Coleslaw is one of those versatile recipes that you can enhance with almost any ingredients with crunch or colour.
“Poppy seeds are nice. Sesame seeds work well,” says Brian Faulkner of BCfresh and an avowed cabbage lover.
“Apple is great. You can use sesame oil or rice vinegar, any of the lighter vinegars.”
You can also season coleslaw with whatever you like. Traditional fall poultry seasonings like savoury or marjoram work well when you’re making a fall version, he adds.
“We make a quickie slaw with cabbage, carrots, raw ichiban noodles, rice vinegar and a tiny bit of vegetable oil. It’s just a nice flavour and it’s even better tomorrow and better still the next day,” says Faulkner.
Another family favourite is fresh pickled cabbage to go on top of fish tacos.
“That’s what’s nice about cabbage. You get mileage out of it and you can cook it a few different ways.”
Here are some recipes to try.
Coleslaw is a classic cabbage dish with endless variations. It can be made with any type of cabbage, chopped coarsely or shredded finely, made with a vinaigrette or mayonnaise, and with as many or as few ingredients as you wish. Here are two suggestions.
1 small head green cabbage (about 1 kg/2 lb)
7 ml (1 1/2 tsp) kosher salt, plus more for seasoning (or half as much table salt)
1/4 medium red onion, finely chopped
50 ml (1/4 cup) cider vinegar
50 ml (1/4 cup) mayonnaise
50 ml (1/4 cup) sour cream
5 ml (1 tsp) Dijon mustard
5 ml (1 tsp) granulated sugar
2 medium carrots, peeled and coarsely grated
Freshly ground black pepper, plus more for seasoning
Slice cabbage in half through core and again into quarters. Remove core (the solid white area) on each piece and discard. Thinly slice each quarter crosswise into strips 3 mm (1/8 inch) wide.
Place cabbage in a large colander set over a large bowl or plate, sprinkle with measured salt and toss to coat. Place a heavy bowl on top of cabbage and place a heavy can or two in the bowl to weigh it down. Let sit until cabbage has released about 50 ml (1/4 cup) of moisture, at least 1 hour. (Salting the cabbage and letting it sit reduces the moisture content of the cabbage and gives the final salad a crunchier texture.)
Meanwhile, in a small bowl, mix onion and vinegar. Set aside until cabbage is ready.
In the bottom of a large bowl big enough to hold the finished slaw, mix mayonnaise, sour cream, mustard, sugar and 1 ml (1/4 tsp) freshly ground pepper.
When cabbage is ready, squeeze large handfuls to release any excess liquid and place in large bowl with dressing. Add grated carrots and onion-vinegar mixture; toss to combine. Taste and season with additional salt and pepper, if needed. Serve immediately or keep refrigerated in a tightly sealed container for up to 1 day.
Makes 8 servings.
Other ingredient suggestions: Chopped celery, radish slices, diced apple, diced cheddar cheese, diced sweet pepper, almost any kind of nuts, raisins, dry mustard, celery seed, crushed ramen noodles.
50 ml (1/4 cup) apple cider vinegar
10 ml (2 tsp) canola oil
5 ml (1 tsp) honey
1/4 medium green cabbage, thinly sliced
1/4 red onion, thinly sliced
In a large bowl, whisk together vinegar, oil and honey. Add cabbage and onion and toss well.
Makes 4 servings.
BRAISED RED CABBAGE WITH BACON
This low-effort recipe brings out the sweet flavour of cabbage and eliminates the sulphury heat some people dislike. It is also great as leftovers.
You can use any cabbage for this recipe, but red gives the dish a rich colour.
1 medium head red cabbage
6 thick slices bacon, cut into short pieces about 5 mm (1/4 inch) wide
1 medium yellow onion, thinly sliced
Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
30 ml (2 tbsp) packed dark brown sugar
30 ml (2 tbsp) Dijon mustard
75 ml (1/3 cup) cider vinegar
250 ml (1 cup) low-sodium chicken broth (approx)
Slice cabbage lengthwise into quarters. Cut out white core and discard. Slice each quarter across the grain into strips 5 mm (1/4 inch) thick.
Place bacon in a large Dutch oven (with a tight-fitting lid) over medium heat and cook, stirring occasionally, until browned and most of the fat has rendered.
Add onion and stir to coat in bacon fat. Season with salt and pepper and cook until onion softens and edges start to brown, 4 to 5 minutes.
Add sliced cabbage and stir to coat in bacon fat. Cook until cabbage begins to soften, about 4 minutes.
Stir in brown sugar and mustard.
Deglaze pan with cider vinegar, scraping up any browned bits from bottom of pan with a wooden spoon. Add chicken broth and season with a few pinches of salt and more freshly ground pepper.
Bring to a simmer, then reduce heat to medium-low and cover pan tightly. Simmer, stirring occasionally, until cabbage is soft and soupy and bacon is tender, about 45 minutes. If cabbage begins to look dry, add more broth or water.
Makes 8 servings.
