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Red Cabbage and Apple Slaw

  • Serves: 6
  • Prep Time: 30 min
  • Total Time: 30 min
Red Cabbage and Apple Slaw on a plate with a fork

This slaw is magic. Red cabbage, tart granny smith apples, the slight heat of a jalapeño, and the bright flavors of mint and cilantro...it simply cannot be beat.

Have you ever met someone so kind, so generous, and so life giving that you're forced to give up any attempt being as wonderful as them and instead settle for spending as much time with them as possible? My family was fortunate to meet two such people, and we count our blessings every time our paths cross.

A few years ago while visiting LA, a friend orchestrated for us to meet some of her very good friends. We were starstruck to meet the Ido Drent (an actor from one of our favorite television shows at the time) and his amazing wife Mandy. After a long brunch of not so small talk, we casually threw out an invite for them to come visit us in Portland someday. We crossed our fingers that they would take us up on the offer, but doubted they would because experience had taught us that most people take such an invitation as a token gesture. We were beyond pleased when the Drent’s were quick to schedule a visit with us here in Portland.

3 granny smith apples cut in half
a head of red cabbage on a plate
cilantro, green apples, jalapeño, mayonnaise, and lime on a cutting board
2 hands holding red cabbage over a colander

In anticipation of their arrival I pulled out all the stops with gifts for their soon arriving baby, a well stocked refrigerator, dinner reservations at our favorite restaurants, and even a house cleaner to really spiff things up. I was hoping to be the perfect host and really impress them with my hospitality. What I didn't expect was that that week the Drents would be the ones pouring into us. Our daughter was four months old at the time, and our house guests made it their mission in the morning to beat me downstairs to begin brewing coffee and to start breakfast just so I could rest a bit longer. I can't describe what a blessing that was! But their unexpected helpfulness didn't end there. What I would come to find out that week was that Mandy and Ido were very health conscious. If I didn't come to know them and experience their lifestyle for myself, I'd assume this meant they ate boring and simple food. What I discovered was a couple with a passion for complex flavors and delicious meals. The duration of their visit held a lot of talk about food, cooking methods, and cooking tools (have you ever met someone that traveled with their knives and pans?!). We crafted and ate just as many stunning meals in our home that week as we consumed out at some of Portland’s best eateries. I was stunned to discover Ido loved to cook and enthusiastically shared his and Mandy’s favorites with my family, and truly opened my husband Mort and I’s eyes to the delicious art of eating healthy, without feeling deprived.

ingredients for Red Cabbage and Apple Slaw in a bowl, cilantro, red onion and jalapeño

Day after day, we sat for hours at our dining table, coffee or wine in hand and shared story after story and as the week went on, we realized we were making lifelong friends. I was overwhelmed with gratitude that a couple of “strangers” came into my home, cooked for me, put my kids shoes on every day, laughed at their gross kid jokes (about poop and pee of course), advised my husband in a career change, prayed with us, and even let me cry once or twice without passing judgement. It was hard to say goodbye, knowing that they were heading back to their homeland, New Zealand, and not knowing when we’d see our friends again, but that week ended with us feeling so loved on and refreshed as a family. Some house guests, huh?

ALL that to say that today I’m sharing a recipe for this red cabbage slaw, because I keep thinking about our dear friends, wishing I could pour just a little love back on them as they prepare to welcome their second baby. This recipe is one of the many dishes that Ido prepared for us during his stay that absolutely blew us away. In general, coleslaw is usually something that I could take or leave. It just doesn't do much for me. This slaw though, this slaw, is magic. Red cabbage, tart granny smith apples, the slight heat of a jalapeño, and the bright flavors of mint and cilantro...it simply cannot be beat.

Red Cabbage and Apple Slaw in a bowl with wooden salad tongs
Red Cabbage and Apple Slaw
2 plates of Red Cabbage and Apple Slaw
a plate of Red Cabbage and Apple Slaw with a fork

I now make this slaw on repeat for dinner, picnics, family gatherings, and good ‘ol fashioned summer BBQ’s. It goes with everything and is always talked about long after the meal by everyone who enjoyed it. I love sharing it with others, not only because it's so delicious and so healthy (nothing to feel bad about here), but because it gives me a chance to remember and talk about the Drent’s and anticipate the next time our families will be together again at the table over a beautiful meal.

Red Cabbage and Apple Slaw on a plate with jalapeño, cilantro

Red Cabbage and Apple Slaw

  • Serves: 6
  • Prep Time: 30 min
  • Total Time: 30 min

Ingredients

  • 1/2 Head red cabbage, finely shaved
  • 2 Granny smith apples, cut into matchsticks
  • 1/2 Red onion, sliced as thin as possible
  • 1 cup Loosely packed cilantro, roughly chopped
  • 1/2 cup Loosely packed mint leaves, roughly chopped
  • 1 Jalapeño, seeded and finely chopped
  • 1.5 Limes, zest and juice
  • 1/4 cup Mayonnaise
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Method

  1. Add all ingredients into a large bowl. Stir until fully combined.
  2. Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes to allow flavors to combine.