This is a common Russian version of a traditional coleslaw. It is easy to make, light and relatively low in calories but filling cabbage salad with carrots. How is this recipe different from a typical English/American slaw? There is no mayonnaise in the Russian cabbage salad. Instead Russian cole slaw is dressed with lemon juice, salt and just a bit of oil. It is light, healthy and tasty if you know just one little secret of making it. Here it is…
Russian cabbage salad (coleslaw) recipe
- 1 kg of sliced white cabbage (young fluffier and slightly greener heads are preferable)
- 2 medium carrots
- 2 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
- 2 Tbsp sugar
- 2 cloves garlic
- 1+1/2 Tbsp salt
- 1 tsp whole black pepper corns
- 2 Tbsp superb quality oil: unrefined sunflower, super virgin olive, ground nut or so
- 1/2 cup water
- 1 tsp caraway seeds (optional)
- a handful of pomegranate seeds (optional)
Take the top scruffy leaves of the cabbage off. Give the cabbage a rinse and then pat it dry. Cut the cabbage off the stem and into large chunks (discard the stem). Now slice each chunk of cabbage as thinly as you possibly can. There are people in Russia who take special pride in their ability to slice the cabbage almost paper thin for salads or soups (like borscht or shee). And there are people who can’t care less, like yours truly. So just do your best and don’t let it bother you too much.
Sometimes this Russian coleslaw is called Provençal cabbage – kapusta Provencal
Place 1 kg of sliced cabbage into a large salad bowl in which you are planning to serve the salad. Add all salt to the cabbage and with your clean hands mix the cabbage with salt slightly rubbing and squeezing it in your handfuls. Here we are doing the same as for the traditional Russian pickled cabbage recipe. Rubbing sliced cabbage with salt will release the juices and make the Russian slaw moist and tasty without too much oil.
Grate the carrots on a large grater and add them to the cabbage. Add sugar, pepper corns, lemon /lime juice, pressed garlic and caraway seeds into the bowl. Caraway is a popular herb in Russian, German and Scandinavian cuisines and it is believed to enhance the flavour or breads and cabbage dishes. If you don’t like the taste of caraway then just skip it. Add oil and water.
If you are calorie conscious skip the oil all together! You will be surprised how the Russian slaw is juicy, filling and tasty even without the oil.
Mix the salad well, cover the bowl with a plate slightly smaller than the opening and put some weight on top of the plate to let the cabbage salad saturate with the juices. Cover all with cling film and keep at room temperature for 1-2 hours. This time is needed for the cabbage to give out more juices and start fermenting. Firm winter cabbage needs more time, fluffy greenish young summer cabbage needs less. This is the little secret of a good not-fattening slaw that I mentioned earlier.
When you are ready to serve the salad, scatter pomegranate over your Russian slaw. Mix slightly again and serve as a vegetable side or a light garnish for meat, chicken and potato dishes. Enjoy!
Here is a winter recipe for a pickled cabbage slaw, also very good and simple to make.