The Tangy Ingredient That Will Make Your Coleslaw Stand Out From The Rest

White bowl filled with coleslaw on brown table
White bowl filled with coleslaw on brown table - Etienne_outram/Getty Images

Coleslaw provides that tangy, creamy contrast of flavor and texture, whether it's on a barbecue plate, picnic platter, or bowl all its own. The crunch of raw, shredded cabbage plus the smoothness of creamy dressing and the puckering acidity of a splash of vinegar all make this dish perfect. If you really love that deep tangy flavor that the vinegar imparts, though, there are ways to double down and make it even more pronounced — all with the help of some pickles.

Adding chopped pickles and a splash of that pungent pickle juice into your coleslaw will elevate the dish with maximum tang and crunch, infusing each bite with flavor that both pickle lovers and classic coleslaw fans will adore. Whether you prefer dill, bread and butter, sour, or hot pickles, each of these varieties can be infused into your slaw to imbue a variety of different flavor profiles. Classic dill pickles make for an excellent standard, though, and that dilly taste can be augmented with a touch of fresh dill in the slaw mix as well.

Read more: 11 Of The Best Cooking Tips From Bobby Flay

Why Pickles Work For An Extra-Tangy Slaw

Pickle on fork held over pickle jar
Pickle on fork held over pickle jar - Kajakiki/Getty Images

While a "classic" coleslaw doesn't involve pickles, it's a dish that's certainly pickle-adjacent — at least in terms of having an acidic, vinegary flavor profile. Vinegar has long been an ingredient in classic coleslaw dishes; the first instances of a similar dish can even be traced back to the Romans, with the ancient variation containing cabbage and vinegar (mixed with other ingredients, too, such as eggs). Some coleslaw recipes even forego the mayo for a more vinegar-centric dressing though typically stopping short of full-on pickling, which begets something more akin to sauerkraut.

Vinegar, likewise, is the main ingredient in the liquid that most pickles are born from — so combining the two just makes sense. Pickle juice, after all, is simply a more flavorful sort of vinegar, infused with extra seasonings and the vegetal flavor of the cucumbers or other veggies that have soaked in it. Adding chopped pickle pieces directly into the coleslaw also adds a variation in mouthfeel, providing a different sort of crispness as compared to the shredded cabbage. This combination also helps balance out the richness of main dish foods coleslaw is often paired with, such as smoked, fatty meats.

Other Tangy Ingredients To Add To Your Favorite Coleslaw

Bowl of coleslaw on gray background with fork
Bowl of coleslaw on gray background with fork - NatalyaBond/Shutterstock

Not everyone is the biggest fan of pickles. If that's you and you still want more tang in your coleslaw, there are other ingredients that will punch up a the dish in a similar way. One tangy ingredient that works brilliantly in slaw is apples, especially green apples. The tartness and crunch of the fruit, sliced thin just like the shredded cabbage, works in perfect harmony to create a dish that's equal parts light and flavorful. Sometimes nuts such as slivered almonds can accompany the dish for even more texture variation, alongside dried fruits like cranberries for another tart-sweet boost.

Or, if you like your coleslaw extra-creamy, try using buttermillk to add both a smoothness and a tang. Buttermilk has that natural sour, fermented flavor that imparts big, complex taste to the finished dish. The results are a deeply creamy, dairy-forward slaw that would pair well with the crunchy exterior of something fried.

Read the original article on Daily Meal.