Starting something new and life-changing can be nerve-racking, you are leaving behind things that allowed you to understand who you were in your environment. When it comes to changing our relationship to food, it can be all the more daunting. I’ve had to give up a lot of different foods such as gluten, grains, nightshade fruit and veg, soya, and to limit the carbohydrate content in my diet, which makes for an anti-inflammatory diet that is healing and reduces pain. In my experience, it is important to create landmarks in the new landscape you are inhabiting, to have foods that you can rely on, and that you can turn to when you need a pick me up, and to be reminded that
change is good, and the future you are choosing is better.
For me, this vegan coleslaw with sauerkraut fulfills that role beautifully. Eaten as a snack, side or part of a wrap filling, coleslaw is my staple go-to salad. It is simple and quick to make, keeps well in the fridge (make extra and then it is there when you need it). It’s super alkalising, filling, nutritious, and ticks every box as a healing, healthy, delicious food. It is a revitaliser, a nourisher, a food with bite and substance, which you need especially when you eat a vegan diet that is relatively low in carbs, which I do for pain relief. It tastes so much better than, and is so superior in every way to, conventional coleslaw, and yet it has similar elements and flavour. I like that the creamy dressing (mayonnaise-esque) is comforting and feels indulgent, and yet you aren’t indulging at all, only looking after yourself.
If you’ve tried sauerkraut before and haven’t incorporated it into your diet, I urge you to try again, and to make your own. Home-made, it is lacto-fermented and so probiotic and healing, and is so delicious. Combined with the coleslaw it’s tangy, peppery, savoury flavour does not stand out, just adds to the depth of flavour of the dish beautifully. My sauerkraut recipe (a wide-spread traditional method) is easy, and it is so rewarding to make, before you know it you’ll be hooked!
This coconut cream based dressing actually doesn’t taste of coconut, so if you don’t enjoy that flavour in a lot of dishes, this is great for you. It can also be used as a dip, a salad dressing, and as a condiment.
The coleslaw looks beautiful with a red cabbage, it’s such vibrant food in every way ♥
- 1/2 white cabbage, medium grated (you could use purple too)
- 2 x large carrots, medium grated
- 3 heaped tbsp sauerkraut
- 1 spring onion, finely chopped
- Handful of walnut halves, broken is fine
- 1/2 can of coconut milk (the creamier the thicker the dressing)
- 2 tbsp tahini
- 1 tsp agave/ 2 tbsp grated apple
- 2 tsp English mustard
- 1 tbsp ground flaxseed/ linseed
- 1 tbsp cold pressed extra virgin olive oil/ oil of choice
- 3 tbsp raw cider vinegar
- 3 tbsp lemon juice
- 1 tsp finely ground black pepper
- 3 pinches of salt, or to taste
Mix the dressing - simply combine the ingredients together, and adjust to taste, remembering that the vegetables will absorb much flavour and that you can also adjust if needed when the dressing and vegetables are assembled.If you want a thicker mayonnaise, add more linseed, for richer, add more tahini or oil.
Grate the carrot and cabbage and mix in a bowl. Break up the walnuts into pieces. Add the sauerkraut. I state 3 tbsp but of course you can add more or less, remembering it is salty and so will affect the flavour of the dish. If you don't like or cannot eat onion, leave it out, it's still delicious. Mix the 'mayonnaise' and other ingredients, and you're good to go!
The coleslaw keeps beautifully, it is lovely eaten straight away, but benefits from being left for 20 minutes or more, and especially the next day, to really soak up the flavours, and for the linseed to soften.
This recipe is for a basic coleslaw. Cucumber, pickles, radishes, snow pea shoots, fennel - all are beautiful also, and the list goes on! It is delicious without sauerkraut, but extra delicious and good for you with, try my sauerkraut recipe.
You can finely grate the veg, which makes it all the more light and juicy, but it has more bite and keeps better grated less finely.
Remember, if you aren't using raw cider vinegar, that the flavour is stronger and you may need less.