Healthy Mexican Coleslaw with Passion Fruit Dressing is not your grandmother's coleslaw... This one features napa cabbage, shredded carrots, thin-sliced Fresno pepper, cilantro, and scallions in a zesty passion fruit dressing. Enjoy on its own as a side dish, on Tostones with Shrimp, Avocado, and Passion Fruit Slaw, or as a topping on your favorite tacos!
Coleslaw has lost its way. Relegated to a side dish, it is an afterthought and frequently forgotten until the very last moment of picnic, barbecue or beach blanket prep.Tamara.
👩🏻🍳 Tamara Talks - About Coleslaw
Coleslaw has a history dating back centuries, although I would submit it isn't a stellar history. Given that a required ingredient in traditional coleslaw recipes is mayonnaise, and mayonnaise originated in the 18th century, coleslaw has made an appearance on our tables for over 250 years.
My memories of coleslaw are completely underwhelming - the tub of grocery store vinegar and mayonnaise laden glop that is either too sweet or completely lacking flavor. Don't even get me started on the texture... In all likelihood, someone picked it up on the way to the church potluck. LOL.
Let me ask you a question: Do you love it or tolerate it? Do you ever wish the restaurant offered a (completely) different side?
Coleslaw doesn't have to be dripping and soggy from sitting in too much dressing, and it doesn't benefit from age. That bowl of fresh veggies need to be dressed at the very last moment! If you're taking it to a potluck, take the dressing in a separate container, and toss just prior to serving.
🥬What Makes a Good Coleslaw?
REALLY. FRESH. PRODUCE. And a variety of flavors and textures. Cabbage on its own doesn't have a lot of flavor, but when fresh, it does have great texture. Adding shredded carrots, radicchio, chiffonade of fresh herbs, chopped scallions, etc. add much-needed flavor and texture to a bowl of coleslaw.
Next, consider the dressing. Exercise restraint is my #1 suggestion here. A lightly dressed coleslaw will stay fresh longer, and maintain its texture longer as well.
Coleslaw is a perfect vehicle for a unique and flavorful dressing like my Passion Fruit Dressing. It requires only a few pantry staples - good vinegar, olive oil mayonnaise, frozen passion fruit pulp, and agave nectar or other sweetener. It's light on calories, and is so versatile!
📋 Ingredients You'll Need
Here is a quick look at the ingredients in the recipe – it’s handy to use at the grocery store or as a summary of what you need. Skip to the recipe for quantities.
Passion Fruit Dressing
- frozen passion fruit pulp
- lime juice
- white vinegar (white wine or champagne)
- agave nectar
- olive oil mayonnaise
- sea salt and pepper
- shredded napa cabbage
- shredded carrots
- Fresno chiles
- Toasted pepitas and cilantro to garnish
Make the Passion Fruit Dressing first. Simply combine all ingredients in a blender, and purée until smooth. Yes, doubling this recipe works, and you can look forward to using half of it another day. Yay! It'll keep in the fridge for a few days...
Next, you'll want to prep all the veggies. As I mention below, I am not opposed to using either pre-shredded carrots or cabbage when time is an issue. If you'll be using this as a stand alone side, broccoli slaw is another great option!
Lastly, toss the slaw ingredients with the Passion Fruit Dressing, then garnish with optional toasted pepitas, chopped cilantro, and lime wedges!
🌡️ Useful Stuff
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💭 Tips and FAQ
- Pre-shredded cabbage and pre-shredded carrots are great time savers!
- Fresno chiles are seasonal, and sometimes hard to find. Their slightly sweet heat is perfect. Substitute a red bell pepper, and add the heat with a dash of hot sauce in the dressing, or use a jalapeño or serrano.
- If you're using this dish as a side, broccoli slaw is another nice option. It's a little sturdier than napa cabbage, and I wouldn't necessarily use it in tacos. I do think it would be delicious as a side. The brand at my local HEB includes carrots, simplifying the process even further.
🍷 Pairing Suggestions
This Healthy Mexican Coleslow pairs well with just about any dish that you might use plain ole slaw with - brisket, roasted chicken, pork chops, and anything on the grill.
The idea for this coleslaw "with a twist" when I was working on my Tostones with Shrimp, Avocado, and Passion Fruit Slaw last month. I dressed just the shredded napa cabbage, some chopped cilantro and scallions to add a little crunchy texture and tropical flavor to the tostones. It accomplished what I set out to do, and the hubs and I decided it would make a really good stand-alone side dish!
The ultimate menu featuring recipes from Beyond Mere Sustenance (IMHO 😉) would include:
- Instant Pot Mexican Pulled Pork
- Mexican Red Rice (Arroz Rojo) or Mexican Cilantro Rice
- Instant Pot Vegan Borracho Beans
- Healthy Mexican Coleslaw with Passion Fruit Dressing
Note: When I make both of the Instant Pot recipes, I typically make a large batch and freeze for future use.
Including Healthy Mexican Coleslaw with Passion Fruit Dressing in a taco is another excellent way to use it. Wrap some of that delicious Instant Pot Mexican Pulled Pork and the coleslaw in soft corn tortillas, and garnish with fresh cilantro, crumbled cotija, and a squeeze of lime. Delicioso!
We're in the "dog days of summer," and light dishes that don't heat the kitchen up are not just appealing, they're necessary! Healthy Mexican Coleslaw with Passion Fruit Dressing is so quick, easy, gluten free, vegan, and versatile! What are you waiting for?
Passion Fruit Dressing
- 1/4 cup frozen passion fruit pulp
- juice of 1 lime
- 1 tablespoons white vinegar (white wine or champagne)
- 1 teaspoons agave nectar
- 1 tablespoon olive oil mayonnaise
- 1/2 teaspoon sea salt (or to taste)
- 4 cups shredded napa cabbage (see notes)
- 1/2 cup shredded carrots
- 3 scallions, chopped
- 1-2 Fresno chiles, sliced thin or minced
- 1/2 to 1 cup cilantro, chopped
- Toasted pepitas and chopped cilantro to garnish
- Make the dressing - Add all dressing ingredients to a blender. Pulse until smooth. Don't forget to check seasoning!
- Prep the ingredients - As I mentioned, I am not opposed to using either pre-shredded carrots or cabbage when time is an issue. If you'll be using this as a stand alone side, broccoli slaw is another great option! Don't forget to toast pepitas and chop cilantro for garnish!
- Make the salad - Add all slaw ingredients to a large salad bowl or container. Toss with dressing (sparingly). If taking the coleslaw to a picnic. Take the dressing in a separate container and toss just before serving to preserve the texture.
We prefer milder napa cabbage to regular cabbage, but the choice is yours.
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