Homeskillet Real Food Feels Good

Crunchy Cabbage Slaw

May 27 2013

It’s Memorial Day weekend and the grills are hot. So is the muggy Texas weather! I had an unexpected day off at the restaurant-on-a-farm and we squeezed in an impromptu get-together with a few pals. As a group, our homemade menu included salmon burgers and mango-cucumber salsa, local beef hot dogs (made by the new butcher shop, Salt and Time) topped with spicy mustard, minced onions and daikon pickles, red potato salad with bacon, capers and arugula, homemade root veggie chips fried in Dai Due lard with onion-sour cream dip, and my crunchy cabbage slaw. Plus some nice bourbon-based cocktails. Bocci ball was played, but no one kept score since our dog’s tomfoolery got in the way. She really wants to play fetch with the bocci balls; alas, they are heavier than tennis balls.

So the deal with this cabbage slaw is that the cabbage itself is not all that crunchy. Raw cabbage is terribly difficult to digest and eating a lot of raw brassicas veggies may contribute to thyroid disruption. The solution I’ve find for ‘coleslaw’ then, is to shred the cabbage a bit thicker (about ¼-inch thick) and let it soak in a hot salt water brine and strain before mixing in the other ingredients. This cooks the cabbage just enough and it still has some bite. A little raw carrot and crispy sunflower seeds adds some crunch back in. The slaw is bright and pairs well with smoky meats, pasture-raised of course. Stock up on cabbage before they’re out of farmers’ markets stands ‘til next year.


Crunchy Cabbage Slaw - Homeskillet

by Adrienne Lee
Skill Level Easy
Cook Time Medium < 1 hr
Serves 4-6
Crunchy Cabbage Slaw

Crunchy Cabbage Slaw

A simple, bright slaw for the summer to complement your favorite protein, such as grilled fish or smoked pork ribs. Soaking the cabbage in a warm salt water brine lightly cooks the fibrous vegetable for better digestibility, but you’ll get crunch back with raw carrot and crispy sunflower seeds.


  • 2 quarts filtered water
  • 2 teaspoons sea salt + ½ teaspoon
  • 6 cups shredded green or savoy cabbage, core removed (from about 1 small cabbage)
  • 2 carrots, cut into matchsticks
  • ¼ cup thinly sliced red onion
  • ¼ cup lime juice (from about 2 limes)
  • 1 teaspoon raw honey
  • 2 tablespoons sesame oil
  • ¼ cup roughly chopped cilantro, stems trimmed
  • ¼ cup sprouted and dehydrated or toasted sunflower seeds


Bring the water to a simmer in a large pot with two teaspoons of sea salt. Turn off the heat and remove the pot from the burner. Place the shredded cabbage in the pot and let it sit in the hot water uncovered for 30 minutes. Stir occasionally to make sure the cabbage is submerged in the brine.

While the cabbage is brining, make the dressing. Whisk together the lime juice, a 1⁄2 teaspoon of sea salt and the honey in a small bowl until and the ingredients are well combined. Slowly drizzle in the sesame oil while whisking vigorously. Add the red onion to the dressing and let it marinate until the cabbage is ready.

Once the cabbage has soaked for 30 minutes, drain it thoroughly in a colander, pressing gently to remove liquid. Keep the colander filled with drained cabbage over the sink for a few minutes to drain off as much liquid as possible.

Transfer the cabbage to a large bowl, add the dressing and onions, and mix well to coat the dressing evenly on the cabbage. Taste and adjust for salt. Just before serving, stir in the cilantro and sunflower seeds. Serve at room temperature or chilled.

Homeskillet Notes

  • Don’t use purple cabbage, it will turn blue from soaking.
  • Instead of sunflower seeds, you can substitute with toasted chopped almonds, Valencia peanuts or cashews.
  • If you use a mandolin for your slicing, be sure to shred the cabbage thicker than you might normally do a slaw, about ¼” thick. The carrots and onion do nicely when sliced very thin.

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