By Debbie Koenig
Frozen produce isn’t the only way I get variety this time of year. I also rely on an unassuming item in the packaged salad section of the supermarket: broccoli slaw. It almost always combines shredded broccoli stalks, carrots, and cabbage, and sometimes more (the version pictured above also boasts Brussels sprouts, kale, and radicchio). If you’re wondering how much slaw one human can possibly eat, my answer won’t surprise you—not that much. Instead, I treat the precut vegetables as an ingredient. For example:
As a shortcut to a fleshed-out main course salad. For lunch yesterday, I tossed a few cups of slaw with leftover cooked chicken, baby arugula, a tablespoon of golden raisins, lemon juice, and a teaspoon of olive oil. I was full for hours, for just 2 SmartPoints® value.
For a lightning-fast vegetable soup. I sauté a chopped onion and a bit of garlic in a stockpot coated with nonstick spray, and when it’s soft I add a bag of slaw, a large can of crushed tomatoes, and four cups of chicken broth. That simmers for 15 minutes, then I add a can of drained and rinsed beans (whatever type I have on hand). Five minutes later soup’s on, for 0 SmartPoints value.
In a quick stir-fry. I put a teaspoon of sesame oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat, and add a chopped onion. When it starts to soften I add the slaw and some defrosted edamame and cook, stirring frequently, until everything is crisp-tender. Then I push it all to the sides of the pan and pour a beaten egg or two in the center. I stir that into the vegetables, along with a tablespoon of low-sodium soy sauce, and I’ve got a light meal for 1 SmartPoints value.
As pasta sauce. This one I do two ways—either I sauté some garlic, red pepper flakes and the slaw mixture and add canned crushed tomatoes, then simmer for 10 minutes, or I make a primavera by skipping the tomatoes and adding a little pasta cooking water to make things saucy. Either way, the sauce itself has 0 SmartPoints value.
For make-your-own taco salads. To make sure my picky kid actually eats sometimes, I like to serve meals that we each get to customize. So I’ll cook up some taco-seasoned ground turkey breast and set it out along with brown rice, salsa, black beans, shredded cheese, and slaw. My own bowl usually has slaw mixture as a base, with some meat and beans, tossed with salsa. Super-filling for, you guessed it, 0 SmartPoints value.
Inside a summer roll. Remember a while back I talked about a how-to I wrote for Weight Watchers Magazine? I use that technique, but to make things go lickety-split, I use broccoli slaw instead of individually chopped vegetables.
And sometimes, when I’m supremely lazy, I just put some in a bowl, drizzle with apple cider vinegar and a teeny bit of oil, and let it sit for an hour. It turns itself into actual slaw.
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