Are you looking for a festive, innovative Paleo dish to serve for your 4th of July celebration? Classic Independence Day fare usually consists of Neolithic foods, such as corn on the cob, baked beans, and artificially colored blue foods. However, natural red and blue colored foods, such as in this patriotic Paleo Independence Slaw, will brighten your buffet table and deliver a powerful punch to your taste buds. It is loaded with antioxidants, easy to make and it will compliment just about any main dish at your Independence Day BBQ.
Fruits and vegetables get their red, purple and blue hues from naturally occurring water-soluble pigments called anthocyanins, which are part of the flavonoid family. Research has shown that they contain antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial and anti-carcinogenic properties. In addition, anthocyanins positively affect the health of blood vessels, platelets and lipoproteins, as well as reduce the risk of coronary heart diseases.1 The intake of anthocyanin-rich foods has been shown to also reduce the incidence of cardiovascular disease, cancer, and hyperlipidemias.2
Truly blue pigments are actually quite rare, with borage flowers and the indigo milk cap mushroom being the two that can be eaten while maintaining their blue pigments.3 More typical is the color bluish-purple, which often results from the pH changes, due to the instability of the anthocyanins pigments.4 For example, red cabbage can turn bright red, purple, blue or dark blue-green depending on exposure to different acidity levels. To make a blue food dye, slice up red cabbage leaves and boil for 10-15 minutes. Although blueberries, a popular 4th of July staple appear blue when you pick them, they actually turn red-purple when they are crushed. The pigment in the skin is blue at a neutral pH, but turns red when exposed to the acid of the berries.5
Our Paleo Independence Slaw utilizes purple carrots for their bluish tint. Purple carrots were the dominating carrot variety until the 17th century.6 They contain the same bioavailability of beta-carotene as orange carrots,7 and contain 38–98 mg anthocyanin per 100 g weight.8 Red onion and red cabbage, that have been identified to have over 36 types of anthocyanins,9 are also used for their vibrant color. Jicama, rich in Vitamin C,10 provides a satisfying crunch to the slaw. Some of our other favorite foods for the holiday that can be incorporated into this raw slaw include red beets and tomatoes, as well as white cauliflower and parsnips.
There is more to explore with regards to Paleo red, white and blue foods beyond blueberries, strawberries, and whipped coconut cream. This vegetable slaw recipe will inspire you to expand the options at your summer celebration. Everyone will enjoy pairing it with grilled grass-fed meat or wild seafood, so I’d suggest you double or triple the recipe. It stores well up to a day in advance.
PALEO RED, WHITE AND BLUE SLAW
- 2-3 purple carrots (with the skin on)
- ½ head large red cabbage
- ½ jicama
- ½ small red onion
- 1 shallot finely minced
- 2 Tablespoons avocado oil
- 1 Tablespoon fresh lemon juice
- pepper to taste
 Mazza, Giuseppe. “Anthocyanins and heart health.” ANNALI-ISTITUTO SUPERIORE DI SANITA 43.4 (2007): 369.
 de Pascual-Teresa, Sonia, and Maria Teresa Sanchez-Ballesta. “Anthocyanins: from plant to health.” Phytochemistry reviews 7.2 (2008): 281-299.
 Available at: http://www.mushroomexpert.com/lactarius_indigo.html. Accessed on June 25, 2015.
 Fossen, Torgils, Luis Cabrita, and Oyvind M. Andersen. “Colour and stability of pure anthocyanins influenced by pH including the alkaline region.” Food Chemistry 63.4 (1998): 435-440.
 Brownmiller, C., L. R. Howard, and R. L. Prior. “Processing and storage effects on monomeric anthocyanins, percent polymeric color, and antioxidant capacity of processed blueberry products.” Journal of food science 73.5 (2008): H72-H79.
 Banga, O. “The development of the original European carrot material.”Euphytica 6.1 (1957): 64-76.
 Dosti, Mandy Porter, et al. “Bioavailability of β-carotene (βC) from purple carrots is the same as typical orange carrots while high-βC carrots increase βC stores in Mongolian gerbils (Meriones unguiculatus).” British journal of nutrition 96.02 (2006): 258-267.
 Lazcano, Carlos A., Kil Sun Yoo, and Leonard M. Pike. “A method for measuring anthocyanins after removing carotenes in purple colored carrots.”Scientia horticulturae 90.3 (2001): 321-324.
 Available at: http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/03/080307081409.htm. Accessed on June 25, 2015.
 Available at: http://nutritiondata.self.com/facts/vegetables-and-vegetable-products/2727/2. Accessed on June 25, 2015.