7 Summer Slaws That Put the Store-Bought Stuff to Shame

Add crunch to tacos, pulled pork and more with these creative takes on classic coleslaw.

By: Emily Lee
Melissa-dArabian-Fennel-Slaw

Melissa-dArabian-Fennel-Slaw

Photo by: Tara Donne ©FOOD NETWORK : 2012, Television Food Network, G.P.

Tara Donne, FOOD NETWORK : 2012, Television Food Network, G.P.

If there’s one thing we’ve learned from season after season of summer grilling, it’s that you should never underestimate the power of a good slaw to transform your meal. Crisp and cool, with a subtle vinegar kick, a fresh slaw can add great texture and flavor depth to almost any summer dish — tacos, burgers, and, most of all, pulled pork.

On the other hand, if your slaw isn’t up to par, it can really drag a dish down. Pre-packaged coleslaw from the deli counter at your local grocery store may be convenient, but more often than not, you’re getting some wilted green cabbage swimming in a tub of watered-down mayonnaise and sugar. Next time you’re planning a picnic or cookout, try one of these healthy homemade slaws. We guarantee you’ll never go back to store-bought.

Melissa d’Arabian combines purple cabbage with sweet, aromatic fennel and chopped bacon to create a crunchy and colorful summer slaw with just 1 gram of sugar per serving.

If you prefer a sweeter slaw, take a leaf out of Geoffrey Zakarian’s book and try adding minced ginger and sweet golden raisins. That way, you’ll find yourself using far less table sugar.

FNK_ASIAN_RED_CABBAGE_SLAW_WITH_PEANUTS_H_.jpg

FNK_ASIAN_RED_CABBAGE_SLAW_WITH_PEANUTS_H_.jpg

Photo by: Matt Armendariz ©2013, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved

Matt Armendariz, 2013, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved

Play up red cabbage’s greatest asset — its crunch — by tossing a few crushed peanuts into your slaw for even more great texture. Spicy mustard, toasted sesame oil, soy sauce and ginger combine to create a robust dressing that’s low in sugar and fat. Pair it with chicken dishes and the ginger and mustard flavors will shine.

Bobby_Flay_Fit_Coleslaw_With_Cumin_Lime_Vinaigrette.tif

Bobby_Flay_Fit_Coleslaw_With_Cumin_Lime_Vinaigrette.tif

Bobby Flay's Coleslaw with Cumin-Lime Vinaigrette

Photo by: Matt Armendariz ©Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved

Matt Armendariz, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved

The spicy, nutty flavor of cumin complements a zesty lime juice dressing in Bobby Flay’s quick, mayonnaise-free coleslaw recipe. If you really like it hot, add a few dashes of your favorite hot sauce and give it a stir before serving.

Food Network Kitchen's Chopped Slaw for Summer Healthy Grilling as seen on Food Network

Photo by: Stephen Johnson ©2014, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved

Stephen Johnson, 2014, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved

This hearty slaw includes two kinds of cabbage — purple and green — plus a touch of carrots. But the secret is in the dressing: a sweet and savory mix that includes buttermilk, whole-grain mustard, pineapple juice and an array of spices.

Photo by: Armando Rafael Moutela ©2014, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved. 2014, Cooking Channel, LLC. All Rights Reserved.

Armando Rafael Moutela, 2014, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved. 2014, Cooking Channel, LLC. All Rights Reserved.

Lime juice, ancho powder and honey add tangy, spicy, sweet flavors to a crunchy jicama base. This slaw would be perfect with shrimp skewers or another sweet or spicy kebab.

In Bobby’s recipe, earthy-tasting red cabbage is imbued with floral, citrusy flavor from orange and lime juices plus basil and cilantro leaves.

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