This light and fresh Purple Cabbage Citrus Slaw made without mayonnaise is is a delicious and vibrant coleslaw perfect for topping pulled pork sandwiches!
There are a few tricks to get the cabbages shredded really fine. Much of the liquid from the cabbage is released prior to tossing in the lemon vinaigrette, making this coleslaw perfect
Why I prefer purple cabbage:
I just thought this head of cabbage was stunning. Only nature could provide such an amazing thing as a head of cabbage. I'm being totally serious.
Have you ever cut into a head of cabbage and studied how each leaf fits perfectly with the next? If you've ever shredded a head of cabbage, you know what I mean. How else can a tiny little head of cabbage produce so much cole slaw?
I also think the colors are spectacular. Different shades of purple and green on the outside, and when you shred it, all you see is purple and white. How does that happen?
To me, purple cabbage, or red cabbage, is much like a red onion is to a yellow onion. Same great flavor, but much more mild and definitely more vibrant to look at.
How to finely shred cabbage:
I think cabbage tastes best when shredded (not chopped) really fine. With my Angel Hair Coleslaw made with green cabbage and a mayonnaise dressing, the finely cut cabbage perfectly absorbs the light dressing.
- My preferred method these days to shred cabbage as thin as possible is to use a mandolin. I remove the outer leaves, quarter the head, and then shred on the thinnest setting leaving only the core (which I happily feed to my chickens).
- You can also use a spiral cutter to shred cabbage, as well as to make things like pesto zoodles. This method can be tricky because the cabbage can fall apart.
- Finally, you can use a food processor, but I find that only really high quality food processors can get the job done right.
Releasing the liquid:
The trick to this wonderful purple cabbage citrus slaw is to let it sit, coated in sugar and a bit of salt, to allow some of the liquid to extract.
This is how you get a delicious coleslaw and not something that resembles coleslaw soup.
What to serve with this slaw:
We served up this amazing slaw on top of the most delicious slow cooker pulled pork sandwiches, topped with my favorite whiskey BBQ sauce. Oh dear, now I'm hungry.
Purple Cabbage Citrus Slaw
- 1 head purple cabbage (outer leaves remove and finely shredded)
- ¼ cup granulated sugar
- 2 teaspoons kosher salt
- ½ cup olive oil
- 3 tablespoons lemon juice (or lime juice)
- ½ teaspoon celery seeds
- freshly ground pepper (to taste)
- Toss cabbage with sugar and half of salt and allow to sit in colander for 1-4 hours. Discard any liquid that is created.
- Whisk oil, lemon (or lime, if using) juice, celery seeds, remaining salt, and fresh ground pepper (if desired) in large bowl. Add cabbage and toss to coat. Chill 1 hour or up to 3 days.
- To finely shred the cabbage, use a mandolin, spiralizer, or food processor
- As the cabbage sits in the sugar and salt, toss it every so often to help distribute the ingredients and release the liquid quicker
- Coleslaw is best served, in my opinion, on the first day as it will continue to release liquid until consumed
This post was originally created in September 2014 and was recently updated for your reading pleasure.