The phrase “eat the rainbow” takes on a fresh new spin in this Rainbow Summer Slaw. Crunchy red cabbage, sweet peppers and mango, carrots, and shaved zucchini get dressed up with a sweet and spicy dressing and crunchy pumpkin seeds. No mayo here, only refreshing flavors that celebrate the season’s bounty!
Building the Perfect Mix of Textures
While the slaw and dressing come together in just one bowl for this recipe, you will need a food processor and peeler for best results.
This slaw is a collage of textures. Crispy, crunchy veggies and soft mango turn into a party of colors and textures that scream summer. The key to striking the right balance of textures is whipping out your veggie peeler. And it’s not just for the mango. For this fresh summer side, we recommend taking a peeler to both your carrots and asparagus to make ribbons.
To make the ribbons, first remove and discard the carrot’s rough outer peel. To reduce food waste, you can save these peels for a flavorful veggie stock on a rainy day. Then just keep peelin’ curly ribbons off your carrot until you get to the slightly awkward point at which you can’t make any more long ribbons. No worries, this slightly thicker core is still perfectly usable for the slaw. Simply slice it length- or widthwise and toss with the other veggies!
I highly recommend a food processor to break down your red cabbage. We found that slicing cabbage always leaves a mix of tiny confetti-like bits, appropriately sized bites and then huge, rubbery chunks of cabbage that kind of ruin the festive vibes this slaw provides. Remember–one bowl for the dressing + slaw! You can afford to bring out the Cuisinart for the sake of the ideal slaw texture.
Hitting the right balance: Sweet & Spicy Dressing
The zesty dressing for this rainbow summer slaw takes inspiration from Thai food, my personal favorite world cuisine (more on that soon). I added fish sauce for some umami, but feel free to omit it to stay vegan. If you skip the fish sauce, you may need a couple more dashes of tamari or salt. Just taste to your preferences!
One of the most delicious signatures of Thai food is the unexpected, refreshing combination of fruity, spicy and sweet flavors. Here, fruity comes from delightfully ripe mango (is there anything better?). A dash or two of Sriracha has spicy covered. And the secret dressing ingredient, honey, rounds things out on the sweet front. The result? A perfectly balanced rainbow summer slaw that’ll feed a crowd at your next summer gathering. I’ve also thrown a bit of protein (crispy tofu, edamame, whatever you like) on the slaw for a light lunch.
Meet Lizzy: the lady behind the recipe
If you didn’t notice, there’s a new name in the byline on this recipe. I’m Lizzy, the newest member of the Crowded Kitchen, here to make sure the kitchen stays crowded! Lexi and I have been friends since she joined our college cross country team. Now, I couldn’t be more excited to join her endeavor here.
I realize the rainbow slaw matters here, but wanted to give a quick introduction, as you’ll be seeing me around here more. Like Lexi and Beth, I’m an avid home cook. I’m attending culinary school in Cambridge, Massachusetts in September. I’ll be keeping you all in the loop about what I’m learning along the way. Before joining the blog, I worked at Purple Carrot, a vegan meal kit, and spent a year teaching English in Malaysia. I lived in a little jungly-village called Raub in central peninsular Malaysia and taught at a rural secondary school. A lot of my culinary inspo comes from Southeast Asian cuisines (exhibit A: this rainbow slaw). And I look forward to sharing more of the culinary wonders from that region with you.
I also love learning about food from around the world, so if you have research questions of any sort send them my way! I love digging into food-related topics, no matter how esoteric. Did you know that Caesar salad was invented in Tijuana?
Outside the kitchen, I love reading, ceramics and, also like Lexi, running. I’m currently training for my 3rd marathon, Berlin, in September. I’m excited for my “international debut” but a little less excited about the hot summer training. The good news is that we have plenty of cooling ice cream , popsicle and cocktail recipes to help me *recover* from those runs.
You may have also noticed that this recipe, unlike most we provide, isn’t 100% vegan. While I am fully on-board with all things plant-based, I also tend to eat everything, in moderation, of course. So you can expect to see more examples of not-quite-vegan recipes under my name. In the meantime, I hope you enjoy this rainbow slaw and the sunny weather it celebrates!Print
The phrase “eat the rainbow” takes on a fresh new spin in this Rainbow Summer Slaw. Crunchy red cabbage, sweet peppers, carrots, and shaved zucchini gets dressed up with a spicy Asian dressing and crunchy pumpkin seeds.
Sweet & Spicy Dressing:
- 2 teaspoons honey (or agave or maple syrup for strict vegan)
- 1 tablespoon fish sauce (optional for vegan)
- 2 tablespoons tamari
- 1 tablespoon fresh ginger, grated
- 1–2 teaspoons Sriracha or chile garlic sauce, plus more if you like it spicy
- 1 lime
- 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 tablespoon seasoned rice vinegar
- Salt to taste
For the Slaw:
- ½ small head of purple cabbage, shredded in a food processor or thinly sliced
- 2 medium-small carrots, peeled and peeled into ribbons
- 6 thick asparagus stalks, peeled into ribbons
- 1 stalk celery, thinly sliced
- 1 red bell pepper, thinly sliced
- 1 mango, thinly sliced
- ¼ cup roasted pumpkin seeds
- Black sesame seeds for garnish, optional
- To make the dressing, whisk together the honey, fish sauce (if using), tamari, ginger, Sriracha or chile garlic sauce, lime juice and olive oil in a large bowl. Taste and adjust seasoning with salt or more lime juice.
- Add the cabbage, carrots, asparagus, celery, red bell pepper, and mango to the large bowl with the dressing. Whisk the dressing one more time before adding everything!
- Toss the slaw well, adding the pumpkin seeds as you go.
- When using a peeler to make ribbons out of the carrots and asparagus, once you get to the point when you can’t create nice long peels anymore, simply slice the remaining carrot or asparagus thinly lengthwise. A little texture from the thicker pieces will be nice in the slaw! I recommend shredding the cabbage in a food processor, but if you decide to cut it yourself, be sure to slice it very thinly. Large, chewy pieces of raw cabbage are not the texture we’re going for.
- No need to remove the woody bottoms from the asparagus. After you peel them into ribbons, they’re no longer tough!
Keywords: Summer Slaw