My grandmother, Mommom Boyd, is well-known for her cole slaw. She chops the cabbage, carrots, and onion extra-fine and makes the dressing creamy and somewhat sweet. It's highly requested by church members and friends, and is an absolute must-have at every family gathering. When I was a kid, Mommom would sometimes mix in red cabbage, too. I would marvel at how the bright purple bits would pop off our plates next to the orange carrots.
This slaw moves red cabbage from supporting player to star ingredient and treats fresh herbs, like cilantro and parsley, as salad greens rather than garnish. It is a deconstruction of my grandmother's slaw in the very best way. And it's a heavily requested dish just like my Mommom's — especially in summer.
For depth of flavor, the cabbage is roasted. This can be done in the oven for ease, or on the grill, which gives it an added layer of smoky flavor. The cabbage is sliced thinly into 1/4-inch wedges with the stem still attached to keep the cabbage pieces together and from falling through the grates.
The dressing is intentionally pungent, bright, and sweet to bring out the natural sugars of the peppers and balance the delicious bitter of the large smattering of herbs. The coriander seeds are crushed to match the size of the mustard grains, adding a little heft and texture to the otherwise simple vinaigrette. A liberal dash of kosher salt and freshly cracked black pepper readies the slaw for guests to eat.
Toss It Together at the Table
The brilliant purple, red, and yellow vegetables piled high on a platter with the bright green herbs is stunning. Guests are drawn to it immediately because of the color. I like to dress this slaw at the table just before serving for added wow factor. The dressing is so fragrant with the mix of coriander seeds, honey, and vinegar that as it wafts over everyone's plates, it makes them drool.
Roasted Red Cabbage and Rainbow Pepper Slaw with Herbs
For the salad:
1 small red cabbage, cut into 1/4-inch wedges with stem attached
1/4 cup olive oil
Freshly ground black pepper
1/2 medium red bell pepper, thinly sliced
1/2 medium yellow bell pepper, thinly sliced
1 cup whole fresh cilantro leaves, washed and dried
1 cup whole fresh Italian parsley leaves, washed and dried
Juice from 1/2 lime
For the dressing:
1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
2 tablespoons whole-grain mustard, such as the Maille brand
2 tablespoons honey
1 1/2 tablespoons whole coriander seeds, lightly crushed
Freshly ground black pepper
For the salad: Arrange 2 racks to divide the oven into thirds and heat to 400°F (see Recipe Note for alternative grilling instructions).
Lay the cabbage on 2 rimmed baking sheets. Drizzle evenly with the oil and season with salt and pepper.
Roast until the edges of the cabbage are brown and the stems and leaves are soft, rotating the baking sheets between racks halfway through to ensure even roasting, 20 to 25 minutes total. Transfer to a large mixing bowl and let cool at least 10 minutes. Meanwhile, make the dressing.
For the dressing: Place all the ingredients in a small bowl, season generously with black pepper — I like 10 to 12 twists of the pepper grinder — and whisk together.
Add the bell peppers, cilantro, parsley, and lime juice to the cabbage. Pour the dressing over the top, and using tongs, toss until all the ingredients are coated. Season with salt and pepper as needed. Transfer to a large serving platter.
- Grilling: The cabbage can be easily grilled instead of roasted. Heat an outdoor grill to medium. Place the oiled and seasoned cabbage over indirect heat and grill 6 to 7 minutes on each side until grill marks appear and the cabbage is tender.
- Storage: Leftovers can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.
- Make ahead: The dressing can be made ahead and stored in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 3 days. Re-whisk before using.
- Food styling by Ryan Reineck