Starting Off Summer Cooking w/ Sweet Honey and Yogurt Coleslaw

Come summer people head outside and with warmer weather comes the desire to grill and cook all things on anything but the oven and even on the stove if at all possible. As much as we all love sunshine, the feeling of being locked in a hot kitchen is none too desirable for even an island girl such as myself.

Memorial Day is to summer what Labor Day is too Fall – our trusty yearly marker that for many mark the three months of freedom that feels as if it’s a birthright for school-aged people and for adults in most educational fields. The opening of both beaches and public pools and the sudden appearance of the ice cream truck on every corner help erase the winter blues and bring forth the joy of longer days, lightning bugs, flip-flops, shorts, BBQs,  popsicles, and more visits to amusement parks  than our budgets can allow.

But summer entertainment doesn’t need to be expensive and nor does summer food. I am no grilling expert so I can’t give many pointers there, but I can with all the other sides.  For the next few days I’ll share some tasty summer side recipes, but first I’ll start off with coleslaw:

I created this in an attempt to not only please a non-gourmet eating side of my family. My first idea was to make Nigella Lawson’s New Orleans Coleslaw which appears in Nigella Express, but I was in PR where grocery stores are not as well stocked as American ones and thus I had to make do with what I could find. Although her recipe is delicious, I can’t help but really love the one I came up with. The use of honey adds a contrasting sweetness to that of the carrots and the green onions add a bite nowhere near as sharp as a regular onion. Also, I prefer Savoy cabbage to the traditional snow or the red and as tempting pre-shredded carrots and cabbage may be, fresh is always best for both flavor and crunch.

Here is my recipe for deliciously crunchy and sweet coleslaw that goes great with any grilled meats. Please omit the walnuts if you like and either shred the cabbage and carrots by hand or use a food processor to do all the work for you.

Coleslaw with a Honey Yogurt Dressing
Serves 4 to 6 as a side
1 medium head Savoy cabbage, shredded
1 large carrot or 2 medium, shredded
2 stalks celery, diced
4 green onions, chopped
1 cup mayonnaise (not Miracle Whip)
8 ounces plain Greek yogurt
¼ cup honey, more is desired
2 ½ Tablespoons cider vinegar
Salt and black pepper
¾ cup chopped, toasted walnuts

1) In a bowl combine the mayonnaise, yogurt, honey, cider vinegar and stir to combine. Season with salt and pepper and set aside in a cool place.*

2) In a large bowl, combine the cabbage, carrots, celery and green onions and using tongs or your hands, mix to combine.

3) Pour sauce into vegetable bowl and mix to combine. Cover and allow to sit in a cool place for at least 30 minutes prior to serving.

4) Before serving, transfer the coleslaw to a decorative bowl or clean up the sides on the one you used to combine the vegetables and sauce. Topped with toasted and walnuts and serve.

* There are a few things to note: The amounts for the sauce are to my palate, but you may want it sweeter or even less so. If you are worried about this, after adding the all the mayonnaise and yogurt to the bowl, stir them together and then slowly add the honey and vinegar until you’ve reached to a point where you think it’s right. The salt here simply enhances flavor and the pepper gives depth. And note that if you cannot find Greek yogurt then either replace it with buttermilk or plain yogurt which will make the sauce slightly runnier. And finally, also note as with all homemade coleslaw, your coleslaw will only be as fresh as the yogurt or buttermilk you use. But don’t let that scare you, this coleslaw is too delicious to miss!


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