This slaw is everything I want in a coleslaw and more. It has plenty of crunch and tang, with added depth and heat from smoky chipotle peppers, and a touch of sweetness from crispy apples. I got the idea to put chipotle in coleslaw from Bricia Lopez. She has a recipe in her book Oaxaca: Home Cooking From the Heart of Mexico with dried Oaxacan pasilla peppers in it, which also have a smoky flavor to them. The apple inspiration came from another spicy apple salad I loved at Spork, a restaurant in Bend. When I wanted to make a slaw for a family potluck, I knew this combination would be perfect for fall.
I use predominantly red cabbage here for the beautiful color, but I threw in a little green for contrast. You can use all red, or even all green if you prefer. There is also kohlrabi in this salad, which provides more crunch and a bit of extra bite. They have a pungency similar to radishes, so if you cannot find kohlrabi, feel free to use thinly sliced radishes instead. Kohlrabi doesn’t have to be completely peeled, but you should cut of the fibrous bottom and top. You’ll see some of it is a bit thicker, and you can slice that away too. Otherwise the skin is edible and it also has a gorgeous purple color.
I recommend making the coleslaw at least four hours in advance, but it can be done a day early too. The cabbage holds up really well, and it seems to improve as it sits. The apples are best if added the day of, but I still really like it leftover. It makes a great lunch. This would also be perfect with grilled chicken, pork, or fish, or crispy tofu if you want to keep it vegetarian.
Apple and Chipotles Autumn Slaw (Makes a huge, potluck sized batch. Cut in half for a single family.)
- 3-4 dried chipotle peppers
- 10-12 cups thinly sliced cabbage (I use about a half head of red cabbage, and one-sixth head of green.)
- 1 julienned carrot (about 1 cup)
- 1 small kohlrabi, julienned (about 1.5 cups)
- 1/2 red onion, thinly sliced (about 1 cup)
- 2 cloves of garlic minced
- 3-3.5 oz Apple Cider Vinegar
- Juice of 2 limes
- 2-3 crisp apples such as Honeycrisp, Fiji or Cameo (about 3 cups)
- 2/3 cup toasted pumpkin seeds (pepitas)
- Kosher salt to taste
- Ground black pepper to taste
- Put the dried chipotles in a small bowl. Boil some water and cover the chilies. Allow to sit for at least 10 minutes while moving on to the next step.
- Combine cabbage, carrots, onion, and kohlrabi in a large bowl.
- Put the minced garlic in a small bowl or liquid measuring cup. Sprinkle with salt. Add the oil, 3 oz vinegar, and lime juice.
- When chilies are soft, cut in half, and carefully scrape out the seeds. Thinly slice the chipotles and add to the vegetables.
- Toss the salad with the dressing. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Add a little more vinegar if necessary. It will seem lightly dressed, but that’s a good thing. It will prevent it from getting soggy. It should have plenty of flavor. The salad can be dressed and chilled without the apples up to 24 hours in advance. It should be chilled for at least four hours. Add the apples no more than four hours before serving. You can also add them last minute, if you prefer.
- After it’s chilled for four hours, check the seasoning and add more salt and pepper as necessary. Toss in the pumpkin seeds and serve.