What a month it’s been! The past two weeks I’ve been working several ten to twelve hour days for my regular job, plus teaching four cooking classes. Oh and let’s not forget the birthday parties, potlucks, family events and fundraisers. I’m lucky if I have enough energy to take a shower before I crawl into bed. I’m sure you’ve all had a time in your life where you feel like you’re doing a frantic dog paddle just to keep your head above water. So when you suddenly realize that in four hours you’re supposed to bring a salad to share for a potluck filled with people who have various dietary needs, you need a recipe that can be thrown together quickly with very little work. For me, this coleslaw is that recipe.The family event we were attending had people with diabetes, lactose and/or gluten intolerance, and vegetarians. This meant no creamy or mayonnaise dressings, and no honey or sugar in the dressing. It of course meant no bacon, an easy way to boost flavor in salads. But the hardest part for me was that winter just ended and it’s not really salad season yet, which makes it hard to put together a tasty one for twenty or more people on a budget.
Fortunately, I had a giant bag of carrots sitting in my kitchen which inspired me to make some type of slaw. I decided to incorporate flavors from both winter and spring since we’ve been in kind of a winter spring limbo lately. Cabbage and carrots are available year round so almost always affordable. Dried cranberries are definitely wintery, and although Washington apples are typically harvested in the fall, we eat homemade applesauce, apple butter and apple cider throughout the winter so they’re a cold weather flavor for us.
I decided some unfiltered apple cider would be a great way to plump up the cranberries and add sweetness to the dressing while still making it diabetic friendly. You could use filtered apple juice, but it’s not as safe for people with insulin issues. The unfiltered juice is absorbed less quickly and doesn’t cause a blood sugar spike. It may seem like such a small quantity that it doesn’t matter, but you’d be surprised at how much those tiny amounts can add up.
For a touch of spring, I added fresh shelled peas that were on sale at the local farmstand. Cooked frozen peas could work just as well, but I loved the raw flavor of these little guys. The last vegetable I added was the little shoots from the onions I planted last fall. While the large onions are growing under the soil, they’re sending up lovely stems that you can chop up and use just like the green onions you’d buy in the store. I love that I’m already using ingredients from my garden!
Do you have to deal with cooking for people with various food restrictions? What are your go to recipes?
Vegan Gluten Free Coleslaw RecipePrep time: 20-30 minutes Cook time: 0 minutes Total time: 20-30 minutes Yield: 15-20 servings
- 1/4 cup
- 1/2 cup
- 2 cups
grated carrots (5 large or 10 small carrots)
- 3 cups
cole slaw mix or shredded cabbage
- 1/2 cup
fresh shelled peas
- 1/4 cup
chopped green onions
- 1/4 cup
- 3 TBS
apple cider vinegar
- 1/8 tsp
fresh ground pepper
- 1/2 tsp
- Heat the apple juice to a boil and submerge the cranberries in the hot juice. Cover and let stand.
- In a large bowl, mix carrots, cabbage, peas and chopped green onions.
- In a small bowl, whisk together olive oil and vinegar.
- Pour oil and vinegar over the vegetables. Add cranberries and apple juice. Toss well.
- Sprinkle with pepper and salt. Serve cold.
Approximate cost/serving: This is a cheap salad no matter what time of year. You can use a bagged cole slaw mix or shredded cabbage, whichever is cheapest for you. This came out to about $4 for enough to feed 15-20. That’s as low as twenty cents a serving! If you want to make this for your family, cut the recipe in half. Your serving sizes will be a little bigger as a side dish than at a potluck.
Vegetarian/gluten free: Yes and vegan too!
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Nutritional and cost information is for estimating purposes only, and subject to variations due to region, seasonality, and product availability.