Coleslaw comes with color and crunch


Remember cousin Effie? She's the good-hearted relative who sends birthday cards, teaches Sunday school and volunteers as a crossing guard. At family gatherings she's the one who brings the coleslaw.

Ah, tradition.

The cabbage mixture sinks in the middle. The milky dressing floats loosely to the top, surrounded by cabbage haystacks.

Sure, it's tasty. Traditional cabbage, mayo, vinegar and sugar make great culinary comrades. Celery seeds, too.

But it might be time to establish new coleslaw traditions.

Get out your grater, sharpen your chef's knife and dust off that salad bowl. Pile up the shredded cabbage big time. Mountains.

Here are new twists on shredded cabbage salad. Combos with a little more crunch. A little less goo.

Cousin Effie won't mind. Once she stuck to plain old green cabbage. Now she uses red or napa cabbage. Even the occasional curly-leafed savoy. Green onions, radishes and bright bell peppers. Chives or fresh basil. Even fresh dill or cilantro.

Sometimes she uses a light oil-and-vinegar dressing with a hint of fresh garlic. She sprinkles on chopped peanuts for added pizazz.

She's a new slaw kinda gal.

Rainbow Coleslaw

Makes 6 servings

5 tablespoons calorie-reduced mayonnaise

3 tablespoons plain, nonfat yogurt

1 teaspoon prepared mustard

4 tablespoons unsweetened apple or pineapple juice

seasoning blend, such as Spike, Lawry's or Mrs. Dash's, to taste

optional: pinch of sugar

3 cups shredded cabbage

1 cup shredded carrot

1 red bell pepper, cored and seeded, cut into matchsticks

L 1 yellow bell pepper, cored and seeded, cut into matchsticks

1 bunch green onions, trimmed and thinly sliced (include 1/2 of the dark green stalks)

garnish: slivers of raw red bell pepper

Procedure: In a large bowl, combine mayonnaise, yogurt, mustard, juice and seasoning blend. Stir and taste. Add more seasoning if needed. It may need a pinch of sugar. Add cabbage, carrot, bell peppers and onions; toss to combine and coat vegetables with dressing. Chill several hours, well-sealed.

Presentation: Garnish with slivers of red bell pepper.

Asian-Style Coleslaw

Makes 4 to 6 servings

1/4 cup sour cream or nonfat sour cream

1 tablespoon grated or minced (peeled) fresh ginger

2 1/2 tablespoons orange juice

1/2 teaspoon sugar

1 teaspoon Asian sesame oil

salt and pepper to taste

1/2 small cabbage

2 carrots, peeled and shredded

3 ounces fresh green beans, trimmed and cut into thin matchsticks

2 tablespoons minced red onion

1 teaspoon poppy seeds, divided use

optional garnish: edible, pesticide-free flowers or Italian (flat-leafed) parsley

Cook's notes: Asian sesame oil is sold in Asian markets and supermarkets with Asian specialty sections.

Procedure: In a small bowl combine sour cream, ginger, orange juice and sugar; stir until sugar dissolves. Stir in sesame oil, salt and pepper.

Remove core from cabbage and cut into thin shreds. In a large bowl, combine cabbage, carrots, green beans, red onion and most of the poppy seeds (reserve some for garnish). Add dressing and toss.

Presentation: Garnish with reserved poppy seeds. If desired, garnish with sprigs of parsley and/or edible flowers.

Calorific Coleslaw

Makes 6 to 8 servings

1 cup mayonnaise or calorie-reduced mayonnaise

1 teaspoon curry powder

1 teaspoon lemon juice

13 ounces canned pineapple tidbits, well drained

4 cups shredded cabbage

1 cup crushed peanut brittle

optional garnish: sprigs of parsley

Procedure: In a large bowl, combine mayonnaise, curry powder and lemon juice.

Mix well. Add pineapple and cabbage. Toss thoroughly. Chill. Toss in

peanut brittle just before serving.

Presentation: Garnish with sprigs of fresh parsley.

(Source: "Noteworthy: A Collection of Recipes From the Ravinia Festival," Noteworthy Publications, 1986.)

Low-Fat Lady Slaw

Makes 6 generous servings

1/2 cup low-fat mayonnaise

1/2 cup plain, nonfat yogurt

1 medium head iceberg lettuce, finely shredded

2 medium carrots, peeled and finely shredded

2 large stalks celery, finely diced

1 small red onion, very thinly sliced

1 (10-ounce) package frozen peas, thawed and drained

salt and pepper to taste

about 1 teaspoon sugar

Cook's notes: If the tang of yogurt in this dressing is too tart for your taste buds, add 1 to 2 teaspoons of sugar to the dressing mixture.

Procedure: In a small bowl, combine mayonnaise and yogurt.

In a salad bowl, preferably glass, arrange a thin layer of lettuce. Scatter with some carrots, celery, onion and peas. Place small dollops of mayonnaise mixture over peas. Sprinkle with salt, pepper and a pinch of sugar. Continue layering vegetables and dressing until all ingredients have been used or until bowl is full. End with dressing, salt, pepper and sugar. Cover and refrigerate at least 3 hours.

Presentation: Garnish with sprigs of fresh parsley and edible, pesticide-free flowers, such as nasturtiums or borage. Serve without tossing.

(Source: Vegetarian Times magazine, June 1995.)

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