Crack Slaw or Deconstructed Egg Roll Recipe

What in the wide, wide world of sports is “Crack Slaw”?  It is easy meal to make that is healthy and delicious.  Comprised of whatever vegetables you desire, shredded cabbage mix, and your choice of ground beef, pork or turkey, it’s a breeze and can be dressed-up to suit many individual tastes.  I’ve actually also heard it called a deconstructed egg roll and other such things. I have a tendency to turn to this when I am tired of my standard formula and just want something different. 

The nice thing about crack slaw is there is virtually no wrong way to make this meal.  It’s completely open to interpretation and makes a nice home for your favorite vegetables – or in my case, whatever I happen to have around the house that needs to get used up! 

For the protein, I have used either hamburger, ground pork, ground pork sausage, or ground turkey.  All of it works great.  For vegetables, you can, of course, choose whatever you wish.  I often choose onion, scallions, sliced sweet peppers, or bell peppers, broccoli, cauliflower, cucumber mushrooms, yellow squash and zucchini.  Don’t be afraid to try fennel, shallots or especially leeks.  Those of you who are not fans of the onion family can also try carrots prepared Julienne style, radishes or tomato.


Ground beef – use 1 pound or 1.5 pounds. …it all depends on who you are cooking for.  

1 bag of Cole Slaw mix.  To be clear, I am talking about the bag of dry mix that you get in grocery stores – not prepared cole slaw with the dressing already applied. 

Whatever vegetables you want, in whatever quantity.  For the purpose of this recipe, I will use: 

1 White Onion

Scallions, 1 bunch

Sweet peppers, 4-6.

½ of a yellow squash

½ of a zucchini

Sliced Mushrooms, 8 ounces

3 cloves garlic


Salt (optional)

Ozark seasoning from penzeys (optional) 

Siracha, 1 tablespoon

Low sodium soy sauce and/or rice vinegar

Sesame oil (optional)

For dressing the final product, I generally have available peanut sauce, hoison sauce, sweet and sour sauce, sweet chili sauce, wanton strips, chow mein noodles, etc. 


  1. Start by heating up your pan to medium high.  When it has reached temperature, put the ground beef in and sautee.  If you are using ground turkey or 93% lean ground beef, you may want to add just a bit of olive oil or sesame oil to the pan for this.   Season the ground beef as you sautee with salt, pepper, Ozark seasoning – or whatever you choose.

2. Once the ground beef is done, remove from the pan and reserve to the side. 

ground beef

3. Add a little bit (like 1 tablespoon) of sesame oil to the same pan and put in the vegetables. Place onion mushrooms, squash, zucchini, and garlic in the pan.  Do NOT put in the scallions yet.  Sautee the vegetables until they just a tiny bit al-dente. 

veggies in pan

4. Move the vegetables to the side and put the entire bag of cole slaw mix in the same pan.  Add in the tablespoon of siracha.  When I do this, I never measure, I just use the squeeze bottle and do 1.5 circuits of the pan.  Mix this in thoroughly as the cabbage as you sautée.  

5. Next add the low sodium soy sauce and/or rice vinegar.  This adds some flavor to the cole slaw, but I also use it to deglaze the pan while cooking.  You don’t need much …I would say a tablespoon or slightly less will do.  Then use your spatula to work it in and scrape up any bits of ground beef off the bottom of the pan and work in to the vegetable mix. 

6. Once the cabbage begins to soften, re-introduce the ground beef to the pan. 

Crack Slaw finish

7. As the entire mix finishes, and the ground beef heats up – you have a choice to make.  You can either add in the scallions now or reserve them as garnish for the end of the meal.  I’ve done it both ways – and honestly, it looks better as garnish. 

8. Once the entire dish is back up to temp and cooked to your taste, turn off the heat and dish up!  


Serving this dish is, again, something entirely up to you.  You can sprinkle chow mein noodles or won ton strips on the plate, then spoon over the mix, and garnish with scallions.  Finally, add whatever sauce you want to complete the meal.   As a final note, be wary of the calories in the sauce.  They can really add up if you are not careful.  The meal, as depicted has hoison sauce and a dash of sweet chili sauce added. 


Pro tip: 

If using ground beef, go for 85% lean.  It’s a bit cheaper, often and it has the added bonus of not needing oil as a cooking medium. The fat from ground beef is enough to cook the meat, and often for the vegetables as well.  

Season the meat and vegetables with your choice.  I use the Ozark seasoning from Penzey’s a fair bit for this, but also good is the Bavarian seasoning mix as well. Also, several Asian spice selections are excellent choices.  Consider ground ginger and sea salt also.   This is one of those dishes that is made by the seasonings you choose, so don’t be afraid to mix it up. Go for something more mainstream one night, and very Asian the next.  It’s flexible.  


Since there are SO many options on how to make this – if you use common sense as to the amount of sauces with which you dress the meal, you can count on the calories being around 200-250 calories per cup.  Therefore, if you have 2-3 cups you are right in the ballpark for a 600 calorie meal. 

For more information on developing health eating fundamentals, check out my article on diet fundamentals here.

2 Responses

  • Lani

    We love this too, and it’s fun playing with different variations of it. It’s a great quick easy calorie conscious meal!!

    • That’s awesome! I honestly don’t remember if I stol…errr “borrowed” this from you or Linnea! lol But I love playing with this recipe too – it’s become my catch-all for using up veggies before they go bad!


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *