Sunday, May 19, 2013

Jalapeño Coleslaw with Pimentón

Jalapeño Coleslaw with Pimentón in ramekin, overhead view

Smoked Spanish paprika adds depth to this spicy slaw

Warm weather has seriously arrived in my part of the world, and I’m looking forward to picnics and barbecue.  Here in the US, we’ll be celebrating Memorial Day on May 27th — the beginning of cookout season.

That means our thoughts are turning towards coleslaw.  Many people favor a mayonnaise-based version, like my Creamy Cole Slaw. Some prefer a vinaigrette (oil and vinegar) slaw — like my Garlic Coleslaw.

But how about another version of slaw, one that’s a bit out of the ordinary?  Allow me to introduce jalapeño coleslaw.  It has great flavor, and you can make it as spicy as you want.

To add more depth, you can also include some pimentón (smoked Spanish paprika) in the dressing.  The smoky flavor adds an exotic touch, and it blends perfectly with barbecue.

Nothing says summer like coleslaw and barbecue.  So why not greet the season in style — with a big batch of Jalapeño Coleslaw with Pimentón?


Jalapeño Coleslaw with Pimentón on plate with napkin and fork in background

Recipe:  Jalapeño Coleslaw with Pimentón

This recipes calls for chopping/grating your own cabbage and carrot.  But you can substitute a bag or two of the packaged, recipe-ready coleslaw mix available in your supermarket (most are essentially a combo of grated cabbage and carrot, although some have a few more interesting ingredients).  You’ll need about two bags to equal the amount specified in this recipe.  If you use just one bag, you may want to cut the amount of vinaigrette dressing in half, although it’s not necessary.

As written, this recipe is mildly spicy.  But you can use as much (or as little) pimentón and jalapeño as you like.  If you prefer less heat, cut the amount of both in half.  If you want a bit more fire, add an additional jalapeño and the full 2 teaspoons of pimentón.  If you don’t want to use pimentón, omit it and just use the jalapeño.  In that case, I’d substitute celery seed for the pimentón.

You also need to decide how much vinegar to use in the dressing.  I recommend starting with 2 parts of oil for each part of vinegar (a 2:1 ratio).  I actually prefer a bit more vinegar — almost a 3:2 ratio.  But I’d start out with less vinegar the first time, because you can always add more.  You can also substitute freshly squeezed lime juice for the vinegar (see Notes).

I suggest making the vinaigrette dressing at least several hours before you make the coleslaw (even a day ahead) in order to let the flavors mingle.  But if you don’t have time to do that, the coleslaw will still be delicious.

This recipe makes enough to serve 10 to 12 people as a side dish.  Leftovers that are stored in an airtight container will keep for 2 or 3 days in the refrigerator (they’ll be safe to eat for up to a week, but after 3 days or so the quality deteriorates markedly). 

Preparation time is about 20 minutes, plus at least an hour to let the coleslaw crisp in the refrigerator.

Ingredients

For the Pimentón Vinaigrette:
  • 1 garlic clove, crushed or minced
  • 3 tablespoons cider vinegar (white or wine vinegar also work; I usually increase the amount to 4 tablespoons; or you can use lime juice – see Notes)
  • 6 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • ~1 teaspoon salt (or to taste)
  • ~1 teaspoon black pepper (or to taste)
  • 1 - 2 teaspoons pimentón (start with 1 if you’re using the spicy variety, or want a milder flavored dish)
For the Salad:
  • ~1½ pounds of green or savory cabbage, shredded (about ½ of a large cabbage; or substitute a bag of pre-cut, recipe -ready coleslaw mix – see headnote)
  • 1 large carrot, grated
  • 2 green jalapeño peppers
  • 1 red bell pepper (optional, but tasty)
  • ¼ cup chopped cilantro (or to taste; optional)
  • jalapeño or red pepper slices for garnish (optional)