BEEF AND CABBAGE ASIAN-STYLE BUNS
This is a great two-in-one recipe. You can eat half right away for dinner with noodles or mashed potatoes and use the other half to make the buns.
Beef pot roast, such as cross rib, blade or brisket (1.25 to 1.5 kg/2 1/2 to 3 lb)
Salt and pepper, to taste
30 ml (2 tbsp) vegetable oil
250 ml (1 cup) sodium-reduced soy sauce
125 ml (1/2 cup) each hoisin sauce and packed brown sugar
50 ml (1/4 cup) sherry or apple juice
15 ml (1 tbsp) each minced garlic and fresh ginger
2 onions, thinly sliced
Half head cabbage, thinly sliced (about 1 l/4 cups)
15 ml (1 tbsp) cornstarch
2 pkgs (340 g) refrigerated country biscuit dough
1 egg, lightly beaten
Black sesame seeds
Pat roast dry; season with salt and pepper.
In a large Dutch oven, heat oil over medium-high heat. Add roast and brown well, turning to brown all over, about 15 minutes. Remove roast to platter. Discard fat.
Add 250 ml (1 cup) water to pan; cook over medium-high heat to loosen any brown bits. Add soy sauce, hoisin sauce, brown sugar, sherry, garlic and ginger; bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low; return roast to Dutch oven. Cover and cook, turning occasionally, for 1 1/2 hours.
Turn roast over. Add onions and cabbage to Dutch oven; simmer until meat is very tender, about 1 hour. Using slotted spoon, remove roast and vegetables to a platter and tent with foil.
Measure 500 ml (2 cups) liquid and strain into a saucepan. Discard remaining liquid. Whisk cornstarch with 50 ml (1/4 cup) cold water; whisk into saucepan and cook over medium-high heat, stirring, until thickened, about 4 minutes.
Using a fork, shred cooled beef into fine strips. Toss with sauce, cabbage and onions. Divide mixture in half; reserve half for buns.
Preheat oven to 230 C (450 F).
On a lightly floured surface, roll or pat dough into 10-cm (4-inch) circles. For each bun, place 15 ml (1 tbsp) of filling in dough circle. Moisten dough with water, bring dough around filling and pinch seam to seal. Arrange buns, seam side down, on 2 parchment paper-lined rimmed baking sheets.
In a small bowl, combine egg and 15 ml (1 tbsp) water; brush over buns. Sprinkle with sesame seeds.
Bake until golden brown, about 12 minutes.
To make ahead, refrigerate assembled buns in airtight container for up to 3 days or overwrap and freeze for up to 1 month. Increase cooking time by 5 minutes.
Makes 20 buns and 1 pot roast meal for 4.
Source: Foodland Ontario.
CABBAGE AND APPLE BORSCHT
This hearty cold-weather soup is a great accompaniment to pork and poultry or served from a vacuum container at lunchtime.
30 ml (2 tbsp) butter
2 l (8 cups) finely shredded cabbage
1 onion, chopped
1 celery stalk, sliced
1 apple, peeled, cored and sliced
250 ml (1 cup) apple cider
2 cans (each 284 ml/10 oz) consomme
1 l (4 cups) water
1 bay leaf
5 ml (1 tsp) dried thyme
Sour cream and chopped fresh parsley, for garnish
In a Dutch oven or large saucepan, melt butter over medium-high heat. Add cabbage, onion, celery and apple; cook for about 10 minutes, covered, or until vegetables are softened. Stir in apple cider, consomme, water, bay leaf and thyme. Cover and bring to a boil; reduce heat and simmer for about 15 minutes. Discard bay leaf.
Serve immediately with a dollop of sour cream and sprinkle of parsley. (This may be covered and refrigerated for up to 2 days.)
Makes 6 servings (about 2 l/8 cups).
Source: Foodland Ontario.
Roasting cabbage gives it a flavourful crunch and develops the sweetness, while leaving behind some of the strong flavours usually associated with this veggie.
For extra flavour, add your favourite fresh herbs when seasoning with salt and pepper. Sprinkle about 5 ml (1 tsp) over cabbage before cooking and an extra 15 ml (1 tsp) just before serving.
If you find it difficult to cut the cabbage into slices, this recipe also works great for cabbage wedges; just flip the wedges halfway through the cooking time. Or you can cut the cabbage into finer pieces, as you would to braise it, and stir them frequently on the baking sheet. Smaller pieces or thinner slices will take less time to cook.
1 medium green cabbage, cut vertically into 2.5-cm (1-inch) slices or “steaks”
Extra-virgin olive oil
Coarse salt and ground pepper, to taste
Preheat oven to 200 C (400 F).
Brush a rimmed baking sheet with 15 ml (1 tbsp) extra-virgin olive oil.
Place cabbage steaks in a single layer on sheet and brush with 30 ml (2 tbsp) oil. Season with salt and pepper.
Roast until cabbage is tender and edges are golden, 40 to 45 minutes.
Makes 8 servings.