At my last cooking class I made a very basic coleslaw. Pretty much just a dressing and cabbage. The goal was to demonstrate that you can easily make your own dressings and it’s a great way to save money. The demonstration was MIND BLOWING for a lot of the participants. They had no idea that you could make your own dressings! Their excitement was really contagious for me because I have so many dressing ideas to offer. This cole slaw is made with my favorite Asian salad dressing recipe and has a little more pizzaz to it than the one we made in class.
As food bloggers we often forget that the rest of the country/world doesn’t necessarily see food the way we do. For me, if we’re out of mayonnaise, I need to make some more or we simply do without. If I want a salad for dinner, I whip up my own dressing because I always have oil and vinegar or citrus in the house.
But a lot of America thinks, if you need salad dressing, go to the store. I used to feel the same way! Is it advertising that has convinced us that we can’t make our own condiments?
I think of those ridiculous commercials for gadgets that make a simple task look impossible. You know what I mean, like the lady trying to strain her spaghetti who either dumps the whole pot down the drain, or ends up scalding herself, so obviously needs a special built in strainer to suddenly make pasta easy.
I’m trying not to get on a soapbox here. I certainly don’t blame the people who don’t know any better. I used to be one of them. It’s funny because I grew up mixing ketchup with soy sauce or Worcestershire to make a sauce for my beef or french fries. But I never really thought of it as steak sauce. If I wanted steak sauce I thought needed to buy A-1 (now I make my own and it’s way better!).
Let’s move on to the cole slaw before I get too passionate 😉 This is a pretty basic side dish. The dressing ingredients are mayonnaise, soy sauce, sesame oil, honey and rice vinegar. You can use white vinegar instead of rice vinegar but use a slightly smaller amount.
When you taste your dressing, it will be pretty tangy, but keep in mind that the cranberries in the salad add a lot of sweetness that mellows the bite of the rice vinegar.
You can skip the black sesame seeds or use white ones, I just like that they add some color and drama to the salad.
So, why do you think so many of us don’t realize how easy it is to make a lot of basic food items from scratch?
Asian Cabbage and Cranberry ColeslawPrep time: 5 minutes Cook time: none Total time: 5 minutes Yield: 4-6 servings
small green cabbage
- 1/2 cup
- 1/4 cup
mayonnaise (I use homemade)
- 1/4 cup
- 2 TBS
- 2 TBS
- 1 tsp
- 1 TBS
black sesame seeds (optional garnish)
- Slice the cabbage very thin and then chop those slices into bite sized pieces.
- Place cabbage in a medium sized bowl and mix in the dried cranberries.
- In a small bowl, whisk together mayonnaise, rice vinegar, soy sauce, honey and sesame oil until smooth and creamy (I use a fork).
- Pour dressing over cabbage and cranberries and toss to coat.
- Sprinkle salad with sesame seeds to garnish.
Approximate cost/serving: The whole salad cost $3 to make. That could be 6 servings as a side dish so 50 cents a serving. Our teenage guys eat twice a serving size as we do so at 4 servings it’s 75 cents a serving.
Vegetarian/gluten free: This is meatless, if you want to make it vegan use a vegan mayonnaise. For gluten free, make sure to use a gluten free soy sauce.
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Nutritional and cost information is for estimating purposes only, and subject to variations due to region, seasonality, and product availability.