Did you know “coleslaw” is actually derived from the Dutch word, “koolsla,” from kool (cabbage) + sla (salad)?
Neither did I! I love words.
Some people say “cold slaw” and others, “coleslaw” and if you’re a member of the latter group, you win! I also love winning.
Coleslaw is a delicious staple in the Southeastern United States. Everyone that makes it has a different recipe. Some are super creamy, mayonnaise based. And others are dripping with yummy tangy vinegar.
I prefer a happy medium between the mayo and vinegar, served up with my daddy’s Carolina BBQ, hash, or smoked sausages, and a roasted vegetable form the garden, whatever’s in season.
What Type of Cabbage is Best?
For a recipe as simple as this, stick with either red or green or a mix of the two. I used only green cabbage because I purchased it per-shredded in a bag to save time, and I’ve never found red cabbage pre-shredded. But if you have the time and want a more colorful version, grab a fresh head of each.
Green cabbage is the OG of the cabbage family. It’s the tried and true, good-for-everything, basic cabbage that you can use for most recipes: sauerkraut, stir fry, coleslaw, roasted slices, grilled slices, wraps, whatever your keto heart desires.
Red cabbage is green cabbage’s beautiful sister in cabbage land. Anything you make with green cabbage, you can do with red (sometimes called purple) cabbage. Just know the red color can and will leak into the other ingredients, so if you don’t want pink/purple sauerkraut, use green instead.
Vinegar Types for this Recipe
For our coleslaw, we will use one of 3 types: white vinegar, apple cider vinegar, or coconut vinegar.
White Vinegar (distilled) is the cleanest, cheapest, sharpest flavor of vinegar you can get. It’s the plain Jane, everyday vinegar that should be in everyone’s pantry for so many wonderful uses, the least of which for cooking. For recipes, it’s mostly good where it can mingle with other flavors since it’s a bit too sharp to stand out on it’s own. And for that reason, I only want you to use it in this recipe as a last resort.
If you do have to use it, make the entire recipe without the vinegar, then add it teaspoon by teaspoon mixing and tasting between each, until you’re satisfied.
Remember to pay very close attention when tasting because it’s way too easy to overdo it with vinegar. If you do accidentally get your coleslaw too sharp, try adding a teaspoon or more of your chosen sweetener to tamp it down.
Apple Cider Vinegar isn’t quite as sharp as white vinegar and has a nice fruity quality that people love. Since it has the hard apple cider quality to the flavor, it goes well with things like a fall bbq with pulled pork or sausage, and especially in fresh, crispy salads.
Feel free to use apple cider vinegar in almost any dish calling for a light vinegar, just be aware of how the fruity flavor will mix with the rest of the meal.
Lastly, there’s coconut vinegar.
There’s so much you should know about coconut vinegar, but I promise to keep this short since you’re only here for the slaw. The important thing to know about the flavor is that it tastes a bit sweeter and less acidic than apple cider vinegar. So if you need less acidity in your life for any health reason, choose coconut vinegar. You can order it online, but I have also seen it popping up in grocery stores lately (it is cheaper online).
In the spirit of brevity, let’s do some bullet points:
- This cloudy, mildly sharp vinegar comes from the naturally fermented sap of coconut blossoms.
- Can lower blood sugar.
- It is full of probiotics, prebiotics, amino acids, and B vitamins.
- Very good for your gut.
- Supports fat burning, can lower inflammation and levels of harmful lipids in the bloodstream.
- Contains polyphenols, a compound in plants that can protect from free radicals (a cause of aging).
Most importantly, don’t buy crappy coconut vinegar as some can still contain harmful ingredients.
Look for organic, raw, unfiltered, made from coconut sap, and contains the “mother culture”. I use Coconut Secret brand, Dynamic Health is also a good one (I do not receive any payment for mentioning these brands).
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