Fruity Rainbow Slaw


There's something about slaw...the way even the word alone just slips off your tongue, giving little away as to its true nature. It could be elfin and delightfully whimsical, or seedy and leery, a thief lurking in the shadows. And the actual concoctions called "slaw" are just as capricious, in my opinion. I seem to have a visceral reaction to the whole spectrum, for better or worse. I LOVE most Asian slaw recipes, for example, down to the last crunchy soy-sauced Ramen noodle bite. Creamy coleslaw, however, typically makes my stomach turn, especially when coated in mayo or the ambiguous UK "salad cream"; one key exception, if it's hidden neatly in a fish taco stuffed with more dominant flavors, but then I'm just enjoying the texture and ignoring the taste. In any case, love it or hate it, I usually try to avoid it unless I make it, considering its potential high calorie duplicity.  Recently, though, I've been drawn to "rainbow slaw", a blend of shredded red and white cabbage, carrots, and slivers of broccoli and cauliflower stalks. We generally avoid small pre-packaged salad mixes, being less sustainable as well as less economical, but this week it was on sale. Since I'd been mildly fixated on making some kind of slaw salad with a fruit, veggie, and nut mix, I bought a pack, which I tried to extend with my own homemade version. Making your own is satisfying, since you can choose your ratios, and it's only slightly less "pretty" than a store-bought, drying and nutrient-leaking, packaged version. It's easiest if you throw everything through a grater, so texture is a consideration pit against time. You wouldn't necessarily expect the shape of food to make a huge difference in taste, or really affect the compatibility of different foods, but somehow shredding raw vegetables does really allow for infinite experimentation, and the salad that resulted seems like a very flexible template. Because of the "throw it all in" nature of this salad, nothing really needs specific quantities. This time I used the packaged red and white cabbage, carrots, broccoli and cauliflower as the base, adding a little extra broccoli stalk slivers and carrots of my own. I mixed it with sliced apples and pears, raisins and walnuts. Next time, I think I might cut back on the fruit and nuts and increase the savory a bit with beans. I can also see using jicama strips, and other dried fruits, like chopped dates, maybe with a yogurt dressing instead of the tangy one here. I'll update dressings as I try them out. In the meantime, send me yours! : )

Fruity Rainbow Slaw

  • 3-4 cups "rainbow slaw" mix (grate/shred desired quantities of red and white cabbage, carrots, broccoli and cauliflower stalks)
  • 1-2 red-skinned apples
  • 1 firm, ripe pear
  • 1/3 cup raisins
  • 1/3 cup toasted walnuts

For the dressing:

  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
  • 1/4 cup orange juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon paprika
  • dash pepper

1. Finally shred cabbage, carrots, broccoli and cauliflower stalks, discarding any tough pieces of stalk and placing in a bowl.

2. Thinly slice apples and pear, skin on, and toss with the slaw mixture.

3. Add raisins and walnuts and mix well.

4. For the dressing, whisk the mustard, honey, vinegar, orange juice, and spices until smooth. Pour over slaw and toss to coat. Chill in the refrigerator half an hour before serving.