Cole Slaw Demo

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“Cole” in Shakespeare’s time meant “cabbage.” Just as the language has changed, so has the way to make slaw. Slaw was thought to mean “salad” in ancient Central European languages.

Use these ideas for easy no-cook food demonstrations in March. They are great for St. Patty’s Day, National Cabbage Month or National Nutrition Month®.

Beyond Cole

Several years ago, a frozen food manufacturer got tired of throwing out all the broccoli stalks left over from freezing the more popular broccoli florets. He peeled and shredded the broccoli stalks and, voila, broccoli slaw was born! Many school districts are opting for broccoli slaw over the traditional cabbage slaw, as it stays crunchy for a longer time, is easy to get on your fork, and is higher in some nutrients than green cabbage.

Shredded broccoli is available in the produce section of many grocery stores. It comes in a ready-to-use kit that includes shredded broccoli, shredded carrots and some dressing. Show your clients how to make their own broccoli slaw by peeling broccoli stalks with a potato peeler and shredding it with a hand grater or food processor.

For other ideas besides broccoli slaw, suggest various types of cabbage and greens to be used singly or in combinations. This can include shredded red cabbage, Napa cabbage, savoy cabbage, kale and Swiss chard. Many of these leafy veggies are available shredded and ready to use in the produce section. Preshredded veggies usually have a seven-day shelf life if kept refrigerated properly.

What’s Your Favorite?

Slaws were not meant to be just a bowl of cabbage. Suggest combinations of the following to liven up the slaw:

• Canned fruit: drained and chopped peaches, apricots, pears and pineapple

• Dried fruit: raisins, apricots, peaches, apples and figs

• Fresh fruit: chopped apples, pears, peaches, apricots, grapes and berries

• Nuts: peanuts, walnuts, almonds, pecans, pistachios

• Fresh veggies: chopped red, yellow or green bell peppers, shredded carrots, diced celery or onions, chopped broccoli or cauliflower florets.

Who Needs Mayo?

Mayonnaise is convenient to use as a dressing but has little going for it. High in salt and fat, egg-based mayonnaise is not the only dressing on the block. There are “diet” and vegetarian mayonnaise dressings on the market. Have a taste-testing, comparing taste, texture and price. For clients who think they are saving calories by choosing egg-less mayonnaise, point out that many vegetarian mayonnaise dressings are soy- or safflower-oil based, so they are not lower in calories, just lower in saturated fat.

Soy products are popular and available. Tofu is close in price to commercial mayonnaise. Prepare a tofu mayonnaise by blending silken or soft tofu in a blender or food processor with a small amount of prepared mustard, white pepper and white vinegar. Tofu mayonnaise can be used to dress salads and as a sandwich spread. Remind clients to refrigerate leftover portions of soy products.

Low-fat yogurt can be mixed with a small amount of prepared mustard and white pepper to be used instead of commercial mayonnaise. The texture is similar to mayonnaise, and the flavor gives a pleasant “tang” to slaws.

Slaws don’t have to have a creamy dressing. Slaw ingredients can be tossed with vinegar and oil dressings. Mix cider vinegar with a small amount of vegetable oil, chopped parsley and diced onions and toss with slaw ingredients to make a “slippery” slaw. The same can be done with vinegar, oil, a small amount of orange juice concentrate, chopped oranges or grapefruit and cracked black pepper. Make a pineapple slaw with vinegar, oil, mashed, canned pineapple tidbits and a small amount of apple juice concentrate.

Whichever type of dressing is selected, demonstrate that slaw is meant to be only lightly tossed with dressing, or it will get soggy. Once the slaw is mixed with the dressing, it must be refrigerated for food safety. Suggest that slaws served at picnics be kept in an ice chest until just ready to eat.

Mix It Up!

Slaws can be sweet or savory, a healthy appetizer, side dish or part of an entree. Suggest a bed of slaw rather than pasta or rice, for roasted turkey or chicken. Use chopped slaw to stuff small tomatoes or fresh zucchini or summer squash. Take a tour of the produce and canned fruit and vegetable section of the grocery store and start stocking up on slaw ideas.

By Nancy Berkoff, RD, Edd.

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