Procedure

For the Pimentón Vinaigrette:
  1. Peel and crush the garlic clove to a pulp; or mince fine.
  2. Add garlic to a bowl or a small plastic container with a lid.  Add the vinegar, vegetable oil, salt, pepper, and pimentón.
  3. Whisk together if using a bowl; or if using a plastic container, put the lid on securely, and shake so ingredients form an emulsion.
  4. Refrigerate for a few hours (or overnight) to develop flavor.  Or, if you’re short on time, just continue making the coleslaw.
For the Salad:
  1. Wash cabbage, remove outer leaves if necessary, and cut into quarters.  Remove woody core.  Either shred cabbage (a food processor makes this easier) or cut each quarter into 3 pieces, then cut into strips — starting at one end, cut 1/8-inch strips of cabbage (cut crosswise).  Place the shredded cabbage in a large mixing bowl.  (See Notes if using bagged, recipe-ready coleslaw.)
  2. Wash and peel the carrot, and then grate it in the food processor or chop in a mini food processor.  Add to the bowl containing the cabbage.
  3. Wash jalapeño peppers and cut lengthwise.  Use a teaspoon to scoop out the ribs and seeds (be careful, the oil on these is hot; keep fingers away from your eyes).  Chop into very small dice (or use a mini food processor).  Add to the cabbage bowl, and then wash your hands with soap and water to remove the hot jalapeño oil from your skin.  You may want to reserve a slice or two of the pepper for garnish.
  4. Wash and dry the red bell pepper.  Core it, and chop into dice of about ¼ inch.  (You may want to reserve a slice or some dice for garnish.)  Add to the bowl with the rest of the ingredients.
  5. If using cilantro, wash it, tear leaves from stems, and chop.  Add to the cabbage bowl.
  6. Shake or whisk the vinaigrette to reform the emulsion if necessary, add the pimentón vinaigrette to the bowl, and toss thoroughly to blend with the cabbage mixture.  Taste, adjust seasoning if necessary, and place in a covered container in the refrigerator to crisp for at least an hour.

Jalapeño Coleslaw with Pimentón on plate, overhead view

Notes
  • As mentioned above, you can replace the cabbage and carrot with bags of premade, recipe-ready coleslaw mix that you can find in the supermarket. Just substitute that for the cabbage and carrot in the recipe.
  • The exact weight of cabbage isn’t critical — anywhere from a pound to almost two pounds will work with this amount of dressing.
  • Making the vinaigrette ahead helps the pimentón flavor meld with the vinegar and oil.  Alternatively, you can make the entire dish ahead of time, and let it rest in the refrigerator for several hours (or overnight).  The flavor will be good, but not quite as intense as it would be if you aged the vinaigrette separately.
  • Imported Spanish pimentón has better flavor than domestically produced versions, IMO.  But if you can find only a domestic smoked paprika, that will work fine in this recipe.
  • Pimentón is usually spicier than ordinary paprika (which often lacks flavor), but you can find mild (even somewhat sweet) versions if that’s your preference.
  • If you make the vinaigrette using the 2:1 oil-to-vinegar ratio, and later determine that you want a bit more vinegar, you can add it directly to the coleslaw as you prepare it.  The flavor won’t be quite as good as if you’d added it to the vinaigrette right up front (it won’t be as well blended), but it will definitely be OK.
  • I like to use cider vinegar when I make this dish, but — as indicated — white vinegar or wine vinegar (either red or white) also work fine.
  • Freshly squeezed lime juice also works quite well.  I usually increase the amount of lime juice somewhat when I’m using it.
  • Although I specify green or savory cabbage, red cabbage works fine in this dish too.  In fact, some people may prefer it.
  • There are several ways of cutting cabbage for coleslaw.  I like reasonably large pieces because I think you get more of the cabbage flavor, so I always cut it with a knife.  Lots of people grate cabbage, but I find that makes the cabbage a little watery.
  • Speaking of which, here’s a way to correct watery cabbage:  After you cut or shred it, toss it with about a tablespoon of salt, then let the cabbage sit in a colander for an hour or two.  Then rinse and squeeze dry (or put it in a kitchen towel and pat dry).  Then proceed with your recipe.
  • I like my coleslaw without sugar.  But if you want sweeter slaw, add a bit of sugar to the vinaigrette (I wouldn’t add more than a tablespoon to start with).


Jalapeño Coleslaw with Pimentón on plate with napkin and fork in background

Some Like it Hot — and Smoky

“Nice,” said Mrs. Kitchen Riffs as she tasted her Jalapeño Coleslaw with Pimentón.  “It’s got some zing to it!”

