We’re big fans of cabbage slaw in our house. Whether on top of chili and barbecue sandwiches, or a base for a grain bowl, coleslaw adds flavor, texture, heartiness and nutrients-galore to meat-centric and vegan meals alike.
Cabbage slaw is not only inexpensive and easy to make, but it’s also a meal-prep all-star. Shredded cabbage, even when tossed with dressing, holds up really well in the fridge. Once the cabbage has reduced in volume, after the first hour or so after tossing, it maintains it’s shape and texture for days to come. In fact, I highly recommend making slaw a day in advance because it’s definitely better after 24 hours.
This recipe is my vegan version of a simple, all-purpose cabbage slaw. I’m using green cabbage, carrots and sweet and creamy dressing to mimic my mom’s classic coleslaw recipe. I season the dressing with garlic powder, but the real flavor star is the celery seed addition – it’s a classic, and it’s the way my mom does it.
Like all my recipes, I encourage you to customize my recipes once you’ve tried them out and have the method down. Change the vinegar to oil ratio if you prefer more or less of one. Throw in a shallot when blending the dressing, it adds a ton of subtle onion flavor. Add fresh herbs to finished slaw…use infused oil and different spice combinations in the dressing…mix in toasted nuts, seeds or dried fruit when tossing… you get the point.
Classic-ish Creamy Cabbage Slaw
1 large head green cabbage, shredded (about 3 lbs)
4-5 carrots, peeled and shredded
3/4 cup raw cashews (soaked, if needed, or 1/2 cup raw sunflower seed kernels)
3/4 cup white wine vinegar
1/2 cup olive oil
1/4 cup water
3 tablespoons sugar (to taste)
2 teaspoons dried oregano
2 teaspoons garlic granules/powder
1.5 teaspoons celery seed
Blend dressing ingredients, cashews through sugar, plus 2 teaspoons salt. Blend until super smooth, this takes 30+ seconds in a high speed blender. The consistency should be pretty thick but pourable, add a couple tablespoons of water if the mixture isn’t blending easily. Once smooth, add oregano, garlic granules and celery seed. Pulse to combine. Not sweet enough? Add more sugar. I like 3 tablespoons sugar for a mild sweetness.
Toss dressing with shredded cabbage and carrots. Cover and refrigerate for at least a couple hours, or until slaw is significantly wilted (it’s even better the next day). Season with salt and pepper to taste. Toss again just before serving.
Cabbage salads are great for meal prep because the sturdy, hearty cabbage, tossed with dressing, holds up really well in the fridge (it’s actually better the next day).
If prepping the dressing beforehand, store in the fridge. It will thicken up but will still work, just takes a little more elbow grease to get all the cabbage coated.
For high-power blenders, soaking cashews isn’t necessary. For conventional blenders and immersion blenders, soak cashews for 1-3 hours, in nearly boiling water or room temp water.
Use raw sunflower seeds in place of cashews, 1/2 cup instead of 3/4 cup. I always soak sunflower seeds in hot water for 15 minutes before blending with a high speed blender.