Coleslaw with attitude for picnics and cookouts
Umm, coleslaw. Now that summer is on the way in our part of the world, we can’t stop thinking about it. And variations on it.
Like this collard-greens version.
Collard greens are a close relative of kale, that rock star of veggies. And like kale, they’re flavorful, nutritious, and versatile. Use them in coleslaw, and you’ll find that a familiar dish has acquired an entirely new personality.
That’s a good thing. Because with Memorial Day right around the corner (officially kicking off cookout and picnic season here in the US), you probably need all the coleslaw recipes you can get.
Recipe: Collard Greens and Radish Slaw
Cabbage usually forms the basis of coleslaw, but there’s no rule saying it’s required. Other greens can make a tasty substitute. Collard greens (a close cousin of kale) make for a particularly interesting variation.
Lots of eaters have never encountered collard greens in their raw state (though many have enjoyed them cooked). Their flavor is more intense than that of cabbage, and they combine especially well with spicy radishes.
When served as a side, this dish makes a great accompaniment for any traditional cookout main course, such as BBQ or burgers. It would also make a delicious bed for fish or seafood (crab cakes and salmon in particular).
We got the idea for this dish from a similar recipe we found in an old issue of Bon Appétit magazine.
Prep time for this dish is about 15 minutes. The recipe yields 6 to 8 servings.
You can serve this coleslaw immediately or refrigerate it in an airtight container for a few hours. Serve chilled or at room temperature.
Leftovers keep for a few days if refrigerated in an airtight container.
- 1 bunch of collard greens
- ~1 cup radishes, sliced (a large bunch)
- 1 large carrot (enough for about ½ cup when shredded)
- 1 shallot
- 6 tablespoons olive oil (may substitute another oil of choice)
- 3 tablespoons cider vinegar (may substitute wine vinegar)
- 1 teaspoon celery seeds (may increase to 2 teaspoons if you prefer)
- 1 teaspoon Dijon-style mustard (optional)
- ¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes (very optional)
- salt to taste (a few pinches of kosher salt for us; see Notes)
- freshly ground black pepper to taste
- Wash the collard greens and shake them dry (or spin them in a salad spinner). Remove the stems, then cut the collard greens into thin strips or shreds (using the method known as “chiffonade;” see Notes). Place the collard greens in a large bowl. With your hands, massage the greens for a couple of minutes to tenderize them (much as you would massage raw kale; you can skip this step if you wish).
- Wash the radishes and shake them dry. Remove the greens and root ends (you can chop the greens and add them to the collard greens if you wish). Slice the radishes thinly, then add them to the bowl with the collard greens.
- Wash, trim, and peel the carrots. Shred them using a box grater or a food processor. Add the shredded carrots to the collard greens.
- Peel the shallot, cut it in half lengthwise, then cut it into thin slices. Add the chopped shallot to the collard greens. Toss all the ingredients together to mix them thoroughly.
- Make the dressing (it’s easiest to shake the ingredients together in a small lidded container, as we describe in this step, but you could also whisk them in a small bowl): Add the olive oil, vinegar, celery seed, mustard (if using), red pepper flakes (if using), salt, and black pepper to the container. Secure the lid tightly, then shake vigorously until the ingredients are well mixed. Pour the dressing over the collard-greens mixture, then toss until all the ingredients are well coated.
- Plate the coleslaw and serve. We often add a few slices of radish as garnish.
- You could add a couple cloves of garlic to the slaw if you wish. And/or a jalapeño pepper or two.
- We usually don’t add sugar to vinaigrette when we make coleslaw, but you may prefer to. If so, add a teaspoon when you make the vinaigrette in Step 5.
- We’ve never made collard-green coleslaw with mayonnaise. But if you prefer a creamy slaw, we no reason why it wouldn’t work.
- Some recipes for vinaigrette-style coleslaw call for heating the vinaigrette before adding it to the greens. Again, this is not something we do, but if you prefer to make yours that way, feel free.
- We do, however, make a version of hot slaw with bacon. You could use our recipe for that dish, Hot Bacon Coleslaw, but substitute collard greens for cabbage.
- If you don’t care for celery seed, just omit it. But we like to use it in coleslaw – we think it adds a lot of flavor.
- We use kosher salt in cooking. It’s less salty by volume than regular table salt (the crystals are larger, so it packs a measure less tightly). If using regular table salt, start with about half as much as we suggest. But, as always, season to your taste, not ours.
- You’ll want to chop the collard greens finely for this recipe (large pieces probably would not be pleasant in this dish). The easiest way to cut collard greens is to stack several leaves together, then roll them tightly into a cigar-like shape. Then cut strips of ¼ inch or less across the width of the “cigar.” This technique is called “chiffonade.”
- Both collard greens and kale belong to the acephala group of Brassica oleracea vegetables (cabbage is in a different cultivar group, though closely related). Kale has become one of the “it” vegetables in the past few years. Collard greens? Not so much (though they’ve always been popular in traditional American cooking, especially in southern states).
- Collard greens (like kale) can be a bit tough when raw. So we usually massage them for a couple of minutes to tenderize them, as noted above.
- Collard greens have a milder flavor than kale (although it’s still plenty hearty). They’re also a low-calorie veggie that is chockful of vitamins and minerals.
“Holy rutabaga,” said Mrs. Kitchen Riffs. “This is one cruciferous vegetable!”
“Kale, yeah,” I said. “The rabbits are onto something.”
“Yup,” said Mrs K R. “They love to chomp on the whole brassica band.”
“Glad we wrested these collard greens from their maws,” I said.
“Though I saw the head rabbit thumping his hind paw at you in irritation,” said Mrs K R.
“That was one brazen bunny,” I said. “Think he’ll sue?”
“No, but I’d watch out for the Hare Patrol,” said Mrs K R. “You don’t want to get collard.”
True. I could wind up in the hopper.
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Hot Bacon Coleslaw with (or without) Jalapeño
Pepper Coleslaw with Garlic Vinaigrette
Jalapeño Coleslaw with Pimentón
Celery Root (Celeriac) Rémoulade
Or check out the index for more