Play Live Radio
Next Up:
Available On Air Stations

Pickled Coleslaw

Pickled coleslaw
Deb Perelman for NPR /

This slaw was modeled after the Health Salad I fell in love with at Zabar's in New York six years ago. Once I realized my three weekly containers were cutting into my rent money, I tried to re-create it at home. Not only is it economical, like most pickled foods it gets better with age — crunchier, brighter and even more refreshing.

Makes 8 to 10 servings


1 1/2 cups distilled white vinegar

1 1/2 cups water

1/3 cup sugar

2 1/2 tablespoons kosher salt


1 small head green cabbage

1 red bell pepper, cored, seeded and thinly sliced into 1- to 2-inch pieces

1 carrot, peeled and very thinly sliced

1 kirby cucumber, thinly sliced

Bring brine ingredients to a boil in a 2-quart nonreactive saucepan over moderate heat, stirring until sugar is dissolved. (Use a pan of stainless steel, glass and enameled cast iron; avoid pure aluminum and uncoated iron, which can impart an unpleasant taste to recipes with acidic ingredients) Transfer to a 3- to 4-quart nonreactive bowl and cool completely. To speed this process up, you can set the bowl over a second bowl of ice water, and stir, which will quickly chill the brine.

Halve, core and halve again the head of cabbage, then finely slice it with a knife, or run the quarters through a food processor fitted with a slicing blade.

Toss sliced cabbage, bell pepper, carrot and cucumber in bowl with brine. Cover with lid or plastic wrap, and refrigerate, tossing the ingredients once or twice in a 24-hour period. After one day in the brine, the coleslaw is ready to serve. It keeps for up to 1 week, chilled.

Copyright 2023 NPR. To see more, visit