Beets make for an unexpected star in this vibrant slaw, and a tahini dressing blended with lime and garlic is far from traditional. The result: layers of sweetness and saltiness, brightness and richness, and contrasting textures. Each component can be made ahead of time and tossed together before serving.
Place the beets in a medium saucepan with enough water to cover. Add the vinegar, garlic, bay leaf, and salt, and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer, partially covered, until the beets are tender, 35 to 50 minutes. Let cool, then trim the stem ends and peel.
In a medium bowl, grate the beets against the large holes of a box grater, and set aside.
In a medium bowl, combine the maple syrup and salt. Heat a medium skillet over medium-low heat. Add the cashews and toast until golden and browning, stirring frequently, about 4 minutes. Add the sesame seeds and toast until fragrant, stirring constantly, 30 to 60 seconds. Working quickly, transfer the cashews and sesame seeds to the bowl and toss to coat. Return the nut mixture to the pan and toast, stirring constantly, until the maple coating turns slightly golden and fragrant, about 60 seconds more. Spread on a parchment-lined baking sheet, and let cool completely. Chop enough to yield about 1/2 cup.
In a medium bowl, combine the lime juice, garlic, cumin, salt, red pepper flakes, and brown sugar. Let stand 10 minutes. Whisk in the tahini and 2 Tbs. water. Continue to thin the dressing with water if needed, adding 1 Tbs. at a time, up to 1/3 cup total.
Toss the beets in about 1/4 cup of the dressing to coat evenly.
In a large bowl, combine the cabbage, scallions, mint, and sesame seeds. Toss with another 1/4 cup of dressing until well coated. Add the beets and toss again. Season with salt to taste, and add more dressing if desired. Before serving, add the chopped cashews and toss to combine. Transfer the slaw to a shallow serving bowl, and top with a generous sprinkle of sesame seeds, cashews, and additional mint leaves. Serve with additional dressing on the side.
Make ahead: Refrigerate up to 3 days. Toss with a little reserved dressing, cashews, and fresh mint to serve.
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