The best salad for a picnic or bar-b-cue on a hot day is one that you can prepare beforehand and that won’t spoil in the heat. Here’s one that fits the bill – plus it’s easy to make and tastes great on day one as well as later in the week. It’s a great choice for outdoor meals because it does not contain any eggs, mayonnaise or other ingredients that can spoil in the heat. It’s from my mom, Selma, who got it from her friend Lesley. My mom says everyone she knows who has tasted it says it is Jewish deli health salad. Whatever you call it, enjoy the results.
There are two keys to this recipe: shred or cut the vegetables into fine pieces and make sure to add the celery seed. Although you can easily make this in a food processor, you don’t need one. You can use an inexpensive flat shredder for the carrots, green pepper and the onion and cut the cabbage by hand. Even though I have a food processor (OK, true confessions – I have two, a large one and the small one pictured below), I made this salad using the red shredder pictured below for the carrot, pepper and onion; then I cut the cabbage by hand. It wasn’t too tedious, really.
Cole slaw or Deli Salad – 8-10 side servings. Total cost – less than $4.50 for the entire bowl
- 2 raw carrots, peeled
- 1 green pepper, washed and inside seeds and core removed
- ½ large or 1 medium Vidalia or sweet onion (my mom uses a “regular” yellow onion, but I prefer an onion that has less “bite” because it is left raw in this salad)
- 1 medium head of cabbage
- ¾ – 1 tablespoon celery seed (not celery salt)
- 2/3cup salad oil (canola, corn or other oil that does not have strong taste – I would not use olive oil in this recipe)
- 2/3 cup white vinegar
- 2 tablespoons and 1 teaspoon of sugar
- ½ teaspoon salt
- Cutting board
- Shredder (food processor or any flat shredder)
- Small pot
- Measuring cup for liquids
- Measuring spoons
- Spoon (for stirring dressing as it heats)
- Fork (to toss salad)
- Shred the carrots, green pepper and onion. (Be careful not to get your fingers too close to the shredding blade. My mom calls graters and shredders “finger rippers” – and she’s right.)
- Cut the cabbage into thin strips – as thin as you can make them. If they are too long to be eaten easily, cut them in half or thirds.
- Toss the vegetables together in a bowl.
- Add the celery seed and toss again.
- Boil the oil, vinegar, sugar and salt together. (Boiling dissolves the sugar and salt.) Cool slightly, then pour into the salad and toss it again.
- Cover tightly with plastic wrap or put in plastic container with tight lid and refrigerate for at least 4 hours.
Enjoy. The salad will last about a week in the refrigerator. As the days go by, it tastes more like sauerkraut because it marinates in the salad dressing and almost pickles. I love it the first day and later too.
Have a great holiday weekend. Enjoy your meals – and those with whom you share them.