I *think* it’s safe to say that the weather is turning cool. It sure looks that way this week. We’ve turned on the furnace. That means something, right? Though I do hope that it is still nice enough for a pleasant evening of Hallowe’en trick or treating.
It’s natural that when the weather turns cool, one’s culinary thoughts turn to things like warm breads, hearty stews and crunchy coleslaw. Wait… what?
Yes, coleslaw. It’s early autumn, and cabbage is abundant. Onions are out, peppers are still available until frost claims them and kale is still plentiful. Combined, these make a wonderfully healthy salad that only needs an equally healthy dressing. Autumn isn’t ALL pumpkin and squash, ya’ know.
I usually enjoy slaw with vinaigrette. I’m not a mayo-based coleslaw person. Give me sharp tang over creamy sweetness any day. But it’s autumn; a time that calls for something just a bit heartier, but still healthy. I settled on something miso-based.
What is Miso?
Miso is a fermented soybean paste with a salty taste, and creamy texture. The health claims surrounding it are many and varied, but from what I’ve read it is at least fabulous for gut health and is high in antioxidants. It also contains all essential amino acids, making it a complete protein. The health benefits of cabbage are well known. This slaw is a powerhouse of good-for-you deliciousness.
A quick look around the net for miso dressings called up many similar recipes. Garlic, ginger, acid, oil. Some had yogurt. Some had cayenne or other spice. I decided that I could create something delicious with what I had on hand. I took the first batch of slaw to a potluck on the weekend and everyone I talked to loved it. I loved it so much, I’ve made another batch and it’s already almost gone.
This dressing is wonderful with crunchy slaw. But honestly it would be equally fabulous over a cold noodle salad, or leftover poultry. Ooh, or a salad of cold noodles, poultry (or even tofu) and some chopped nuts. Yum!
1 heaped tablespoon white or yellow miso
2 tablespoons vinegar (rice is best)
zest and juice of a lime
1 teaspoon grated fresh ginger (I keep mine frozen and grate it on a microplane)
1 garlic clove, minced or grated into a paste if making the dressing by hand
pinch of hot pepper, optional
2 tablespoons sesame oil
2 tablespoons neutral oil
Honey or agave, to taste (without, this is a very tangy dressing, which may not be to everyone’s taste – I added around a teaspoon of agave to mine)
2 tablespoons plain low-fat yogurt (optional – increase oil if omitting)
1. By hand – Combine the miso, vinegar and lime juice in a small bowl and whisk together. Add the remaining ingredients and whisk until completely blended and creamy.
3. Alternately toss everything into a small food processor, bullet type blender or regular blender and whiz until creamy and fully blended. Scrape down the sides to make sure.
2. Toss with a mixture of shredded cabbage and carrot (honesty time – I used a bag of mixed slaw) chopped kale and julienned red onion and red pepper. Don’t be afraid to do this in advance. This slaw has holding power. Or pour the dressing over whatever other salad you like. Garnish with toasted sesame seeds or toasted chopped cashews or peanuts, if desired.
Yield: 1/2 cup or so of dressing (make double… keeps for a week in the fridge )