Just in time for 4th of July, I’m sprucing up this post and recipe a bit. I made this last night and it’s still one of my favorite-ever slaw recipes, simple and fast and perfect for summer dinners when it’s too hot to do much but chop and toss.
When I first wrote about this slaw, back in 2011, I talked about how hard it was for us to keep our hands out of the bowl as we waited for the rest of our dinner to cook. It was the same last night – an hour or so before dinner we devoured the bowl I put together for photos and found ourselves picking at the serving dish both before and after dinner. Brett just now turned to me and said “we get to eat that slaw again for lunch today, right?”
Here’s what I said about this slaw a few years ago: This slaw is like going on a tropical vacation and, freshly showered and dressed after a day of sweating on the beach, eating dinner in a fresh, clean, beachside cafe cooled by evening breezes. If you’ve been on a tropical vacation, you know what I’m talking about. Relaxed and fresh, light and not overdone. With flavors that suggest somewhere warm and exotic.
I may not say that in the same words today, but it still holds. Last night was our first meal back from five days in the mountains and desert of Southeastern Oregon, and I wanted something fresh, crunchy, and light to round out the dense, calorie-packed backpacking meals we’d been eating. We served it with grilled chicken, which I should note made for a great gluten-free meal (using tamari instead of soy sauce in the dressing), planned because one of our best friends here in Eugene has celiac. She ended up at the last minute not being able to come, but we enjoyed our lack of gluten in her absence. (Well, except that we drank beers. So maybe not.)
I also ended up adding some chopped long beans to it before we served it, and that reminded me that there are a lot of options for adding other vegetables. I’ve listed some ideas in the recipe below. There’s also two chances to add some heat, which I don’t do nearly enough – you could add chili sauce to the dressing or chop some chilis right into the veggies.
Crunchy peanut slaw
Adapted slightly from The Kitchn
Makes approximately 6-8 substantial side servings
- 1 head green cabbage
- 1 bunch scallions
- 1 cup cilantro leaves and stems (about two big handfuls)
- Optional addition ideas: shredded carrots, chopped long beans/snow peas/snap peas, thawed frozen peas, thinly sliced radishes, finely chopped chili peppers
- 1/2 cup canola, rapeseed, or other flavorless oil
- 3 Tbsp. rice vinegar
- 1 Tbsp. sesame oil
- 2 tsp. soy sauce (plus more to taste, if needed)
- 1 Tbsp. sugar
- Squeeze of sriracha or other chili sauce, to taste (optional)
- 1 1/2 cups roasted peanuts (salted or unsalted are fine, and almonds would work well too)
– Prepare and combine the vegetables: Remove the outer leaves of the cabbage and discard. Shred the cabbage (I use basically the method in this video but with quarters instead of halves – I quarter the cabbage, cut out the core, then cut as thin of slices as I can using as sharp of a big knife as I can find). Slice and/or chop the scallions (white, light green, and dark green parts) and roughly chop the cilantro (leaves and stems all together). Prepare any other optional vegetables you’re going to add. Toss everything together in a big bowl.
– Make the dressing: Whisk together the liquid ingredients plus the sugar and optional chili sauce. Toss with the vegetables and adjust soy sauce and other ingredients as necessary.
– Add peanuts: Before serving, toss in the peanuts.
Making ahead: The dressed salad will stay well in the fridge for a day or two, though it will lose a bit of crunch. The peanuts will lose crunch and flavor, though, so add those right before eating if you can. (If you’re planning on leftovers from the get-go, set aside what you’re going to eat right away and add the peanuts to that.)