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Coleslaw Sans Sugar?

MsCzarMsCzar Member Posts: 514 Member Member Posts: 514 Member
in Recipes
I've got carrots, onions and cabbage. Has anyone here ever successfully substituted monkfruit (or similar) for white sugar when making coleslaw? Or is real sugar necessary chemically to break down the veggie fibers? Is it worth even trying to make the swap?

Extra points for great slaw recipes! ❤️

Replies

  • goal06082021goal06082021 Member Posts: 1,323 Member Member Posts: 1,323 Member
    You could try a vinegar-based coleslaw, like this one/ - the dressing recipe calls for a tbsp or two of maple syrup but tbh you can use less or even leave it out entirely. Last time I made it I used maybe a teaspoon, teaspoon and a half, and it was still just a little bit sweeter than I would have liked. I don't think the sugar does anything chemically to the vegetables in a coleslaw. Then again, I'm not a food scientist OR a particularly big fan of coleslaw in general. It's weird because I like all of the ingredients individually, but the Venn diagram of good combinations of cabbage, mayonnaise, and sugar for me is three circles each ten miles apart, I guess.
  • AnnPT77AnnPT77 Member, Premium Posts: 20,833 Member Member, Premium Posts: 20,833 Member
    People put sugar in it? 😮 (I'm joking. I know it's traditional.)

    Personally, I'm not a sweetness enthusiast so much, so it's fine with me with vinegar diluted to the right tartness with water. Salt will soften the veggies fine. I'd guess that they'd soften all on their own in the vinegar, with some soak time, if you avoid salt, but I'm impatient (and like salt). Personally, I don't like monkfruit (weird aftertaste, to me), so I'd use a little sugar if I wanted sweetness. But if you like monkfruit, why not try it? What's the worst that could happen? You could always make a sample-sized portion, try it, before committing all of your shredded cabbage and such.

    I'm good with a creamy coleslaw made with non-fat Greek yogurt, salt, celery seed, etc., too, personally.

    YMMV.
  • penguinmama87penguinmama87 Member, Premium Posts: 721 Member Member, Premium Posts: 721 Member
    I am a big fan of vinegar-based dressings for coleslaw! It's what's more typical around here in both restaurants and homemade. I often use just a smidge of sugar or maple syrup to make the acid taste a little less harsh, but for most recipes that call for sugar you really don't need to use as much as they call for, not even close.

    When I make salad dressings that call for mayo, I often substitute plain yogurt with no issues.
  • AnnPT77AnnPT77 Member, Premium Posts: 20,833 Member Member, Premium Posts: 20,833 Member
    P.S. When I make traditional creamy slaw with mayo - my BIL likes it, so I do it for holidays sometimes - I shred up a tart apple (like Granny Smith) with the cabbage and carrots. It adds some sweetness and acid at the same time. That, with adjusted vinegar, or maybe even a sweeter apple with vinegar, could be an option, too.
  • MsCzarMsCzar Member Posts: 514 Member Member Posts: 514 Member
    AnnPT77 wrote: »
    P.S. I shred up a tart apple (like Granny Smith) with the cabbage and carrots. It adds some sweetness and acid at the same time. That, with adjusted vinegar, or maybe even a sweeter apple with vinegar, could be an option, too.

    Hmmm. I happen to have some tart Pink Lady apples on hand right now. Not sure about the Greek yogurt. I love it, but not in egg or tuna salad; so I don't think I'd like it in slaw. Mayo it will be! I have Lakanto monkfruit with erythritol which doesn't have an aftertaste - but isn't as sweet as sugar.
  • AnnPT77AnnPT77 Member, Premium Posts: 20,833 Member Member, Premium Posts: 20,833 Member
    MsCzar wrote: »
    AnnPT77 wrote: »
    P.S. I shred up a tart apple (like Granny Smith) with the cabbage and carrots. It adds some sweetness and acid at the same time. That, with adjusted vinegar, or maybe even a sweeter apple with vinegar, could be an option, too.

    Hmmm. I happen to have some tart Pink Lady apples on hand right now. Not sure about the Greek yogurt. I love it, but not in egg or tuna salad; so I don't think I'd like it in slaw. Mayo it will be! I have Lakanto monkfruit with erythritol which doesn't have an aftertaste - but isn't as sweet as sugar.

    I think the aftertaste may be individual. Dunno why.

