Creamy buttermilk coleslaw – The Way the Cookie Crumbles

Buttermilk coleslaw cooks illustrated recipe

It seems that the creamy coleslaw has fallen out of favor. I think if you only like vinegar-based coleslaw, then you’re eating the wrong creamy coleslaw. I didn’t like it before this recipe either. It was always too sweet or too watery or too heavy or too soft. This recipe is nothing like that.

A key technique in this recipe is to salt the cabbage and let it sit for an hour or so before mixing it with the dressing ingredients. Salt sucks water out of cabbage, so there is less water to leach into the dressing. Cabbage has to be rinsed off after being salted, which seems counterintuitive, but it’s easy to dry moisture out of the cabbage pieces — there’s still less water in the cabbage, which is what will prevent you from making a watery salad.

Large chunks of cabbage maintain this look and feel like a salad while removing any concerns of softness. For those who think creamy coleslaw tends to be too heavy, check out the ingredient list below: two-thirds of the base of the dressing is low-fat buttermilk, with just a little mayonnaise and sour cream added for the body and complexity of flavor.


never liked creamy coleslaw growing up, and I still don’t usually like it in restaurants. But this recipe is worth trying, with its creamy but not rich dressing, its slight sweetness of carrots and only half a teaspoon of sugar, a light bite of shallot and the overall balance of flavors.

Especially if it is an opportunity to use an elegant schmany monkey vegetable peeler. How cute is this guy? A friend got it for me, because, you could say, I have a little bit of a thing for monkeys. (Or at least one.) And even better, it’s sharp. I love it.

Coleslaw Creamy Whey Salad (from Cooks Illustrated, July 2002)

Makes 4 servings

CI Note: If you plan to serve coleslaw immediately, rinse the salted cabbage in a large bowl of ice water, drain it in a strainer, choose the ice cubes, and then dry the cabbage before dressing. Bridget’s Note

: The recipe says to salt cabbage for 1-4 hours, but I’ve had better results when I’m wrong on the long side of that range. 1 pound cabbage

(about 1/2 medium head

), red or green, grated fine (6 cups) table salt 1 medium carrot, grated on box grater 1/2 cup buttermilk 2 tablespoons mayonnaise 2 tablespoons sour cream 1 small shallot, chopped (about 2 tablespoons) 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley leaves 1/2 teaspoon cider vinegar 1/2 teaspoon granulated sugar 1/4 teaspoon Dijon mustard 1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper 1. Mix the shredded cabbage and 1 teaspoon of salt in the strainer or large mesh strainer over a medium bowl. Let stand until the cabbage wilts, at least 1 hour or up to 4 hours. Rinse cabbage under cold running water. Press, but not squeeze, to drain; Dry with paper towels. Place wilted cabbage and carrot in a large bowl.

2. Stir the buttermilk, mayonnaise, sour cream, shallot, parsley, vinegar, sugar, mustard, 1/4 teaspoon salt and pepper in a small bowl. Pour the dressing over the cabbage and mix to combine; Refrigerate until cooled, about 30 minutes. (Cabbage salad can be refrigerated for up to 3 days.) Culinary specialist with more than 10 years of experience in the restaurant industry.

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