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Time with my friends was the best possible therapy for this girl after an emotional week. I embraced the opportunity to have some time in my kitchen, chopping and cooking to make pretty, vibrantly-colored food for my West Coast family, hoping that I would get a smile or two for my efforts. I did. My veggie salads were a good addition to the table, already laden with grilled shrimp, tofu kebabs, two kinds of smoked ribs, garlicky corn, sweet potato and bean salad and balsamic strawberry cake at the housewarming/birthday party/Memorial Day barbecue on Sunday. It was a wonderful day.

I like to challenge myself to find new dishes to bring to these gatherings with our friends, both to keep things interesting and to broaden our culinary horizons, if you will. For a while, it seemed that I made the same potato salad every time, and though there is nothing wrong with my potato salad (if I do say so), it is fun to change things up. Some dishes have been received more excitedly than others; this weekend, I believe I found two winning recipes to add to my keeper collection. The first was a Moroccan carrot salad, which I will write about soon, I promise. The second was this mango slaw, a dish born from my love of cabbage slaw, a recipe I saw on a favorite blog of mine, and my recent obsession with mangoes.

I initially thought I was inventing a new version of slaw by adding mango but, silly me, there are lots of mango slaw recipes out there! The particular recipe I referenced is from smitten kitchen; if you are new to smitten kitchen, let me say again that this blog is an inspiration, one of my very favorites to read. I have so much fun coming up with new recipes all my own, but my second favorite thing is to find wonderful, inspiring recipes and make them my own, which is what I did here. I blended smitten kitchen’s gorgeous recipe with the ingredients I originally thought to use. I can’t wait to try her version with Napa cabbage and/or less-ripe mango someday; I used a ripe mango this time because it’s what I had on hand. Mango slaw is so delicious, the more ways to make it the better. It was beautiful on the plate, a good mix of sweet and tart, crunchy/crispy and soft. I highly recommend that you try this at your next barbecue for a refreshing change of pace.

Mango Slaw (inspired by smitten kitchen)

  • 4 T. fresh-squeezed lime juice (from 1 large lime)
  • 2 T. rice vinegar
  • 1 T. canola oil
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/4 tsp. red chili flakes
  • 1/8 tsp. fish sauce (optional)
  • half a medium head of red cabbage, sliced into thin, short lengths
  • 1 ripe mango, pitted, peeled and diced
  • half a bell pepper, diced
  • chiffonade of 6 fresh mint leaves (about 3 T.)
  • 3 T. sunflower seeds, toasted

The slaw is best when made about 30 mins. before serving; you can prepare your ingredients ahead of time, just keep the elements separate until then.

To make the dressing, whisk together the lime juice, rice vinegar, oil, salt, chili flakes and fish sauce, if using, in a small bowl. Set aside.

In a large bowl, combine the mango, bell pepper and cabbage. Add the mint leaves and dressing and toss lightly to mix. In a dry saute pan, toast the sunflower seeds over medium heat until they start to brown slightly and become fragrant. Scatter them over the top as garnish just before serving.

I realize now that my picture was taken before the sunflower seeds were added– it was gone before I thought to take another shot!