Cole slaw finds its way onto many menus year round, but in summer a cold slaw seems especially appropriate. Slaws generally have either a creamy mayonnaise based dressing or a tangy vinegar based dressing.
Our recipe has an interesting Asian inspired twist. We'll be using a deliciously different peanut dressing and a Napa cabbage for a light and tasty variation on the traditional cabbage slaw.
Napa cabbage has an oval shape and a ruffled yellow green leaf. It has a less hard core than the common cabbage and a more tender leaf. Other than a thin slice at the bottom and a few outer leaves, the whole cabbage is useable. It is delicious raw and also can be stir fried or sautéed.
The cabbage cooks quickly because it is so tender; it is important not to cook it to long. A brief saute will preserve the delicate flavor. Many people who aren't fond of cabbage find Napa cabbage delightfully mild.
Cabbages are part of the cruciferous vegetable category which includes broccoli and cauliflower. These vegetables are known for providing tremendous health benefits including those that may help prevent some cancers. Napa cabbage is also high in dietary fiber and many vitamins, including C and K . Vitamin K is helpful in promoting good bone health. All this at only 20 calories a cup!
When we add carrots and peanuts to the slaw we pump up the nutritional values. Carrots are very high in vitamin C. Peanuts and nuts in general are reported to aid coronary health. They offer some protein and a good concentration of Vitamin E as well.
Feel free to add other vegetables to the slaw to suit your taste. Red peppers would be particularly good.
Asian Slaw with Peanut DressingIngredients
- 1 head of Napa cabbage
- 1 - 2 carrots
- ½ cup coarsely chopped peanuts
- (optional: green onions, red peppers, cilantro or vegetables of choice)
- 3 TBS rice wine vinegar
- 1 tsp sesame oil
- ½ tsp lemon juice
- 3 TBS peanut butter
- 1 ½ TBS soy sauce
- ½ TBS brown sugar
- 1 ½ TBS fresh grated ginger
- 1 TBS garlic
- 3 TBS vegetable oil
- (optional: add hot chili sauce or red pepper flakes to taste)
- In a small bowl, mix together all of the dressing ingredients except the vegetable oil.
- Whisk in the oil to make a thick, emulsified dressing.
- Take a slice off the bottom core of the Napa cabbage.
- Cut the cabbage into quarters lengthwise, the cut across the lengths into quarter inch slices.
- Finely shred the carrots on a box grater or microplane grater.
- Chop the peanuts coarsely.
- Toss the cabbage and carrots together.
- Pour the peanut dressing over the cabbage mix.
- Use only as much dressing as is needed to lightly coat the slaw.
- Sprinkle with the chopped peanuts and toss lightly.
- Garnish with green onions or cilantro if desired.
Napa cabbage makes a light and tender slaw which should be eaten fairly soon after dressing to keep it light and fluffy. It tastes fine if kept longer but it will collapse. Other cabbages can be used for a crunchier salad.
The dressing is delicious on chicken or pork. It can also be used as a pasta sauce over cold noodles or even a dipping sauce for satays or pot stickers.
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