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Somebody's Mom: Red Cabbage Coleslaw

Here's a colorful and tasty side salad.

Red cabbage coleslaw is just another version of standard coleslaw. Coleslaw, potato salad and macaroni salad are the usual condiments or side dishes of summer. Almost all diners will include a small complimentary dish of any one of these three salads with an order.  

Of course, all delicatessens will have their own secret recipes for these dishes, and when you become an owner of a deli, these recipes are part of the purchase. The three salads can make or break a deli. Coleslaw, potato salad and macaroni salad are as much a part of the American culture as apple pie.

So many different recipes are available for these three dishes. Everyone has their own twist and flair for their particular dish. In a German potato salad, there is no mayonnaise, just vinegar and oil. An Italian macaroni salad may contain artichokes and mozzarella cheese with herbed olive oil. A Ukrainian friend of mine makes a potato salad that contains pickles. My own mother’s potato salad contains scallions instead of onions.  

Everyone has their own recipe for the same basic dish, and we all love our summer salads. These cold salads are served all year long, but you will see them more in the summer. 

This red cabbage coleslaw is really quite good on a turkey sandwich. I spoke to two experts on deli sandwiches. Gil from the Stage Deli in Manhattan and Sammy from now-closed Heathcote Deli in Scarsdale enabled me to get correct information. The well-known sandwich of turkey with Russian dressing and coleslaw is referred to as “The Works.”

There are other popular sandwiches with names that are also appetizing. “The Reuben” consists of pastrami with Swiss cheese and sauerkraut. “The Balboa” is roast beef and Swiss cheese on a garlic roll. These sandwiches are a long way from baloney and cheese on sliced white bread, which was the standard lunch bag sandwich brought from home and eaten in the school cafeteria.  

My own children preferred just turkey and cheese on a roll with mayonnaise as their every day school lunch. As they have grown older, their tastes for sandwiches have matured also. My oldest daughter makes her own vegetable wraps to take to work, but my son, of course, will eat anything. (Men—some things never change.) My personal sandwich favorite is fresh mozzarella with roasted red peppers and arugula on Italian bread with vinaigrette dressing. 

The next time you decide to order or make a sandwich, think about getting creative with your palette. Don't just order a baloney and cheese. After all, it’s your sandwich. Enjoy it the way you like it!

Red Cabbage Coleslaw

  • 2 cups shredded red cabbage  
  • 1 cup shredded carrots 
  • 1 Vidalia onion, sliced thin
  • 1/2 green pepper, sliced thin 
  • 1 cup Hellman’s mayonnaise
  • 1 teaspoon concentrated lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
  • 3 tablespoons water
  • salt and pepper 
  1. In large bowl, mix together cabbage, carrots, onion and green pepper. Toss together.
  2. In a 2-cup or larger mixing cup, whisk together mayonnaise, sugar, water, lemon juice, apple cider vinegar, salt and pepper. The water should thin out the mayonnaise somewhat and make for a smooth sauce.
  3. Pour sauce over the cabbage mixture and toss and mix until it is blended altogether very well.
  4. ENJOY! This is the most colorful—as well as delicious—salad anywhere!

Mariann Raftery, creator of Somebody's Mom blog, cooks up comfort food recipes for families here at home, as well as sending homemade cookie care packages to our American soldiers overseas. Somebody's Mom Cooking videos at  http://www.youtube.com, search "Thesomebodysmom".

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