    By coincidence, day before yesterday I had a conversation with a close friend at her house, about monkfruit as a sweetener. She was surprised to hear that I thought it tasted odd, even unpleasant, and not like sugar, to me. We both tasted the same granulated monkfruit product (not sure of the product formulation), right then. She thought it tasted just like sugar, had no different aftertaste. I found it vaguely sweet, but not really sugar-like in some indescribable way (sort of thin, somehow?), and that after the sweetness disappeared, there was an unpleasant bitter taste.

    Imagination? Possible. Genetic difference in taste receptors (as for cilantro, in some)? Possible. Don't know, don't care. Not being a mega-sweetness-lover, I'm fine with sugar, honey, maple syrup, blackstrap molasses, apple juice concentrate, or fruit when I want a little added sweetness in some dish. The calorie difference is trivial. I'm not going to tell anyone else what to like, so if monkfruit in any variation works for you, I think that's great.

    P.S. I haven't had tuna - at least not intentionally - since 1974. I don't think I'd like tuna salad with yogurt, though. To me, it's fine in egg salad or deviled eggs, but I do like yogurt *a lot*, and I don't like either egg salad or deviled eggs very goopy, so the amount is very minimal. My mother made deviled eggs very light, fluffy, with the absolute minimum of mayo to cohere. Many of my friends will make them much softer, much more mayo, kind of salve-y, soft enough to pipe into the eggs from a pastry bag or the like. I eat them happily enough that way, but not how I make them by preference.

    Try the apples, maybe in a single-serve sample: You might like it. Like I said: What's the worst that could happen? That's kind of my mantra, for cooking experiments. It's vanishingly rare that I try something so horrifying that I can't stand to eat it once, reasonably happily, even if it isn't my ideal. 🤷‍♀️
  • allybevlopezallybevlopez Member, Premium Posts: 1 Member Member, Premium Posts: 1 Member
    If you want a Southern coleslaw, just use the sugar. You can use a little less and get it to come out good. Cut the calories by using light mayo or part mayo and part sour cream. Actually, the caterer for my wedding adds corn kernels to his slaw for the sweetness so he can add less sugar. So there's an idea, though I think it may come out the same calorically.


    Taco slaw, I tend to just use some sort of prepackaged salad dressing like Bitten brand Lime Avocado dressing. I'll add a bit of unseasoned rice vinegar or some white balsamic to thin it out a bit.


    I really treat my "Asian slaw" more like quick-pickled veggies. Half the acid from some "lite" seasoned rice vinegar, half the acid from some lime, bit of extra sugar if it needs it. Zest of the lime, some sriracha salt, some normal salt.


    Oh, and on the not liking Greek yogurt in tuna salad, I find that cottage cheese works oddly well substituting for most of the mayo in tuna salad. YMMV, the original recipe I found pureed it but I don't bother because lazy.
  • BarbaraHelen2013BarbaraHelen2013 Member Posts: 1,604 Member Member Posts: 1,604 Member
    I’m blown away that people put sugar in Coleslaw, if I’m honest! 😂 Don’t think I’ve ever looked at a recipe for coleslaw though, so maybe some include it. 🤷‍♀️ Don’t think it’s traditional in the UK to add it, certainly never had a sweet coleslaw.

    Cabbage - red, white or both, carrots, onion - either red or spring or both, Skyr with a good splash of white wine vinegar, Dijon, celery seeds, salt & pepper.

    Variations/additions have included Apple, pineapple, celery, parsley, sometimes I’ll use half Skyr, half 0% fat cottage cheese (whizzed smooth)
  • MsCzarMsCzar Member Posts: 514 Member Member Posts: 514 Member
    Well this should be interesting. I have shredded cabbage, onions and carrots weighted and marinading in rice wine vinegar, kosher salt, white pepper and... watermelon juice! I was wanting to try a traditional southern creamy slaw with mayo (never made one) - but if this turns out edible as-is, that may wait. But I'll still try adding a wee bit of mayo to a single serving just to try.
  • AnnPT77AnnPT77 Member, Premium Posts: 20,833 Member Member, Premium Posts: 20,833 Member
    MsCzar wrote: »
    Well this should be interesting. I have shredded cabbage, onions and carrots weighted and marinading in rice wine vinegar, kosher salt, white pepper and... watermelon juice! I was wanting to try a traditional southern creamy slaw with mayo (never made one) - but if this turns out edible as-is, that may wait. But I'll still try adding a wee bit of mayo to a single serving just to try.

