Think beyond cabbage for your next slaw

Cucumber pepper slaw 

Ever since the Dutch brought koolsla to the New World in the late 1700s, cabbage has been the vegetable of choice for what's become known as coleslaw. The combination of flavor and crunch that cabbage provides is ideal for the side dish. But if the thought of another tangy or creamy cabbage slaw leaves you cold, there are plenty of other vegetables offer a similar texture and great flavor.

As The Chicago Tribune explains, "chefs and culinary pros like to tinker with classic recipes, so they're using beets, kohlrabi, carrots, fennel, celery root" for a new class of slaw. These substitutes are as sturdy and flavorful as cabbage, and some add quite a bit of color to the dish as well. But it all comes down to the crunch, which seems to define coleslaw for many chefs.

So says Nicole Pederson, executive chef of at Found Kitchen and Social House in Evanston, Illinois. She calls the restaurant's fennel side dish a slaw "because it's raw vegetables all sliced very thinly." Cookbook author Rick Rodgers, whose recent  cookbook The Big Book of Sides features several slaw recipes, echoes this sentiment, saying that shredded or thinly sliced ingredients define a slaw. Rodgers suggests cutting raw vegetables 1/4-inch or sometimes an 1/8-inch thick. "Slices have to be small enough to be tender without cooking," he explains.

The EYB Library offers over 350 recipes for slaws made with alternate vegetables. Try one of these outstanding recipes:

Candy-stripe beet and carrot slaw from Bon Appétit Magazine
Broccoli slaw from Smitten Kitchen by Deb Perelman
Cucumber-pepper slaw, Roper-style from Saveur Magazine  (pictured above)
Apple slaw from How to Cook Everything Gift Set by Mark Bittman
Japanese-style quick-pickled slaw from Epicurious by Chris Schlesinger

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