- The Washington Times - Tuesday, August 9, 2005

I’ve become wonderfully lazy when it comes to making coleslaw. I used to drag out the grater and the whole head of cabbage, and nearly an hour and a couple of skinned knuckles later, we had coleslaw. Not anymore.

Now I rely on that little convenience known as the package of coleslaw mix — shredded cabbage and carrots found in the produce section. It goes into the mixing bowl, along with fresh apple, toasted walnuts and a fast blue cheese dressing, in this stunning slaw.

The slaw pairs well with fried chicken or grilled pork chops. As with any slaw, this one gets a bit better with time. So when you feel motivated, make it a day ahead, but don’t sprinkle the toasted walnuts on top until just before serving.

If you buy walnut halves and pieces, or chopped walnuts, it is not only cheaper than buying all halves, but these smaller pieces also take less time to toast. You’ll need to keep an eye on the walnuts as they bake. Turn the oven light on. And no need to salt this slaw because the blue cheese has plenty of salt in it.

Five time-shaving picnic salads on the go:

• The classic three-bean (from cans) salad with a sweet oil-and-vinegar dressing, or from the deli.

• A great deli potato salad that you dress up with minced fresh parsley and chives.

• Baby spinach leaves from the bag topped with mandarin orange segments, toasted almond slices, dried sweetened cranberries, crumbled feta and bottled Asian vinaigrette.

• Sliced cucumbers, halved grape tomatoes and pitted Kalamata olives, seasoned with salt and drizzled with olive oil and white wine vinegar.

• A drained can of corn and can of black beans, mixed with minced scallions, chopped tomato, minced jalapeno chili, cumin, lime juice and salt to taste.

Blue cheese, walnut and apple slaw

The preparation and cooking time is 10 to 12 minutes.

1/3 cup walnut pieces

1 medium-size cored apple

½ cup bottled ranch salad dressing

1/4 cup pre-crumbled blue cheese

1 16-ounce bag coleslaw mix

Black pepper

Place walnut pieces on a rimmed baking sheet, and bake them in a preheated 350-degree oven until they begin to darken, 5 to 7 minutes. Meanwhile, coarsely grate apple using side of a box grater with the largest holes. You should have about 1 cup.

Place ranch dressing and blue cheese in a large serving bowl.

Stir to combine; mash the blue cheese a bit to incorporate it into the dressing. Add coleslaw mix and grated apple, and stir to coat it well with the dressing.

Season slaw with black pepper to taste. Just before serving, sprinkle the toasted walnuts on top of the slaw. Makes 6 to 8 servings.


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