If you think that coleslaw has to be some creamy, soggy mess of cabbage in a bowl, you haven’t tried this version. I personally think it’s one of the best salads around. In fact, I’m eating some right now, and it’s my second helping!
Not only is this salad full of tangy flavor, it’s also incredibly good for your health. The combination of the main ingredient, cabbage, and the dressing, which contains some home remedies that go back to ancient times, is killer.
Cabbage should be at its peak right now, and is abundant throughout the fall and winter. It belongs to the same cruciferous family as Brussels sprouts, kale and broccoli, and has anti-estrogenic properties. That’s good, because we tend to get bombarded by excess estrogen from the chemicals found in our environment, conventional food sources and ever in our water. The active ingredients in cabbage (cruciferous indoles) have shown substantial capacity to shift estrogen metabolism to produce beneficial antioxidant and anti-cancerous effects. (Hofmekler, Ori: The Anti-Estrogenic Diet, North Atlantic Books, 2007)
The dressing is made from simple ingredients that are known in some circles as natural “wonder drugs”: namely apple cider vinegar and honey. The benefits of apple cider vinegar and honey have been noted anecdotally from generation to generation, and include the ability to fight arthritis, colds and the flu, sore throats, indigestion and even gout.
While many of the folkloric benefits of apple cider vinegar have not been documented in proper research, the product has been relied upon as a cure-all since ancient times. The father of medicine, Hippocrates, used both apple cider vinegar and honey as medicines in 400 B.C.. Apple cider vinegar got a boost in the 1950s with the book “Folk Medicine: A Vermont Doctor’s Guide to Good Health”, by D.C. Jarvis. Some folk uses of the vinegar have been researched in modern times, and there are now a number of medical studies that link the use of apple cider vinegar to health improvements in patients with obesity and in those with diabetes.
Honey is also an ancient home remedy on its own. Raw honey contains pollen, so is often sought out by allergy sufferers, as the pollen impurities lessen the impact of common hay fever. It has been used for almost 3,000 years for a variety of ailments, including topical applications as a wound dressing. Honey’s antiseptic and antibacterial properties have now been chemically explained and well researched.
Not any apple cider vinegar or honey will do. You will want organic and unfiltered vinegar, the kind with a cloudy cobweb-like substance floating in it. This is known as the “mother”, and ensures the nutrients and health-giving properties are all intact. I use Bragg’s Apple Cider Vinegar; it’s available in both supermarkets and health foods stores. For honey, make sure you get raw unprocessed honey, which is extracted without the use of high heat. Health food stores and farmers markets are good places to look.
Finally, if you’re worried about the small amount of honey in this recipe causing your insulin to spike, you can take comfort in the glycemic-lowering properties of the apple cider vinegar. While additional research is needed, early studies indicate that the vinegar actually lowers the glycemic score of carbohydrates that are eaten at a meal.
Apple Cider Vinegar and Honey Coleslaw:
1 c finely sliced or shredded red cabbage
2 c finely sliced or shredded green or white cabbage
1 leek, finely sliced (optional, or use green onions, shredded carrots, or a combination)
1 T parsley, chopped
2 T toasted sesame seeds
a few spinach leaves (optional)
1/4 c extra virgin olive oil
1/3 c Bragg’s apple cider vinegar
2 T raw honey
sea salt and black pepper
i. Mix the olive oil, honey and vinegar with salt and pepper in a small jar. Shred the cabbage and vegetables in a food processor or slice them finely using a sharp knife. Marinate the vegetables with the dressing for 10-15 minutes in the fridge. (But serve directly after; do not let it sit and get soggy).
ii. Serve on individual heaps of spinach leaves and sprinkle liberally with toasted sesame seeds.