    Watermelon juice wouldn't have occurred to me - interesting! Do report back with what you think, OK?
  • MsCzarMsCzar Member Posts: 514 Member Member Posts: 514 Member
    Update:
    After unintentionally marinading the slaw for three days (I just got super busy) - it was pretty darn good as is. The watermelon juice didn't add as much sweetness as I would have thought. So to half of it (about a cup), I added a few drops of sesame oil and some diced pickled ginger for an Asian twist that went well with the light notes of the rice wine vinegar. Yum!

    Then with the other half, I added 15ml of mayo along with 2t monkfruit for a more traditional American southern slaw. Also very good. I think I'll be making both versions more often and am planning to try pineapple juice and those apples mentioned up-thread.

  • AnnPT77AnnPT77 Member, Premium Posts: 20,833 Member Member, Premium Posts: 20,833 Member
    MsCzar wrote: »
    Update:
    After unintentionally marinading the slaw for three days (I just got super busy) - it was pretty darn good as is. The watermelon juice didn't add as much sweetness as I would have thought. So to half of it (about a cup), I added a few drops of sesame oil and some diced pickled ginger for an Asian twist that went well with the light notes of the rice wine vinegar. Yum!

    Then with the other half, I added 15ml of mayo along with 2t monkfruit for a more traditional American southern slaw. Also very good. I think I'll be making both versions more often and am planning to try pineapple juice and those apples mentioned up-thread.

    Thanks for reporting back: That Asian twist version sounds especially tasty!
  • MsCzarMsCzar Member Posts: 514 Member Member Posts: 514 Member
    It was! The peas are coming in now in my garden - not yet enough for a proper 'serving,' but enough to add to an Asian-inspired slaw. While both versions were very tasty, the Southern version had an extra 90 calories I could probably do without.
  • Ara_the_halfelvenAra_the_halfelven Member Posts: 21 Member Member Posts: 21 Member
    MsCzar wrote: »
    I've got carrots, onions and cabbage. Has anyone here ever successfully substituted monkfruit (or similar) for white sugar when making coleslaw? Or is real sugar necessary chemically to break down the veggie fibers? Is it worth even trying to make the swap?

    Extra points for great slaw recipes! ❤️

    What are you putting sugar in it for? The very idea turns my stomach. You don't need any sweetener, traditional coleslaw is just shredded cabbage, shredded, carrot and mayonnaise. For the mayonnaise I like to make it myself, it tastes much better than store bought, & its easy enough using a stickblender - check out I use just olive oil, eggs, vinegar, salt, pepper & mustard.
  • cymande1961cymande1961 Member, Premium Posts: 35 Member Member, Premium Posts: 35 Member
    I've never seen a cole slaw recipe that did not have something in it to sweeten it - usually sugar. However, I agree with everyone else: you need VERY little sugar to make coleslaw. A lot less than most recipes call for. I have a recipe in which I substitute 1tbsp honey for granulated sugar, and use only 1/4 cup mayonnaise and 1/4 cup Fage 0% greek yogurt and use apple cider vinegar instead of white or white wine vinegar. Entire thing ends up at 65 cal/serving according to MyFitnessPal. I'll take it, especially since it's delish!
    edited June 4
  • MsCzarMsCzar Member Posts: 514 Member Member Posts: 514 Member
    Anyone who has ever had American chain restaurant coleslaw (Bob Evans, KFC, Long John Silver) knows that the stuff has so much sugar added that it can practically be considered a dessert!

    cymande1961 - I think I'll try using the apple cider vinegar when I try adding the slivered apples. Looks like this is going to be the Summer of Slaw at my house! 😁
    edited June 4
  • goal06082021goal06082021 Member Posts: 1,323 Member Member Posts: 1,323 Member
    I made the slaw recipe I linked way up there and put just a tsp of honey in the dressing rather than a full tbsp or two of maple syrup. It was delicious, a little spicy and a pleasant shift away from the gloopy monstrosity that is traditional mayo-based coleslaw.
  • MsCzarMsCzar Member Posts: 514 Member Member Posts: 514 Member
    I'm never sure where coleslaw ends and salad with cabbage begins. Probably not true -but I tend to think that as soon as olive oil dressing is involved - it's a salad. Not a huge fan of maple syrup on anything other than French toast and pancakes - but I love the honey and jalapeño idea! I'll definitely try it. Thanks!
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