Who loves coleslaw with fruit? We do! This vegan coleslaw recipe with the sweetness from the pear and crunch from the carrot is perfectly finished off with an Asian vegan vinaigrette.
Why I Love Vegan Coleslaw with Pear and Carrot
Growing up in Malaysia, I didn’t eat salads like we do today. So, the first coleslaw I ever ate was from KFC. Yup, that was the benchmark that was inadvertently set upon me. Can I say that it was delicious!
I don’t think I really understood what I was eating, but creamy foods in Southeast Asia just wasn’t a thing, so for me, it was something new and different.
As I grew older, my parents would take us to these fancy steak restaurants that served beautiful cuts of steaks, escargot and of course, a side of coleslaw. That was perhaps the first time I consumed what a coleslaw should taste like and how good was it?
Over the years, I have tried many different versions, and really, I don’t have one favourite over another.
Sometimes I prefer a creamy recipe and on this occasion, I felt like a vegan vinaigrette. They all suit different taste buds and different occasions and the selections are endless!
Tips on Preparing the Best Coleslaw
One of the main reasons we love coleslaw is because it’s so easy to make. There are, however, some tips you should adhere to, to ensure you make the best coleslaw possible.
How to Shred the Cabbage
The base of any coleslaw is cabbage and a lot of it! How you shred the cabbage does, in fact, make a difference. People usually just use a knife to cut thinly, or they use a peeler or a mandolin. Some also use a blender to shred the cabbage.
What you are after are thin slices, and a good knife is the easiest way to go. Placing the cabbage in a blender in my book doesn’t work as it makes it all turn mushy.
I don’t use the mandoline because the cabbage is simply too big for it but have tried it with the peeler but only because I had to make a massive portion for a party and it was just faster. I did notice after it had been sitting on the buffet for a while that the coleslaw started to get a little watery.
In all the coleslaws I have ever made for a dinner party, slicing by hand gave me the best outcome.
Always start slicing the cabbage after you have cut it into quarters. Thankfully we can buy cabbage in halves and quarters, so nothing goes to waste. Remove the core by cutting a V shape and then lay it flat on the chopping board and start shredding.
Remove Excess Water from Cabbage
Cabbage possesses a bit of water content so to ensure that your coleslaw doesn’t end up in a sloppy mess, which I’m sure you have had before, you need to extract as much water out of it as possible.
After you shred the cabbage, toss it in some salt and let it sit for 30 minutes. The salt will draw out the excess water.
Wash the cabbage after that and pat dry before use. This will allow your coleslaw to last longer throughout the day as well.
I have also made coleslaw on a whim without doing this. Only because I knew it would be devoured in a matter of minutes, so it didn’t even get the chance to go soggy! But if you’re making the coleslaw for a slow dinner, best to remove the excess water.
Choose the Right Ingredients
The next step is deciding what other ingredients to put in the coleslaw. It is really important to select fruit and vegetables that don’t have high water content and can happily sit in a dressing for some time.
Produce such as apples, pear, fennel, carrot, onion, kohlrabi, all work really well. All citrus fruits, melons, cucumber, celery and tomatoes are not suitable for a coleslaw.
Coleslaw is also all about the crunch, which typically does not exist with produce with high water content. Perfectly ok to also add some nuts and herbs if you like.
In terms of which cabbage to use, green is by far the best. Red will of course also do the job but can sometimes bleed and cause the entire coleslaw to turn purple. So, this is not a good choice if it needs to sit for some time on a dinner table. Or be smart and select other ingredients that won’t stain so easily. Savoy and Napa cabbage can also be used.
Making the Right Dressing
While coleslaw is traditionally made with a creamy dressing which usually incorporates mayonnaise, vinegar of some kind and mustard, however, coleslaws have evolved, and the choices of dressing is only limited by your imagination.
Some other interesting additions include chipotle, sour cream, buttermilk and crème fraiche.
We love both creamy coleslaw dressings and also vinaigrette-based dressings. For this recipe, we opted for a vegan coleslaw dressing with an Asian twist to spruce up the taste buds.
I have also found that the amount of dressing needed for a coleslaw varies from person to person. You don’t want it to turn into a soggy mess, so my advice is always to add half the dressing first.
Toss it through so you can see the consistency of the salad. You can always add more, but you can never remove dressing so take it slowly.
Making Coleslaw Ahead of Time
To keep the crunch of the coleslaw, keep the coleslaw and the dressing separate. Only toss it through when you’re ready to serve.
How to Make Vegan Coleslaw with Pear and Carrot
How to Prepare the Cabbage
Remove the core of the red cabbage and discard. Slice thinly.
In a medium-size mixing bowl, add 1 tsp of salt to the red cabbage and coat well. Let it sit for 30 minutes to draw out the excess moisture from the cabbage.
Wash the cabbage to remove the salt and pat dry before use.
If you love cabbage in your salads, check out some of its best cabbage pairings for some inspiration when you’re creating your next salad recipe.
How to Prepare the Rest of the Salad
Peel the carrots and using a julienne peeler, peel the carrot into thin strips. Or cut into thin slices.
Peel the pear. Using a mandolin, slice thinly and then cut into thin julienne slices or matchsticks.
Dry toast the crushed peanuts in a small fry pan for 1-2 minutes. Set aside to cool down.
How to Prepare the Vegan Vinaigrette
In a small mixing bowl, add the rice wine vinegar, soy sauce, olive oil, mirin, sesame oil and grated ginger.
Mix until well combined.
How to Assemble the Vegan Coleslaw
Add the red cabbage, carrots, pear and ¾ of the crushed peanuts into a medium-sized mixing bowl.
Season with pepper.
Pour in the sesame soy dressing and mix vegan coleslaw thoroughly.
Place the coleslaw on a nice platter in a heap.
Sprinkle the rest of the crushed peanuts on top.
Sprinkle the dry shallots on top.
How simple is that! Slice, mix and toss! The freshness of the coleslaw ingredients is complemented so well with the Asian vegan vinaigrette.
The peanuts give it some extra crunch while the dry shallots adds to the Asian element of the vegan coleslaw recipe. Enjoy!
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Vegan Coleslaw with Pear and Carrot
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- Remove the core of the red cabbage and discard. Slice thinly. In a medium-size mixing bowl, add 1 tsp of salt to the red cabbage and coat well. Let it sit for 30 minutes to draw out the excess moisture from the cabbage. Wash the cabbage to remove the salt and pat dry before use.
- Peel the carrots and using a julienne peeler, peel the carrot into thin strips. Or cut into thin slices.
- Peel the pear. Using a mandoline, slice thinly and then cut into thin julienne slices or matchsticks.
- Dry toast the crushed peanuts in a small fry pan for 1-2 minutes. Set aside to cool down.
- In a small mixing bowl, add the rice wine vinegar, soy sauce, olive oil, mirin, sesame oil and grated ginger.
- Mix until well combined.
- Add the red cabbage, carrots, pear and ¾ of the crushed peanuts into a medium-sized mixing bowl.
- Season with pepper.
- Pour in the salad dressing and mix vegan coleslaw thoroughly.
- Place the coleslaw on a nice platter in a heap.
- Sprinkle the rest of the crushed peanuts on top.
- Sprinkle the dry shallots on top.
- Serve immediately
- You can use green cabbage or both for this salad if you wish.
- You can use apples instead of pear or both.
- Please omit the peanuts if you would like a nut free salad.
- You can add fennel and/ or kohlrabi if you wish.
- To make this salad gluten free, replace soy sauce with tamari.
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