“It does,” I replied.  “And I like the flavor of the pimentón.”

“It’s pleasantly smoky,” agreed Mrs K R.  “Doesn’t taste like paprika at all.  And it has a little kick.”

“That’s because I’m using the picante — hot — version,” I said.  “Pimentón also comes in dulce, which is just a bit sweet, without any hotness.  There’s also agridulce, which hints at sweetness but has some heat to it.  Picante is all heat, with no sweetness, and maybe just a touch of bitterness.”

“Well, the heat is nice, but what I really like is the smokiness,” said Mrs K R.  “We should use this in other dishes, too.”

“Funny you should mention that,” I said.  “I’m planning to use pimentón in a rub for some barbecue that I’ll be cooking slow and low in the oven.  Cooking it that way produces really tender barbecue, but it doesn’t have the smoky flavor that you get from a live fire.”

“And the pimentón replaces that?” asked Mrs K R.

“Well, there’s nothing like the flavor from a real fire,” I said.  “But the smokiness of the pimentón does add a nice note to oven-cooked barbecue.”

“Great idea!” enthused Mrs K R.  “Say, it’s been ages since we’ve had spare ribs.  Don’t you think you should cook some of those — and use pimentón in the rub?”

Well, I was wondering what kind of meat I was going to barbecue.  Guess I don’t have to wonder any more.

You may also enjoy reading about:
Garlic Coleslaw
Creamy Cole Slaw
Southern Green Beans with Bacon
German Potato Salad with Bacon
Mustard Potato Salad
French Potato Salad
American (Mayonnaise) Potato Salad
Potato Salad Basics
Baked Beans
Grilled Hamburgers
Barbecued Pork Steaks

76 comments:

  1. I'm a cole slaw junkie and your version sounds so tasty especially with the pimenton. It's good stuff and although I love the creamy stuff I prefer the oil and vinegar. Looking forward to trying this.

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    1. Hi Vicki, you'd love this recipe! It's so much fun playing with the ingredients - this is one you can customize to suit your own taste. Thanks for the comment.

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  2. :)

    I'm looking forward to Summery activities too. The weather has been playing us quite a few tricks lately though. Rain, lower temperatures, even snow!

    Love this dish for outdoor lunches with the family.

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    1. Hi Alex, this is a great time of the year, isn't it? Too bad you've been having bad weather, but I'm sure the good stuff will be there soon! Thanks for the comment.

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  3. A spicy coleslaw? First time I've heard if if but not the past, this looks delicious :)

    Cheers
    Choc Chip Uru

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    1. Hi Uru, you'd love this! Tons of flavor, and rather pretty, too. Thanks for the comment.

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  4. I love this idea! I know what just got added to my Memorial Day BBQ menu!

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    1. Hi Shut Up and Cook, glad to help out with that menu! Enjoy. ;-) Thanks for the comment.

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  5. Any plans for Memorial Day? I would love to make this dish! The jalapeno must add a nice little kick :)

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    1. Hi Kristi, we'll be doing some kind of cookout. ;-) Probably not this dish, though, because we just made it! I'll do something different. ;-) Thanks for the comment.

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  6. Hooray for grilling season and coleslaw! We like all kinds, but especially one with a spicy kick - this sounds terrific! Love all the crunch, color and flavor. I can't wait to make it!

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    1. Hi Hannah, isn't grilling season great? I'm loving the warm weather that's finally arriving. Thanks for the comment.

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  7. I love smoked paprika. And I love coleslaw. I am so ready!

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    1. Hi Abbe, doesn't smoked paprika have a wonderful flavor? Truly good stuff! Thanks for the comment.

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  8. I'm so envious of your summer. I'm going to put on shoes because my feet are cold :)

    I'm definitely going to try this cole slaw and won't wait til Spring.

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    1. Hi Maureen, sorry about the northern/southern hemisphere weather thing. ;-) But we've had our fill of cold weather for awhile, and are so ready for warm weather. It's only fair to share, you know. ;-) Thanks for the comment.

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  9. Ooh - smokey ribs. Yes. Back to coleslaw - I never thought much of it - it's been a serviceable picnic dish - sturdy, never limp. But this has zing and piz-a-zaz - and like the idea of spicy, smokey sweetness. Mrs. Riffs is very smart!

