Light & Sassy Cole Slaw. Seed Maple Tempeh Cubes.

My Light & Sassy Vegan Cole Slaw tastes just like it sounds! Crunchy, zesty, packed with layers of fresh green cabbage flavor mingling with citrus, tahini, tart apple, cashew, maple and cider & rice vinegar. Sometimes I let my cravings craft the recipe - and I am just a helpless pawn chopping away. This was one of those times.

Big Bowl of Cole Slaw. I had a craving to dive into a refreshing bowl of cabbage slaw - and this recipe was the perfect match. I didn't want a tiny scoop of "side cole slaw" - you know the ultra-creamy, can only eat a few bites of the stuff, kind. I wanted an entire bowl-ful of marinated, zesty cabbage goodness. Perfection. Try my recipe - with a garnish of Sesame-Maple Tempeh Cubes (and my quick food photography quip about the importance of natural light)...

Enjoy Now or Later.
This recipe is perfect made/eaten on the spot - or even left in the fridge overnight. After a night in the fridge, the onions pickle a bit and the cabbage infuses with flavor. The slaw becomes less crisp - but still quite yummy. I had the slaw leftovers for breakfast the next morning. Veggies for breakfast?? Oh yes, it's all the rage, ya know.

Quickie Food Photography Lesson..

So I made this recipe in the evening. And I really wasn't sure if there would be many leftovers (or how the cabbage would visually hold up overnight) to photo shoot the next day in natural light. So I grabbed my camera and started snapping away in the horrid, orange-tinted, yellowish-light of the artificially-lit kitchen. Snap, snap, snap. I knew these photos wouldn't do the Cole Slaw justice, but I decided to take - and edit a few pics just in case. So here they are. They are not "bad photos" but you can certainly see the difference in color tone and clarity...

NOT natural lighting...

So the next day I had a few leftovers to photograph - although the cabbage was less light and airy (not as photogenic as the night before) - and more marinated and 'pickled' from chilling in the fridge overnight. While not perfect shooting conditions either, you can see the difference in the natural light photos...

Natural Lighting...

So the lesson (which is probably not new to you guys) is that when working with food photography - unless you have a pimped-out food photography studio with expensive lighting and gadgets galore - natural light is going to be your best bet. In fact, I know plenty of food photographers who have access to a pimped-out photo studio and still prefer the simplicity and elegance of natural light coming in from a window and onto a table.

Window Lighting Tip! One tip with natural light from windows - if you have curtains on them (even transluscent, silky cutains) make sure they are white in color. The last thing you want is to have beige or gold-colored curtains tinting your crisp clear, white natural light a yellow-ish color. I actually added some silky see-through white curtains to my windows to give the natural light I work with a muted tone - and a bright, crisp filter.

Tempeh Pairing. I paired this salad with a garnish of red roasted peppers and Sesame-Maple Tempeh Cubes (aka, croutons). I added the recipe below for you as well!

OK, enough ogling, onto the recipe!...

Light & Sassy Vegan Cole Slaw
vegan, makes 15 cups (once marinated)

1 head of green cabbage, organic, chopped into thin strands (about 20 cups, loosely packed)
1 small white onion, thinly sliced
1 crisp/tart apple, thinly sliced (fuji, green or braeburn are good options)
1/4 cup seasoned rice vinegar
1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
1/2 lemon, squeezed
1 tsp orange zest
1 large orange, de-seeded, peeled and diced
2 tsp coriander
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp freshly ground black pepper
2 Tbsp fruity extra virgin olive oil
3-4 Tbsp tahini
1 Tbsp maple syrup
1/2 cup whole cashews, roasted/salted
1/2 cup sunflower seeds, roasted/unsalted

1 extra large mixing bowl (or halve recipe and toss in batches)

Sesame-Maple Tempeh Cubes
makes 2 cups

1 package tempeh, cut into cubes
2 Tbsp EVOO
2 Tbsp apple cider vinegar
2 Tbsp seasoned rice vinegar
1 Tbsp maple syrup
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
1 tsp liquid smoke
1/4 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp chili powder or cumin (optional)
1 tsp nutritional yeast (optional)
2 Tbsp water or orange juice (add mid-saute)
1 tbsp sesame seeds (garnish)


1. Prep all your ingredients.

2. Cole Slaw is simple: get an extra large bowl and toss all ingredients very well. The volume will reduce as the liquids absorb into the cabbage. Store in the fridge until ready to serve.

3. The tempeh is also simple. Add all ingredients (except sesame seeds, pepper, extra water/OJ, and optional spices) to skillet. Saute on med-high until liquids are absorbed and browning begins. Usually 2-3 minutes.

4. Add in the water or OJ (nice burst of steam should occur when added) - this will steam the tempeh and moisten it a bit. Toss tempeh in pan with the additional optional spices. I also like to add an extra splash of vinegar right at the end to deglaze the pan. Remove from heat, toss tempeh with sesame seeds and pepper - serve. Salt to taste - after tasting your finished cubes.

More (icky-lighting photos)...

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