What is the hands-down classic side dish for a summer barbecue? To me, it's crunchy, creamy coleslaw; period. Not only is it easy to put together, but often, the longer the coleslaw "sits," the more flavorful and creamy it becomes as the cabbage releases water into the dressing coating each crisp and colorful leaf. It is cooling, satisfying and a great textural and temperature contrast to whatever you have grilling or smoking. While I don't necessarily recommend that you make this dish ahead (and you really don't need to, it's maybe 10 minutes start to finish of active time), it doesn't hurt! I 100% enjoyed this for dinner, lunch, and a snack (yes, truly a snack) up to 3 days after original creation.
Sustainability Spotlight: Cabbage is a great source of vitamins (A, C & K) as well as calcium, potassium and magnesium and is a lovely sustainability choice because it is naturally repellent for pests. The natural compounds (glucosinolates; also thought to be cancer-preventing) within this vegetable mean that there is little (to no) requirement for the use of pesticides in production. According to Food Print, the vegetable (even if pesticides are used) do not generally retain pesticide residue within the leaves. This is a great attribute for sustainability since the vegetable does not generally require any man-made chemicals to achieve high yield production results. Pesticides have been linked to cancer, Alzheimer's Disease, and even birth defects since studies have shown that these chemicals have the potential to harm our nervous system, reproductive system and the endocrine system. Limiting our use (and choosing products that have limited need for the use) of pesticides is important for human health.
Interestingly enough, the sustainability of cabbage just increased more than the limited need for pesticides; it has been also identified as a potential renewable resource and for reuse purposes! According to CNET.com, a research team at the Institute of Industrial Science at the University of Tokyo have developed compelling data which shows (so far) that edible food waste such as pressed cabbage, fruit peels and other food scraps can be transformed into a strong construction material. Even leaving the materials exposed to air for four months did not identify rotting or pests. While not a conclusive study, the results already sound fairly promising!
We need to find replacement materials for the valuable non-renewable resources we are exhausting; especially for buildings which are impacting the planet with our infrastructure needs (Did you know that the 4th largest contributor to carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions globally are our buildings? Yep!) Funding and finding alternatives for more sustainable choices need to be at the forefront of our technological advances towards a better future. Seems like the humble cabbage may be on its way to a breakthrough.
1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
3 tbsp sugar
2 tbsp veganise
1/3 cup avocado oil
1/4 tsp ground cayenne pepper
2 tsp stone ground mustard
salt & pepper to taste (start with 1/2 tsp and 1/4 tsp respectively)
3 cups red cabbage (coarsely sliced)
3 cups green cabbage (coarsely sliced)
3 tbsp chia seeds
1/4 of a red onion (sliced)
Combine all dressing ingredients into a personal blender and blitz until smooth / slightly foamy. Taste and adjust to your liking.
Combine all remaining ingredients (cabbage through red onion) into a large bowl.
Add dressing to your cabbage mixture and toss well.
Serve generous portions of this creamy, cooling and crunchy slaw at your next BBQ. This side goes especially well with my Smoked Tofu "Riblets" with Jalapeno Blackberry BBQ Sauce.
With love & hope for a better future for all of us - Jamie