Tangy cumin-lime coleslaw

A fork lifts a bite of cole slaw off of a white plate. You can see what looks like a hamburger out of focus in the background.

I feel like everything I write about here is kind of a project – I guess I like complications. Which is all fine and well, until it stops me from sharing the simple recipes I make all the time.

Like this coleslaw. 

It’s one of the first recipes I remember deliberately setting out to create just for myself. I was making fish tacos for my family at the lakehouse, and I knew I wanted to top them with slaw – but there was a tiny problem. 

I don’t really like slaw. 

All the ingredients for the cumin-lime coleslaw piled together on a marble counter in front of a white subway tile background.

The problem with coleslaw

Humans have been making cabbage-based salads since at least the time of Ancient Rome (and probably earlier – we have a recipe for a cabbage salad dressed with honey vinegar and spices recorded by Mnesitheus, an Athenian medical writer, sometime during the 4th century BC). And Irma S. Rombauer records at least six different recipes for slaw in The Joy of Cooking – and the only common thread between them is the inclusion of raw cabbage. 


Never-mushy black bean burgers

An assembled black bean burger in a bun sits on a white plate. You can see what looks like cole slaw out of focus on the plate in the background, with ketchup and mustard bottles in the top right of the frame.

My college roommate gets me. I know this because they put up with me talking to them while gesturing absentmindedly with knives for four years, but more relevantly to this blog, at least, because they sent me a Snapchat of a black bean burger they had been playing with.

They told me that it was their latest and most successful attempt to come up with a not-mushy bean burger – and that’s exactly the sort of problem I find irresistible. 

We spent the next couple of minutes batting ideas back and forth, and then the challenge took up permanent residence in the back of my brain and wouldn’t leave until I took a stab at it. 

An overhead view of all the ingredients in the black bean burgers

Which, of course, moved this recipe to the top of my “make this next” list. 


Jessi Spell

A culinary degree and two years of professional experience has not stopped Jessi from making stupid mistakes – she just makes them more efficiently. She habitually reads cookbooks before bed, loses track of time on Wikipedia, and yells at cooking shows like dads watching football. She lives in Brooklyn with her husband Jackson, five plants, and more cookbooks than a 600 square foot studio should hold.


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