Grabbing the Gusto

Deirdre Reid – Freelance Writer & Home Cook

Southwestern Slaw | Grabbing the Gusto

Southwestern Slaw | Grabbing the Gusto

This healthy cole slaw delivers southwestern flavor without the heaviness of mayonnaise.


If you’re looking for a dish to bring to a 4th of July cook-out this weekend, I’ve got a contender for you—Southwestern Slaw. Even if someone else brings cole slaw to the party, theirs will probably be full of mayonnaise and not full of southwestern flavors.

The ingredients and their amounts are merely guidelines—add more or less depending on your taste (and your friends’ and family’s tastes) and what’s in your refrigerator. I always have lonely broccoli stems in my vegetable drawer. They’re perfect for slaws. Just slice off the brown bit at the end of the stem and any brown knobby bits and julienne them like any other vegetable. It doesn’t have to be perfect.

Your mandoline or food processor could get a good work-out prepping the vegetables. I usually end up slicing all the veggies by hand. As long as I’ve allowed enough time, I enjoy doing that kind of focused work while I listen to a podcast. Even if I didn’t have anything to listen to–which would be a miracle considering all the podcasts I subscribe to–I still would love the focus and flow of chopping vegetables. It’s a good way to set the mind free.

I use rice vinegar in many of my slaws because it’s a mild vinegar. It can be used interchangeably, I think, with champagne vinegar.

You can crank up the heat by adding a minced chipotle chile. Just one unless you’re feeding a bunch of chileheads.

Not in the mood for slaw? Try my Southwestern Potato Salad–another no-mayo recipe. My honey doesn’t like mayo, so…

I hope you like this colorful dish—it will brighten up your menu and your 4th of July table. While I’m on the topic, if you want to impress your friends and family with your patriotic knowledge, check out this post from one of my clients on ten fun facts about July 4th.

Southwestern Slaw | Grabbing the Gusto

Southwestern Slaw | Grabbing the Gusto

Southwestern Slaw

You’ll need a large bowl, small bowl and a whisk. A mandoline helps too for slicing vegetables but it’s not necessary. Sometimes, prepping vegetables is the type of relaxing activity you need.

  • 1/2 head green (or Napa) cabbage, thinly sliced
  • 1/2 head small red cabbage, thinly sliced
  • 4 carrots, grated or thinly sliced
  • 1/2 sweet onion, grated or thinly sliced
  • 1/2 red bell pepper, thinly sliced
  • Option: broccoli stems or sugar snap peas, thinly sliced
  • Juice from 2 limes
  • 4 tablespoons rice vinegar (or champagne or whatever you have)
  • 1 cup cilantro, leaves and thin stems, chopped
  • 4 tablespoons hot sauce
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • Salt, freshly ground black pepper and ground cumin, to taste
  • Option: minced chipotle chile en adobo

Toss cabbage, carrot, onion, red bell pepper and any other vegetables in a large bowl.

In a small bowl, whisk lime juice, rice vinegar, cilantro, hot sauce, oil, salt, pepper, cumin and optional chipotle together. Pour half the dressing over cabbage mix and toss to coat. Add more until it’s wet enough.

Serve immediately or refrigerate for a few hours to let the flavors meld. Great with tacos and other southwestern dishes.


1 year ago on Gusto: Zucchini Tots

2 years ago: Chipotle Sloppy Joes

3 years ago: Cherry Crumble

4 years ago: Southwestern Potato Salad

5 years ago: Corn Salad and Plum Clafouti

3 thoughts on “Southwestern Slaw

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