A Great Slaw Side Dish for Chicken, Fish or Beef
Last night my wife and I prepared another great meal from Blue Apron. This was based on a Cuban style chicken thighs cooked in a garlic and citrus sauce that was delicious but I really wanted to share with you the cole slaw made with cilantro dressing.
Why Do They Call It Cole Slaw?
I wasn’t sure if I should call this cole slaw or just slaw and that got me thinking where the name “cole slaw” came from so I did a little research and found out it is from the Dutch term “koolsla” which means cabage salad. I also learned it can be made with either mayonnaise or with a vinaigrette.
According to Wikipedia, the term coleslaw first appeared in the 18th century when the Dutch word “koolsla” was anglicised into “kool” which sounds like cole in Dutch and “sla”. So you have “kool” (sounds like cole) and sla = cole slaw or coleslaw.
By the way, my dad made a great cole slaw in his day and you can see his recipe at My Dad’s Favorite Cole Slaw Recipe.
The Blue Apron box came with a 1/4 cup package of cilantro sauce but it’s easy to make yourself with just a few ingredients. If you want to skip this step, just look for a good commercial brand of cilantro sauce at your local supermarket.
My kids are not fans of cilantro so I don’t think I’ll be preparing this sauce for them when they are home from school. Fortunately, my wife and I love cilantro and really enjoyed this slaw.
Garlic Lime Pepitas
The pine nut looking seeds you see in the photo as a garnish are called pepita seeds. What are pepitas?
They are very similar to pumpkin seeds and some people use the names interchangeably but they are a little different. They come from pumpkins called Styrian or Oil Seed that produce seeds without a hull.
When you cut into a Halloween variety of pumpkin, you find seeds covered with husks that your roast before attempting to shell. With you cut open a Styrian or Oil Seed pumpkin, the small, green pepitas are sitting there without hulls ready to pick out, rinse and used raw or roasted.
For this slaw recipe, you can use pan roasted pepitas as a garnish or leave them out.
Cilantro Cole Slaw Recipe
- 1 pound red cabbage about 1 head of cabbage
- 12 ounces carrots peeled and ends cut off
- 8 ounces sweet peppers
For Cilantro Sauce
For the Pepitas
- 4 tablespoons pepitas raw
- 1 teaspoon olive oil
- 1 clove garlic minced and made into paste
- 1 teaspoon lime zest
Prep the Ingredients
- Cut the red cabbage in half, remove and discard the core and thinly slice the cabbage leaves.
- Peel the carrots and using the large side of a box grater, grate the carrots.
- Remove the stem end of the peppers and cut peppers in half. Remove the seeds and membrane. Thinly slice the peppers lenghtwise.
- Roughly chop the cilantro leaves and stems.
- Roughly chop 2 cloves of garlic. Mince the third clove of garlic for the pepitas and using the side of you knife, smash it into a paste. Be careful not to cut yourself.
- Zest enough of the lime for 1 teaspoon of lime zest. I love my microplane for zesting.
- Cut the lime in half and extract juice from both halves. I used an electric juicer but you can try squeezing the lime juice out by hand or using a hand juicer or reamer.
Make the Cilantro Sauce
- Using a blender or food processor, combine the cilantro, garlic, and lime juice by pulsing the ingredients until well minced. You may have to stop the maching to push down the cilantro if it gets stuck to the sides.
- With the motor running, slowly add the olive oil in a stream until all the ingredients are fully emulsified.
- Taste and adjust seasoning with salt and pepper.
Make the Pepitas
- Heat up a small, nonstick pan over medium heat. Add the teaspoon of olive oil and when hot add the raw pepitas.
- Cook for about 3 minutes, stirring constantly until the pepitas start turning brown. Be careful not to burn them and watch out for any that may pop.
- Remove the pepitas and transfer to a small bowl.
- Add the lime zest and garlic paste. Stir to combine.
- Taste and season with salt and pepper.
For the Slaw
- In a large bowl, combine the cabbage, carrots and peppers. Stir to combine.
- Add ½ cup of the cilantro sauce, stir, taste and adjust seasonings with little salt and pepper.