Cabbage is such a wonderful vegetable, I always think it is such a shame it has a bad reputation. Maybe the reputation comes from the badly and overcooked cabbage of previous generations. Or maybe that it is such an easy vegetable to grow and one cabbage can go so far that it got it's reputation from when people couldn't afford anything else. Either way, many people cringe at the word cabbage – kids are no exception as they usually follow what they hear their parents say! So why is it that so many people love coleslaw? Do you think if it were called 'cabbage salad' it would be anywhere near as popular? Maybe not.
Here are a few facts about cabbage you may not know. Cabbage is high in calcium. Calcium is essential for kids as it is needed for strong teeth bones and helps in the development of strong muscles. Cabbage is also a good source of vitamin C, which as we know helps our immune system and protects against free radicals. Iron is also a mineral we can gain from eating cabbage, but as iron is absorbed more easily into our blood stream in the presence of vitamin C it comes in one neat package. These are just a few reasons to get our kids eating cabbage as one of their preferred vegetables.
Coleslaw being raw is also an added advantage. Raw vegetables are important for all of us. There are all sorts of statistics you can read about how much nutrients are lost in the cooking process, most settle around the 50% mark. So getting some raw vegetables into a daily diet can be a fantastic way to know that your kids are getting what they need.
Here are a few ideas to spice up your coleslaw and avoid the creamy dressings.
Zucchini & Carrot Coleslaw
grated raw zucchini
grated raw carrot
cherry tomatoes quartered
Carrot & Apple Coleslaw
pineapple chopped finely
handful of mint leaves chopped finely
Bacon & Cheese Coleslaw
chopped raw broccoli
I just chop the green ends of the broccoli florets, it acts as much as a garnish and to add a little colour. Use the rest of the broccoli chopped up in any casserole or stew or even grated into spaghetti sauce if it feels like a waste to use just the ends. You can replace it with shredded spinach also.
If you haven't grated a tomato before, cut the tomato in half cross-ways. Put the cut half against the grater with the skin side against your hand. The skin won't grate so grate it until the skin is flat against the grater and the flesh of the tomato is grated.
I use a mandolin for shredding the cabbage, it cuts it nice and fine and takes half the time (I am a poet, and didn't know it!!).
The proportions of each vegetable or fruit in these salads don't matter very much, just use a trial and error basis – or what you have in the fridge.
None of these coleslaw recipes require dressing, as they do tend to be moist enough. However feel free to experiment with different dressings. I would love to hear your results on our forum.