I love coleslaw. I love the vinegary kind and I love the mayo-y kind. When it comes to coleslaw, I don’t discriminate. I love them ALL.
I’ve often thought about why I love coleslaw so much. I didn’t grow up with it. My parents or grandparents don’t make it at home. There’s no good reason why I should love it so much.
But then, I did grow up in a Korean-American household. I grew up eating kimchi (almost) every day.
If you don’t know yet, kimchi is the national food of Korea. No joke, you can google it! Long before kimchi became trendy, my mom would lecture me about the benefits of eating kimchi. She even claims that’s the reason why the SARS epidemic didn’t reach South Korea. Kimchi saved them! You can google this as well, lol!
If you love kimchi, you know the fervor and passion that kimchi can arouse. Every lover of kimchi has their favorite kind and their favorite place on the fermentation scale (more later on this). But what I love most about kimchi is the way it balances an entire meal.
A small dish of pickled, fiery kimchi can make a simple soup and rice combo taste like a magnificent banquet. Kimchi perks up the dullest dishes while also providing much needed acidic crunch to an otherwise rich meal (think about Galbitang or Galbi — these rich dishes taste so good with kimchi).
That’s the reason why coleslaw tastes so good with certain dishes, too. It’s got that crunchy, tangy, slightly sweet, slightly pickled thing going on — just like kimchi. Coleslaw tastes especially great with BBQ because it cuts through the richness of fatty meats. Or anything fried. That acidic, crunchy bite makes everything tastier.
Coleslaw also serves a lot of people. If you’ve ever hosted a gathering, you can feed a lot of people with one head of cabbage. Coleslaw is a very cost-effective party food.
I love this version with lime, lime zest, cilantro, and minced jalapeño. Honestly, what wouldn’t taste good with this? This is a coleslaw dream come true. The lime juice and zest add tang, the cilantro adds an aromatic, herbal quality, and the minced jalapeño keeps this from being just another boring coleslaw. Enjoy!
A fresh, crunchy coleslaw bursting with flavor from lime juice, lime zest, cilantro, and an entire minced jalapeño. If you prefer a milder version, deseed the jalapeño or leave it out entirely -- it will still be delicious!
- 1 small head of cabbage finely shredded
- 1/4 cup cilantro chopped
- 1/4 cup mayonnaise
- 2 Tbsp lime juice about 2-3 limes
- zest of 2 limes
- 1 Tbsp sugar
- 1 jalapeño minced (optional)
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/4 tsp pepper
Place all dressing ingredients in a small bowl. Whisk until well combined. Pour the dressing over the shredded cabbage. Mix thoroughly. Add cilantro. Mix again.
Let the coleslaw sit in the fridge (covered) for about 1 hour. During that time, the cabbage will wilt and the flavors will meld together.
When you are ready to serve, bring out of the fridge. Taste and adjust seasonings, adding more lime juice, salt, and pepper, if needed.
There will be additional liquid at the bottom of the bowl. Do not be alarmed, this is quite normal. Liquid is released because of the added salt to the cabbage. To avoid this pool of liquid that collects at the bottom of your coleslaw, you can either pour it out or transfer to a clean serving bowl, leaving the additional liquid behind.
Note: Not all jalapeños are the same; some are spicier than others. You can remove the seeds from the jalapeño if you’d like a milder version, or leave it out entirely.
Also, I've included 15 minutes in the prep time for shredding the cabbage.