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    1. Hi Claudia, that Mrs K r is a keeper! Decent coleslaw is actually quite good stuff, but you do need to add some kick. My all time favorite is garlic coleslaw, but this one is pretty good too. Thanks for the comment.

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  10. I prefer a more vinegary tang too. For the first time ever I saw fresh jalepenos at my green grocers. They are a fairly new thing here in Oz as we are a long way from Mexico and not too many Mexicans have migrated here. I love the look of your coleslaw and I always use savoy cabbage too xx

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    1. Hi Charlie, you have access to all sorts of Asian peppers we rarely see, I'm guessing. Ones with moderate heat would probably work well in this dish. But jalapeño peppers have a nice flavor - worth seeking out IMO. Thanks for the comment.

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  11. I love coleslaw and this is something really different. Sounds wonderful, I will have to try this one. I think my husband and I would love it.

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    1. Hi Dawn, this is a fun dish! Loads of spice, and a rather different flavor. Thanks for the comment.

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  12. Oh I love the use of smokey paprika in the vinaigrette. I probably would add a touch of sugar because some vinegars, especially cider vinegar is quite sharp for my palette, but a touch of sugar does the trick. Love the touch of jalapeno as well. Great looking coleslaw!

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    1. Hi MJ, that paprika really is wonderful! Great point about vinegar being too sharp for some - and you're right, a bit of sugar really tames it nicely. Thanks for the comment.

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  13. Yummy!! I love a good spicy slaw. Hope you had a great weekend!

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    1. Hi Ashley, if you like spicy slaw, this recipe is for you! ;-) We had a great weekend, and hope you did too. Thanks for the comment.

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  14. I love the twist here! I am adding this to our Memorial Day menu. Thanks :)

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    1. Hi Alyssa, it's a fun variation on a classic recipe! Hope you enjoy it. ;-) Thanks for the comment.

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  15. I'm about to drool over coleslaw, and that's saying something considering the giant fudge chocolate cake sitting on my counter this weekend. Those pimentos add such a nice touch--loving it!

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    1. Hi Ala, I dunno - great as this coleslaw is, I don't think the fudge cake would have much competition. ;-) Thanks for the comment.

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  16. I'll love the idea of jalapeno slaw! I'll take note of this on our next cook out!

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    1. Hi Peachy, it's a fun dish! Thanks for the comment.

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  17. I can feel the fire already coming out of my mouth from the Jalapeño pepper- you're brave to try the picante version!

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    1. Hi Fran, it's not that hot. But then, I do like spicy! So I always suggest people start with less heat, and add more later if they wish. Thanks for the comment.

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  18. What what a variation in coleslaw

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    1. Hi Akila, it really is a nice variation - something different. Thanks for your comment.

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  19. A great slaw recipe, John. I'm glad you mentioned using the pre-shredded cabbage available at most groceries. As nice as it would be to make my own, unless I'm having a barbecue, i just won't eat an entire cabbage-worth of slaw, no matter how tasty. WIth a bag, I can make some of your dressing -- which sounds like something I'd love -- and prepare as much slaw as needed. The remaining dressing and bag of cabbage can go back into the fridge until Day 2. Perfect! Thanks for sharing your recipe. I bet it will grace more than a few barbecues this Summer.

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    1. Hi John, that bagged stuff is pretty good, and really convenient. And as you say it's a great convenience when cooking for 1 or 2 people. Thanks for the comment.

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  20. I love the way you integrated the flavors together. I am a big fan of smoked pepper flavors and this cole slaw recipe is awesome!!!

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    1. Hi Shibi, it really is an interesting combo of flavors. And it's quite refreshing, too - a real plus. Thanks for the comment.

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  21. The dressing sounds amazing John! I love coleslaw, both the mayo based and vinegar based so i am quite sure I will love this too. I am going to make it for our next cook out...which probably won't be on Memorial Day because we have to move :( I really hate moving.

    Nazneen

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    1. Hi Nazneen, moving stinks! I hate that too, but sometimes you have to. Hope you enjoy this whenever you get to make it. ;-) Thanks for the comment.

