Summer Salads: Jalapeno Coleslaw

Summer’s here, they say, and so it’s time to start having some summer salads made up in the fridge for a quick and easy meal solution.

During the summer I’ll have a running buffet of salad items in the fridge.  As I finish one item I’ll make another.  When you live alone you can’t have everything all the time, so keeping a running buffet with new items being added every two days or so means I get variety, so it’s not boring.  The secret is to never replace something you’ve used up with the same item next time.

Yesterday I made a quick cheats jalapeno coleslaw to add into the mix as it’s a bank holiday weekend and the sun’s already shining here (yesterday started out like that, then it tipped it down though!)

Cheats Jalapeno Coleslaw, Summer Salad Idea:


  • 1 small tub (250grams) of coleslaw, bought from the supermarket – yes, you can make your own by grating cabbage and carrot and adding in some onion and mayonnaise, but for small quantities it can just “hit the spot” by buying it in! NOTE: You can double this recipe, it’s fully scalable to any quantity.
  • 1 jalapeno pepper – these are the hot ones, washed/wiped and dried, use 2 if you like it HOT
  • 1 teaspoon Cayenne pepper – this is a type of chilli pepper spice

Method:Cheats Jalapeno Coleslaw Summer Salads

  1. Carefully make a “well” in the middle of the tub of coleslaw – or you can tip it out into a larger bowl if you’re a bit of a mucky worker.
  2. Grate the jalapeno pepper directly into the coleslaw, using a spoon every now and again to mix it in until it’s all been grated in and combined.
  3. Make another “well” in the middle of the coleslaw and add the cayenne pepper, then mix it through, thoroughly.
  4. Taste/test and add a little more cayenne or jalapeno if you wish. This is all about how YOU like it.
  5. Replace the lid on the tub and return it to the fridge – you can eat this straight away if you wish, but the flavours improve and develop over the next 1-2 days, so it just gets better.  This will last as long as the original coleslaw pack said as the best before date.

How to Use Jalapeno Coleslaw:

Apart from the obvious answer of just spooning a pile onto the side of your salad bowl, I’ll typically use it:

  • As a jalapeno coleslaw sandwich filling, either alone or with other salad items such as a sliced boiled egg
  • As a jalepeno pasta salad, adding a couple of spoons of the coleslaw to some cooked/cooled and dressed (oiled) pasta.
  • As a jacket potato topping – this is really tasty!

Summer Salad Running Buffet:

Adding this jalapeno coleslaw to my fridge means my running buffet of grabbable salad items today includes: a boiled egg, grated cheese, egg & salad cream sandwich filler, cocktail sausages, red and yellow cherry tomatoes, miniature plum tomatoes and a simple potato salad.

I can also make some crisps in the microwave on demand as I’ve got fresh potatoes.

In the cupboard I’ve got pasta, so I can very quickly make up a simple pasta salad – and I might even use some of this jalapeno coleslaw to mix with cooked pasta to produce a simple, cold, Jalapeno Pasta Salad in the coming days.  I’ve also got couscous, which is a great “instant binder” to bring together a few of the other salad ingredients and make up a couscous salad.

It’s a balance between quantities, flexibility, shelf life.  Having the “building blocks” of salads to hand means every meal can be different, from having put a tiny amount of effort in up front.  The boiled eggs were made in my microwave boiled egg maker.  Three of the four I cooked became an egg/salad cream sandwich filler, which I potted up.

Other salad items that’ll appear/disappear from my fridge in the coming weeks will include chopped red/yellow/green peppers, carrot salad (grated carrot, juice, sultanas), herby potato salad, cucumber, crab sticks, corned beef, cold chicken, scotch eggs … the variations and combinations are endless, but it’s simply not possible to have everything available all the time (unless I eat twice as much!).

Retro foods: sometimes I’ll pick up a pack of luncheon meat, for me, luncheon meat was a salad staple at home, it’s fallen out of favour these days, but I do like to have a nostalgic pack of luncheon meat at least once a year.

Balance and Variety

Sometimes it’s hard to balance the quantities with having variety, but it’s a good feeling to open up the fridge and know you have some easy to eat fast foods that are quite healthy, coleslaw’s got carrots and cabbage in for starters, that’s 2 of the 5-a-day nailed without a thought!