the slaw keeps in the fridge for a few days without getting soggy, watery, or gross. I find that the flavor of the slaw improves after it rests in the fridge overnight, but you can also enjoy immediately after making the dish. Serve the slaw as a side dish or on top of the southern pulled chicken.
Homemade Coleslaw with Greek Yogurt Dressing
An easy, from-scratch coleslaw made with only three ingredients and then topped with a Greek yogurt dressing.
- ½ large green cabbage finely shredded (about 5 packed cups)
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 cup shredded carrots
- ½ small sweet yellow onion chopped (½ cup once chopped)
Add the shredded cabbage to a large bowl. Sprinkle the salt over the cabbage, and work the salt into the cabbage with your hands. Let the mixture rest for 30 minutes. This will remove water from the cabbage, which can make for a soggy coleslaw.
Meanwhile, make the dressing. Whisk to combine all the dressing ingredients in a medium-size bowl.
Pour the salted cabbage into a colander and rinse with fresh water. Place the cabbage on one half of an absorbent dish towel (you may want to layer two dish towels), layering a portion of the dish towel over the cabbage. Press on the top of the towel to remove water from the cabbage. I prefer to squeeze the dish towel, with the cabbage inside, over the sink.
Rinse out the large bowl, and return the cabbage to the bowl, along with the remaining coleslaw ingredients: carrots and onions.
Pour the sauce over the coleslaw and stir to combine. Serve the coleslaw immediately, or for best flavor allow the coleslaw to sit in the fridge for a few hours (covered).