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Summer Slaw with Tahini Lime Coconut Dressing and Curried Cashews

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slaw2

All the beautiful produce that comes along with summer gets me really excited, and sometimes I get a little overzealous with my shopping.  My favorite way to use up a fridge full of colorful veggies is to throw it all together in a big bowl and call it a salad, or a slaw in this case, since there is cabbage involved.  There’s not much that makes me happier than when this random-refrigerator-round up turns out to be unexpectedly delicious.  That’s what happened here.

slaw1

slawingredients

They never knew when they were crammed into my fridge that they would one day end up in a harmonious partnership.

Serves 4-6

Ingredients

-for the slaw

  • head of fennel
  • 1/4 head purple cabbage
  • yellow bell pepper
  • 1/2 cup thai basil
  • 1/4 cup raisins

-for the curried cashews

  • 1 cup raw, unsalted cashews
  • 1 tbs coconut oil
  • 1.5 tsp curry
  • 1/4 tsp each paprika, chili powder, turmeric powder
  • squeeze of lime

-for the dressing

  • 2 tbs tahini
  • juice of 1/2 a lime
  • tsp honey
  • tsp sea salt
  • inch of fresh grated ginger
  • tbs coconut milk
  • pepper to taste

You’ll want to start with the cashews- so that they will be cooled by the time they make their dive into the slaw, and so that you have something to snack on along the way.  One cup is about twice as many nuts as you’ll need for the recipe, but I’m usually lucky if there are any survivors when all is said and done.

cashews

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.  While you wait, melt the coconut oil in a pan and add the spices and squeeze of lime.  Cook for a minute or two and delight in the smell of warming curry.  Add your cashews, giving them a good coating, and transfer them to a lined baking sheet.  Pop the nuts into the oven for 10-15 minutes, checking every 5 to stir and make sure no one is getting too toasty.  Remove and let cool.  Do not eat them all.

fennel

Next you’ll want to attack the fennel, which many of us in America might not be comfortable using.  I first tried fennel when I was living in Greece, as it is indigenous to the Mediterranean region.  It is sort of like celery, sort of.  Except you don’t eat the stalks and it has a sweeter taste, with licorice notes.  You’ll want to remove the stalks, or fronds, which are inedible (not dangerously inedible, just a little too fibrous for human enjoyment).  Cut the bottom off, peel off any outside layers that are looking a little rough, and slice lengthwise into quarters.  There is a hard, fibrous center which you’ll also want to cut out- similar to the core which you will remove from your cabbage.  Slice the fennel finely and add to a large bowl.

chopped

Go ahead and slice the cabbage and bell pepper and add those, along with your Thai Basil.  Thai Basil is an herb I’ve been using a lot lately- because I’m addicted to the taste, and I happen to have a large quantity of it growing in my backyard.  If you can’t find it in your area, feel free to substitute another fresh herb that you love.  Half the fun of cooking is experimenting, so don’t be afraid to change up recipes and come up with your own along the way.

dressing

To make the dressing, combine all ingredients and whisk together until smooth.  If tahini is not a part of your life yet, I’d strongly suggest you get to know each other.  You won’t be sorry.

If you don’t happen to have a can of coconut milk on hand, please don’t go to all the trouble of buying one just for 1 tablespoon (even though I would recommend you finding a place in your life for coconut milk, as well).  You can sub a tablespoon of sour cream or yogurt until you start stocking unreasonable amounts of coconut milk in your home, like I do.

slaw close up

Drizzle the dressing over the veggies and add in the raisins and cashews (you better have at least a few left!) Toss to coat.  I like to add in few sprigs from the fennel fronds, because, they’re pretty.  We eat with our eyes first, don’t we?

slaw2

You can serve this slaw as a side, or be really popular by showing up to a barbecue with it.  We turned the leftovers into a full meal by adding some grilled chicken and feta.  You could throw in some beans if you want to keep it veggie.

slaw serve

Don’t all those veggies look so relieved not to have wilted away, lonely and forgotten in the back of the fridge?

slaw3

slaw4

Rescuing forgotten vegetables never tasted so good.

Summer Slaw with Tahini Lime Coconut Dressing and Curried Cashews
Serves 4
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For the slaw
  1. head of fennel
  2. 1/4 head purple cabbage
  3. yellow bell pepper
  4. 1/2 cup thai basil
  5. 1/4 cup raisins
For the curried cashews
  1. 1 cup raw, unsalted cashews
  2. 1 tbs coconut oil
  3. 1.5 tsp curry
  4. 1/4 tsp each paprika, chili powder, turmeric powder
  5. squeeze of lime
For the dressing
  1. 2 tbs tahini
  2. juice of 1/2 a lime
  3. tsp honey
  4. tsp sea salt
  5. inch of fresh grated ginger
  6. tbs coconut milk
  7. pepper to taste
Instructions
  1. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.  While you wait, melt the coconut oil in a pan and add the spices and squeeze of lime. Add your cashews, giving them a good coating, and transfer them to a lined baking sheet.  Pop the nuts into the oven for 10-15 minutes, checking every 5 to stir and make sure no one is getting too toasty.  Remove and let cool.
  2. Next you'll want to remove the stalks, or fronds, which are inedible. Cut the bottom off, peel off any outside layers that are looking a little rough, and slice lengthwise into quarters. Slice the fennel finely and add to a large bowl.
  3. Slice the cabbage and bell pepper and add those, along with your Thai Basil.
  4. Combine all ingredients for dressing and whisk together until smooth.  .
  5. Drizzle the dressing over the veggies and add in the raisins and cashews. Toss to coat.
Notes
  1. a tablespoon of sour cream or yogurt can be subbed for coconut milk
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