Home Cooking

Slaws - the single's secret weapon

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Slaws - the single's secret weapon

greygarious | Mar 18, 2014 02:34 PM

Though I've seen plenty of ideas and recipes for slaws on CH, I can't find any mention of how useful they are in the everyday food repertoire, particularly if you are rushed at mealtimes, and/or cook for only one or two. I do make standard coleslaw now and then, and I love cabbage, but I usually have it in other ways. Any vegetable that is reasonably firm, and can be eaten raw, can be used in slaw. I just heard about TJ's new Cruciferous Crunch Collection and will get some for my next slawmaking endeavor.

I am partial to just water, white or rice vinegar, sweetener (Splenda for me), and Trader Joe's salt-free 21 Seasoning Salute as the dressing. I don't add salt, or water, until the raw vegetables have marinated for at least a few hours, because enough water is usually exuded from the vegetables that the vinegar needs no further dilution, and I don't usually think it needs salt. If I have bottled storebought dressing, like honey mustard or poppyseed, on hand I sometimes add a bit in afterwards, but little enough that the liquid is still watery. No oil or mayo needed. Often, cooked beans are included. Sometimes a few raisins or thin-sliced grapes, or julienned apple, pear, or melon. Using a mandolin with a julienne blade and a fine slicer, I can prep 8 cups of shreds in under 30 minutes. Once the slaw is in the fridge, there's no further work needed.

If you have a problem using up a cucumber or a whole bunch of celery before they go soft, a slaw is your friend. The vinegar will preserve the shredded vegetables. A big batch can last me 3 weeks or more and while they get softer over time, they do not spoil. Soupmaking is a way to use leftovers from cooked food, and odds and ends of raw vegetables. But if it's too hot to cook, or you've already stocked your freezer with homemade soup, slaw allows you to salvage rather than discard small amounts of raw vegetables and herbs.

Drained slaw is a nice change-of-pace from lettuce and tomato on a sandwich, can go into meatloaf/meatball mix, and either take the place of, or top, a green salad. It can be a stand-alone vegetable side. If you've run out of time or ideas, and come home with pizza or drive-thru fare, accompanying it with a dish of slaw not only adds nutritional value but slows digestion down enough to forestall further hunger, and helps combat blood sugar spike and crash.

Finally, slaws are colorful and pretty, and can help satisfy the urge to crunch without resorting to lubberwort.

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