Mexican-Style Slaw – when a Side Becomes More than an Afterthought

Sometimes sides are merely an afterthought…like a mismatched scarf thrown on last minute when you realize it’s windy and you’re late getting your toddler off to school. Then there are times when that Hermes scarf takes your simple black sheath to a whole other level. Not that I’m calling this Mexican-styled slaw Hermes, but you get the gist.

The other day, Andrew came back from Whole Foods with their Habanero and Green Chile Pork Sausage. You probably already know about my endless affinity for green chiles – if not, now you do. Well, there’s countless things I could have done with these yummy tubes of heaven, but I was craving something clean to offset the hefty weight of the sausage and I decided to craft a slaw to suit. What transpired was a recipe that I will use again and again – on fajitas, with fish tacos, on banana leaf-wrapped sea bass – the list goes on. It’s pure, accidental magic. So…




  • 1/8 cup sherry vinegar
  • juice of ½ lemon
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil (cold pressed)
  • 1/2 Tb honey
  • 1/2 t ground cumin
  • 1/4 t rubbed sage
  • 1/2 t sea salt


  • ½ head of cabbage, in thin 1-inch slices
  • 2 roasted poblano peppers (or hatch green chiles if available), in thin 1-inch slices
  • 1 roasted hot Anaheim pepper, in thin 1-inch slices
  • 1/4 bunch of fresh cilantro, chopped
  • 1 t cumin seed
  • freshly cracked black pepper, to taste

First, roast the peppers under the broiler in the oven on both sides. When the skin is puckered and starting to blacken in spots, pull them out, slide the skin off then chop. Layer the fresh cabbage strips, peppers, cumin seed, black pepper and cilantro then drizzle with dressing. Let this mixture rest for at least half an hour before serving, if possible.