Recipe Review

Nigella Lawson’s New Orleans Coleslaw Is Full of (Delightful) Surprises

published Aug 4, 2022
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Credit: Photo: Julia Gartland; Food Stylist: Jessie YuChen

If there’s one thing you should know about me, it’s that I love an unexpected ingredient. Nothing piques my interest quite like a recipe that calls for a product that I would have never thought to include. Boundaries are meant to be pushed, you know?

Leave it to Nigella to create a coleslaw recipe with a few ingredients — buttermilk, pecans, scallions, and maple syrup — that piqued my culinary curiosity. The recipe title, with its nod to New Orleans, only added to the intrigue. I absolutely had to give the recipe a try, so off to the kitchen I went.

Get the recipe: Nigella Lawson’s New Orleans Coleslaw

Credit: Photo: Julia Gartland; Food Stylist: Jessie YuChen

How to Make Nigella Lawson’s New Orleans Coleslaw

To start, shred up your green cabbage by thinly slicing it with a knife or grating it in a food processor. Next, grate the carrots and slice celery and scallions. Once the vegetable prep is done, make the dressing by mixing mayonnaise, buttermilk, maple syrup, and apple cider vinegar. Next, toss all of the prepped vegetables in the dressing until they’re fully coated. Season with salt and pepper, then mix in the toasted pecans. 

Credit: Photo: Julia Gartland; Food Styling: Jessie YuChen

My Honest Review of Nigella Lawson’s New Orleans Coleslaw

Of all four coleslaws that I made and tried for our recipe showdown, this was my favorite (although admittedly, I enjoyed all the slaws and it was a tough call to make). Ultimately, what sold me on this coleslaw was the chopped pecans, which, by the way, is the New Orleans connection here. To me, there is something so simple and beautiful about a golden-brown, toasted pecan. The pecans, in combination with the maple syrup, gave this slaw a rich, almost buttery-like flavor that kept me coming back for more.

Ironically, the recipe does not specify that the pecans should be toasted, but why in the world would you ever eat a raw pecan when toasted pecans exist, you know? If I am going to include any nut in a salad or slaw, I am going to make sure I pop said nut into a 350°F oven for a couple minutes to make sure it gets nice and toasty. Raw nuts are sad; toasted nuts are not. 

Aside from the pecans, I felt that the rest of this slaw was extremely enjoyable and well-balanced. Of all four recipes, this was the only one that called for weighted measurements, which I found to be extremely helpful. Because cabbage can vary in size, it can create a larger margin of error to call for “1 head of shredded cabbage” as opposed to “about 1kg / 2lbs before trimming.” Even though this is a minor detail, I think it’s important because this was the only salad that I didn’t need to tinker with adding more mayonnaise or vinegar to balance out the creaminess and acidity.

If I Made Nigella Lawson’s New Orleans Coleslaw Again

I was very excited about the buttermilk addition because I’d never thought to add this underrated dairy product to coleslaw before. Admittedly, I didn’t really feel like any strong buttermilk flavors came through in the final result. Had I not known that buttermilk was in the dressing, I probably would have never guessed. 

Perhaps that was the intention, and the sole purpose of the buttermilk was to add a subtle tang to the dressing, but the buttermilk enthusiast in me wanted a more pronounced buttermilk flavor in the final slaw. If I made this again, I might try out scaling back slightly on the mayo in order to use more buttermilk.

Overall rating: 9.5/10