Cool and Crunchy Coleslaws

I've tucked away my oven mitts and am giving my stove the rest of the season off. Instead, to beat the heat, I am slicing up some slaws -- a cabbage coleslaw, a broccoli slaw, you name.
By: Janel Ovrut Funk

The hot, sticky summer we know and love here in New England has finally come. I've tucked away my oven mitts and am giving my stove the rest of the season off. So how do I keep cool with my food? I slice up a coleslaw -- a cabbage slaw, a broccoli slaw, you name. And guess what? No mayo!

Slaws are a good way to get your fill of veggie servings in one dish, and they're inherently vegetarian-friendly. You can add diced fruit in for a sweet crunch or nuts for a heart-healthy, omega-3 boost. Vegetarians and flexitarians might want to throw in some beans, chickpeas or grilled tofu for a more complete, protein-packed dish. And no need to turn to the old standbys drenched in mayonnaise, which are high in fat and calories. Vinegars or light dressings do the trick nicely.

Here are some of my favorite slaws I've tried so far this year.

Summer Slaw with Farmers' Market Finds (shown above)

This slaw features cabbage, kohlrabi and carrots I picked up at my local farmers' market. I had never eaten or even seen kohlrabi before then! The farmer recommended I enjoy it raw, sliced into a salad. It has a slightly sweet taste reminiscent of a broccoli stalk.

Ingredients:
1/2 head cabbage, cut into thin slices
1 kohlrabi, cut into bite-sized pieces
10 carrots, cut into bite-sized pieces
1 tablespoon grape seed oil
3 tablespoons Orange Muscat Champagne Vinegar
Salt and pepper to taste

Chop and mix all ingredients in a big bowl. Whisk together the oil and vinegar and pour over the veggies. Let the flavors marinate for about 45 minutes.

In the end, this salad was fresh and easy with lots of crunch. You can get creative with your ingredient combination -- maybe try sliced radishes or broccoli stems in place of the kohlrabi or romaine lettuce instead of cabbage. If you can't find Orange Muscat Champagne Vinegar, a more specialty item, replicate it with a few tablespoons of orange juice mixed with some white wine vinegar.

Broccoli Slaw

This simple dish is made even easier thanks to the packaged, bare broccoli slaw you can find in most grocery stores. I was inspired by the simple recipe on the back of my slaw package, which called for ingredients I always have at home.

Ingredients:
1 bag broccoli slaw
1/4 cup chopped walnuts
1 apple, diced
1/2 cup raisins or dried cranberries
1/4 cup low-fat dressing of choice (I used a soy ginger dressing)

Put all together in a big bowl, mix and toss with dressing. I love fruit in my salads so the apples and raisins were a sweet treat. You can make this more of a full meal by adding in some teriyaki-flavored tofu.

Southwestern Corn and Black Bean Slaw

I got the idea for this salad mix from an issue of EatingWell but wanted to take it from salad to slaw. So I used my head and added a cabbage head to the mix (ha!). The crunchy cabbage addition was a big hit among my slaw-sampling friends.

Ingredients:
1 can of corn, unsalted
1/3 cup pine nuts, toasted
1/4 cup lime juice
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
1/2 teaspoon salt
Freshly ground pepper to taste
2 15-ounce cans black beans, rinsed
2 cups shredded red cabbage (or 1 bag of pre-shredded cabbage)
1 large tomato, diced
1/2 cup red onion, minced

Drain and rinse the cans of corn and beans. Place pine nuts in a small dry skillet over medium-low heat and cook, stirring, until fragrant and lightly browned, 2 to 4 minutes. (Heads up: Pine nuts toast very quickly!) Then, whisk lime juice, oil, cilantro, salt and pepper in a large bowl. Add the corn, pine nuts, beans, cabbage, tomato and onion; toss to coat. Refrigerate until you're ready to serve.

Serving tip: This was fun to eat scooped onto tortilla chips.

Janel Ovrut, MS RD LDN, loves experimenting with vegetarian and vegan cooking. Read her food blog, Dine Dish Delish, and follow her on Twitter @DietitianJanel. Catch up on her previous posts here.

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