Day 99: Holy Slaw!

A pile of peppers prepped for Holy Slaw!At a party tonight, I filled my plate, then headed outside. With congestion in the doorway, the Incomings and the Outgoings were making conversation. An Incoming noted my plate, then offered, "That salad's GREAT." I looked up, wondering how in heaven this perfect stranger knew to compliment the salad I'd brought. Seeing my surprise, he asked, "Did you make it?" He hadn't known, he just liked the salad!

Holy Slaw! is perfect for a crowd, perfect for summer gatherings, perfect for outdoor events. The dressing is delicious - and decidedly unusual - I think it might be amazing over pasta, too.

And thanks to the host, not me, dressing the salad before setting it out in the buffet, there are two ways to make it, both great.
  • The first (her) way uses just one bag of supermarket slaw and is all about the fresh peppers and cilantro, the cabbage almost filler or an afterthought.
  • The second (the recipe's) way uses two bags of slaw and is all about, well, slaw. Holy Slaw! that is.
If you like the idea of peanut butter in Holy Slaw, you might like African Pepper, Tomato & Spinach.

2006 Update: I like Holy Slaw! so much it's now featured in a Kitchen Parade column.

Hands-on time: 10 minutes for dressing, 20 minutes to prep the vegetables, 5 minutes to assemble 30 minutes before serving
Time to table: 35 minutes
Makes: A bunch

6 tablespoons rice vinegar
4 tablespoons peanut oil (or vegetable oil or another mild oil)
2 tablespoons sesame oil (a key ingredient, try not to skip)
5 tablespoons low-fat peanut butter
3 tablespoons soy sauce
2 tablespoons minced garlic (from a jar)
2 tablespoons fresh ginger (from a jar)
1/2 teaspoon Thai chili sauce (for a tiny bit of heat)

3 sweet peppers, one red, one yellow, one orange, diced
4 carrots, peeled and diced
8 green onions, both white and green parts, chopped
a cilantro bunch, chopped

1 or 2 16-ounces bags of cabbage slaw

Whisk together the dressing ingredients. (Can be made ahead.)

Dice the peppers and carrots, transfer to a very large serving bowl. Add the onions and cilantro. (Salad can be prepared ahead to this point.)

About 30 minutes before serving, gently combine 1 or 2 bags cabbage slaw with the pepper/onion/cilantro mixture. Stir in the dressing, combining well.

(Since I didn't get to measure the final quantity, this is a best estimate until I make it again.) Per Cup: 113 Cal (53% from Fat, 10% from Protein, 37% from Carb); 3 g Protein; 7 g Tot Fat; 1 g Sat Fat; 11 g Carb; 3 g Fiber; 42 mg Calcium; 1 mg Iron; 220 mg Sodium; 0 mg Cholesterol, Weight Watchers 2 points

  • Dice the carrots in a flash. Peel them first, then cut away the stem end and the tip if it's yucky. With a sharp knife, cut the carrot in half lengthwise, turn and cut again lengthwise. Holding the four pieces together with your fingers, cut the carrot crosswise in small piece. If it's a fat old carrot, you might want to cut the thick end lengthwise a couple of more times before making the crossway cuts.
  • You won't need all the dressing, especially if using just one bag of coleslaw.

Bon Appetit, July 1998
Alanna Kellogg
Alanna Kellogg

A Veggie Venture is home of "veggie evangelist" Alanna Kellogg and the famous asparagus-to-zucchini Alphabet of Vegetables.


  1. Alanna, do you think the Holy Slaw! would be all right if I left out the cilantro? I'm one of those who is just not a cilantro fan. Maybe I'll give it a try and let YOU know. (But it'll be a few weeks - I'm in Colorado soaking up the fresh air.)

  2. Hi Cyndi ~ Happy vacation! I think it would be fine without cilantro but would be tempted to use some other fresh something, basil, tarragon, maybe even just fresh chives.


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Thank you for taking a moment to write! I read each and every comment, for each and every recipe, whether a current recipe or a long-ago favorite. If you have a specific question, it's nearly always answered quick-quick. ~ Alanna