Do you share recipes in your family? I come from a pretty large family (I have three older siblings, and we are all married and have kids), and we’re all big fans of cooking and eating. And whenever we land on a delicious recipe, it normally ends up spreading through the family like wildfire. There are so many dishes in my recipe binder that come from my sisters’ and my Mama’s kitchens (and quite a few from my grandmother who passed away a few years ago).
The sharing of family recipes is how I came into this Cuban Slaw recipe. It originally comes from the kitchen of my sister-in-law, who is a spectacular vegetarian cook (and has the most incredible cookbook collection I’ve ever seen). And she passed it along to my Mama, who told me it was an absolute must try. Slaw recipes tend to be ho-hum, but there is something really incredible about this combination. It’s such a simple recipe, but the flavor is anything but simple.
This slaw works as a side dish, but it really shines when you use it like a condiment. We ate it on top of chipotle-lime chicken thighs, and then the next night on top of burgers. I’d also imagine it would make one heck of a delicious filling for fish tacos (make some and then invite me over, k?). And the next time I make pulled barbecue, I’m going to whip up a batch of this slaw to go on top of the sandwiches.
Of course, I couldn’t exactly follow the recipe from my sister-in-law’s kitchen. I’ve never met a recipe I could follow to a “T”. I did some tweaking to suit our tastes—adding a touch of sweetness to the dressing in the form of honey, and subbing out the white vinegar the recipe calls for for unfiltered apple cider vinegar (which is so delicious and so super-duper good for you). The original recipe also calls for 1-2 jalapeños, and I found that even one seeded jalapeño was a bit too spicy for our mild-loving taste buds. But that’s because we’re totally wimps when it comes to spiciness! I imagine for most folks, 1-2 peppers would be the perfect amount of kick.
I love that this recipe is both oil- and mayo-free. So often slaw is drowning in oily dressing, but this vinegar-based dressing is light and healthy—it really let’s the flavor of the veggies shine through. And it keeps this side dish a light option for the late, crazy hot days of summer.
You could definitely spend some time doctoring up this recipe more, but I recommend trying it straight-up first—you’ll be surprised by how intense and layered the flavors of this slaw are. Just make sure you don’t ignore the chilling time, it’s really important to get the flavors to meld!
I love simple recipes that don’t taste simple. Enjoy!
This super healthy, bright and colorful slaw is both oil- and mayo-free! But it's packed with layered, intense flavor.
- 1 large head red cabbage, shredded
- 1-2 jalapeño peppers, finely minced
- 1 large carrot, peeled and shredded
- 1/4 cup finely minced cilantro
- 1 tablespoon kosher salt
- 2 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
- 2 teaspoons maple syrup
- Toss together the cabbage, jalapeño, carrots and cilantro in a large bowl.
- Whisk together the salt, oregano, vinegar and maple syrup. Pour dressing over cabbage mixture, toss to coat.
- Chill for at least three hours before serving, preferably overnight.