It’s been weeks of rain here in “sunny” California. For those of you unfamiliar to our climate, rain is an anomaly. Rain for weeks? A cosmic enigma. One that leaves us all hiding indoors, cozied up to space heaters, and renders all of our normal-ish driving skills less than stellar. And as a conditioned Californian, born and raised, rain brings to light all the things about California that I typically take for granted–most importantly, the sunshine.
I sit in my kitchen listening to the pitter-pattering of raindrops on the roof, staring out the sliding glass door into the space beyond the gates of the backyard, imagining the drops turn to sunbeams as the air becomes a warm 80 degrees. I think about what the summer will be like, seeing the sun heat the faces of the children playing soccer on the greenbelt behind my house; far behind them sits an enamored couple fanning out a blanket and opening a basket under the cool shade of a large eucalyptus tree–a summer picnic. There’s nothing more quintessential to summer than the ability to enjoy a lovely meal outdoors.
Whether it’s a romantic hillside picnic for two or a reunion of friends catching up around a barbecue, the heat of summer brings with it its own kind of cuisine. Veggie dogs, black bean burgers, pulled jackfruit, corn on the cob… just thinking about any of them may give you those trademark summer tan lines. For me, my essential summertime food is coleslaw! The way mamma used to make it! Truth be told my mother was actually more of a baker, but if she did make coleslaw this totally would have been her recipe.
Coleslaw needs to be the perfect marriage of three things: sweet, salty, and tangy. While it’s probably one of the simpler warm weather side dishes, finding the right balance of flavors can be the most difficult. However, once you’ve mastered it–or have copied my awesomely easy and already foolproof recipe right here–it’s a dish you’ll refer to constantly!
Creamy Country Vegan Coleslaw
1. Chiffonade–cut into thin strips–1 whole medium head of green cabbage and ½ of a medium head of purple cabbage.
2. Peel the outside layer off of 3 large carrots. Chop off the ends. One by one, using the peeler, hold a carrot in one hand and use the other hand to grate strips off, down the length of the carrot, rotating the carrot as you grate so strips come off evenly. We don’t want a chunky veggie platter, just beautifully thin strips!
3. In a small bowl, prepare the dressing by stirring together the mayo, agave syrup, lime juice, rice vinegar, black pepper, and salt, until incorporated.
4. In a large bowl, toss together the cabbage, carrots, and dressing.
5. Optional: top with celery seeds and extra carrot strips for a stunning presentation.
Checkered blankets and picnic-friendly weather may not be happening outside right now, but it’s all heat waves and sunshine indoors when I whip up a side of this irresistibly creamy vegan coleslaw. It’s become such a staple for me and my family that it’s transformed into more than just a side–it’s the topping to our sandwiches, the bases for our salads, the yin-to-our-summer-yang.
So whether you need a side or a condiment, are in a heat wave or a torrential downpour, my picnic-worthy coleslaw will bring you summer nostalgia all year ’round.
Also by Missy: Slow Cooker Taco Caserole
Related: Best Ever Vegan “Chicken” Salad
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Photos: Missy Ruttencutter