We associate cole slaw with hearty foods that have North European roots, so it's apt that its name derives from the Dutch kool sla. Yet this salad's main ingredient, cabbage, originated in the east Mediterranean, where it was quite popular in ancient Rome and Greece. Carried north and west by Rome's imperial armies, it has traditionally been served, from Russia to Ireland, in robust soups boiled to a soggy mass, or pungently pickled as sauerkraut.

Cole slaw is an appealing way to serve this feisty cruciferous vegetable, so rich in the antioxidants and indoles that help reduce cancer risk. Served raw, it also retains more water-soluble nutrients, including vitamin C.

Traditionally, cole slaw is shredded cabbage swimming in a sharp-sweet, creamy dressing loaded with mayonnaise and sugar. But more recently, the influence of newly-introduced ingredients from around the globe have inspired dozens of new versions that capitalize on everything from succulent Napa cabbage to Asian roasted sesame oil and smoky chipotle chiles.

Using a variety of cabbages to make cole slaw adds interest and nutritional benefits. Crinkle-leafed Savoy is more tender than the usual red and green cabbage with bowling ball-hard heads. Savoy cabbage is also rich in beta-carotene. Napa cabbage, which resembles a tall, pale head of romaine lettuce standing firmly at attention, is crisp, succulent and milder tasting. Like Savoy, it is a good source of beta-carotene and provides more calcium than other cabbages.

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Crunchy Slaw has everything you like in a classic cole slaw, and then some. Its base of Napa cabbage is crisp and refreshing. Pineapple adds a tart-sweet tang. The creamy dressing of yogurt with mayonnaise reduces fat and cholesterol an extra benefit everyone loves.

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CRUNCHY SLAW

Makes 4 servings

Ingredients

  • 4 cups Napa cabbage, cut crosswise in 1/2-inch strips
  • 1 cup finely shredded red cabbage
  • 3 scallions, white and green parts, cut in 1-inch pieces
  • 1 medium carrot, shredded
  • 1 large celery rib, thinly sliced
  • 1 medium green bell pepper, seeded and cut in thin strips
  • 1 large pineapple slice (canned or fresh), cored and cut in thin 1-inch strips
  • 1/4 cup non-fat yogurt
  • 1 Tbsp. low-fat mayonnaise
  • 2 Tbsp. rice vinegar
  • 1/4 tsp. dry mustard powder
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper, as desired

Directions

  1. Place Napa and red cabbages in large bowl. Cut scallions into fine strips and add to bowl. Add carrots, celery, bell pepper and pineapple.
  2. In small bowl, combine yogurt, mayonnaise, vinegar, mustard powder and salt. Add to vegetables and toss to combine. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
  3. Cover bowl with plastic. Refrigerate 1 hour or overnight before serving.

Nutritional Information Per serving:
71 calories, less than 1 g. fat (less than 1 g. saturated fat),
16 g. carbohydrate, 3 g. protein, 4 g. dietary fiber, 84 mg. sodium

Dana Jacobi
AICR