Mexican Coleslaw – three different ways…. Plain, Creamy, and Fermented

Sometimes your best meals come for what is lying around in your pantry waiting to be used.

Such is the case with this recipe.

I had leftover pinto beans and hamburger to use up for lunch one day this week, and I was trying trying to think of how to make it a little different or special since we had just eaten the same meal for lunch the day before.

What do I have I asked myself?

I had a Napa Cabbage that needed to be used up. What could I do with that. Well, I could make coleslaw, but traditional cole slaw doesn’t really fit with this meal, and only one of my kids really likes it.

Cross that off the list.

What about Mexican Coleslaw. Yes. That might work.

What can I put in it.

Cabbage, red onion, garlic…. The recipe started formulating in my mind. Here it is for your enjoyment.

Mexican Coleslaw:

Cabbage (green or Napa work well), chopped or grated. Grate the amount needed for the dish you are serving this week and the number of people in your family.

1 cup red onion, chopped

4-6 cloves of garlic, chopped

1/8 cup salt for every 4 cups of cabbage

Black pepper, a few good shakes

1/2 tsp chili powder for every 4 cups of cabbage

1.5 tsp cumin for every 4 cups of cabbage

Juice from 1 lime, or 2 tbsp of bottles lime juice per every 4 cups of cabbage

Throw it all in a bowl and toss together.

Now this is where your options come in.

Mexican Coleslaw Three Ways:

1. Plain: Eat it as is. This is what we did. We used it as a topping for our Mexican lunch in place of lettuce. If you find it a bit dry, drizzle a little bit of olive oil to distribute the spices and moisten it up a little.

2. Creamy: Add mayonnaise. If you want a creamier slaw, add a little Mayo at the end and mix in. This would be wonderful on top of Mexican food as well.

3. Fermented: If you haven’t added oil or Mayo, this is where it gets interesting. You can add more salt and turn it into a Mexican lacto-ferments sauerkraut. This could be done with any leftovers that didn’t get eaten at your meal, or with the whole batch if you desire. Add about 1 tsp of good sea salt per every 4 cups of cabbage. Go by taste. It should be salty, but not so salty so that you don’t want to eat it. Taste as you go when adding salt. Once salted, pack into a clean jar, cover with a follower (glass weight, sterilized rock, ziplock baggie filled with marbles). Cover with filtered water so that all the food contents are submerged. Cover loosely with a lid. Label and date. Loosen the lid at least once a day to release any gases. Eat at any point, but allow it to ferment for 1-2 weeks or until the taste is to your liking before transferring to cold storage.

I enjoyed mine with a taco bowl topped with my homegrown, fermented cherry tomatoes (see lead photo).

For more information on fermented foods visit the Pantry. Or for a more thorough resource, I highly recommend Shannon Stronger’s Traditionally Fermented Foods book (affiliate link).