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  22. I also use the pre shredded coleslaw package a lot. I could tell that this slaw will definitely perk up the picnic table during the cook out season.
    Thanks John,
    Malou

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    1. Hi Malou, this slaw definitely has a perky flavor! One I think you'll enjoy - loads of spice. Thanks for the comment.

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  23. It is quite an unusual take on coleslaw, and I like it! Especially since I still have a cough, something spicy would be very helpful!

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    1. Hi Julia, it's definitely different, and probably not to everyone's taste. But it certainly tastes really good to me! Hope your cough will be getting better soon! Thanks for the comment.

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  24. John I love the sound of this... the sweet smokiness of the paprika, combined with the chilli, delicious!

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    1. Hi Lizzy, it's a great combo of flavors! Truly good stuff. ;-) Thanks for the comment.

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  25. I love smoked paprika as it adds a bit of a kick to the dish. This slaw looks amazing! It is perfect for the coming Memorial Day weekend and I will definitely keep this in mind. Have a good week, John.

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    1. Hi Ray, it's really a fun dish - I think you'd like it. Tons of flavor! Thanks for the comment.

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  26. Some like it hot -- me included. LOL

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    1. Hi Carolyn, hot is good. ;-) Thanks for the comment.

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  27. Delightfully spicy and crunchy! A wonderful coleslaw. Great in a burger...

    Cheers,

    Rosa

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    1. Hi Rosa, this is indeed great with burgers, or barbecue! Thanks for the comment.

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  28. Replies
    1. Hi Lail, it is spectacular! Might even be better after a day or so. Thanks for the comment.

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  29. This is a spectacular variation o coleslaw!
    Jalapeno is new to me but it looks like a wonderful addition of flavors, must try it out.
    Thank you for giving the traditional coleslaw a new and exciting twist :)

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    1. Hi Daniela, this is a fun take on coleslaw! Spicy (but not over-the-top) and really tasty. Thanks for the comment.

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  30. I grew bored or regular, or classic, coleslaw many years ago, so I always welcome an alternative. John, this would become my favorite coleslaw. I love all the wonderful flavours and spices in your recipe. Thanks so much for sharing!:)

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    1. Hi Nancy, I think there's a lot you'd like in this coleslaw - some really great flavors. I know what you mean about regular coleslaw - I even add things to that to make it more interesting. Thanks for the comment.

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  31. This does look fantastic. I love spicy!

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    1. Hi Jeanne, spicy is good, isn't it? And this slaw really is fantastic. Thanks for the comment.

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  32. This is a nice version of coleslaw, love this with extra japalenos

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    1. Hi Raymund, this definitely takes coleslaw in a new direction! One I happen to like quite a bit. ;-) Thanks for the comment.

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  33. Pure coleslaw seduction !
    And I'm addicted to your marvelously crispy photography !

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    1. Hi Suborna, coleslaw really can be seductive, can't it? And definitely spicy. Thanks for the kind words, and comment.

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  34. I love different types of slaw, but I have never seen such a spicy looking one. I'll need to try it! Thanks for the idea!!

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    1. Hi Lauren, if you like spicy, this is the ticket! Thanks for the comment.

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  35. Coleslaw with pimento? Genius comfort!

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    1. Hi Kiran, it's really taste stuff - you like spicy, so I think you'd enjoy this. Thanks for the comment.

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  36. What a scrumptious coleslaw! You are right that should be on everyone's picnic plan and I think it would go great in a sandwich/burger too. =)

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    1. Hi Helene, I haven't tried this in a sandwich or burger, but I'll bet you'd be right! Something to try. ;-) Thanks for the comment.

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  37. I love the kick in this slaw. I'm such a slaw fan. It goes with almost any dish. I can see this slaw on top of my favorite seafood tacos. Delish!

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    1. Hi Kristi, I haven't tried this with seafood tacos but I'll bet you're right that it would be delish! Love the idea of that. Thanks for the comment.

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  38. Hi John, very appetizing and inviting salad. The combination look really good, great for homemade burger or sandwiches. I'm sure it taste superb with tortillas.

    Have a nice day.

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    1. Hi Amelia, this would be wonderful with tortillas - something I need to try. Thanks for the comment.

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