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Idea for Cole Slaw dressing for church luncheon, please.

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My church group serves lunch to about 450 guests every year at our bazaar. We always serve cole slaw and have used a commercial dressing in the past. Our storage is limited, so we dress the slaw as we need it during the meal service. We buy pint-bottles of the dressing. It has increased in price so much that we would like to find a better way.

Does anyone have a suggestion? Please keep in mind that our refrigerator space is extremely limited and we are located in a small town.

Thanks for your help!

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  1. I say make your own.

    You'll need a little more than a gallon of dressing . A gallon won't take up too much space in the fridge, but you could always use a portable cooler.

    2 Replies
    1. re: Gio

      I contribute cole slaw to our church/grange suppers. Considering the amount you need to make, I don't think you have to refrigerate anything until the last minute if you make up a batch based on a quart bottle of store brand mayonnaise. Open up the mayonnaise just before you need to mix a batch of dressing but I think Gio's suggestion of using a cooler is great.

      My recipe is
      1 cup mayonnaise
      scant 1/2 cup sugar
      1 tsp salt
      1/2 cup white vinegar
      1/4 cup juice from dill pickles
      2 tsp celery seed

      This is the amount I need for 2 medium heads of cabbage. You can buy celery seed at a health food store or food coop that sells it in bulk less expensively than at regular supermarkets. You just measure out what you buy into a plastic bag. An immersion blender makes mixing it up quick but a whisk or egg beater will work if you don't have enough electrical outlets.

      BTW my sister thinks my dressing is too sweet but I have had people stop me to ask for the recipe. Pickle juice is the secret ingredient. Don't leave it out.

      1. re: dfrostnh

        This is just about how I make mine. I actually grate a little dill pickle into mine. I think it is better if you can mix the slaw ahead and let the flavors meld.

    2. Make your own- always tastes better

      Cook's Country had a nice recipe for a coleslaw with granny smith apples.

      1. http://allrecipes.com/Recipe/Poppysee...

        1. I make my own simply with mayonnaise and Lime juice and some fresh cracker black pepper. Please don't drown your cole slaw -- it deserves to be gently dressed.

          1. Its a shame you can't dress it ahead. I find that it takes about an hour, preferably more, for the salt in the dressing to mix with the cabbage and take the edge off. In fact I always salt my cabbage before adding the dressing. The salt breaks down the cabbage and sweetens it a bit. It generally helps the flavors blend better.

            Some of the mayo-free dressings mentioned here might not require as much care about refrigeration and allow you to dress ahead. Or if you like the mayo flavor you could dress it all ahead, put it in 1 gallon freezer bags, store those in a large cooler with an ice block, and pull out the pre-dressed slaw a gallon at a time.

            1 Reply
            1. re: BernalKC

              btw my MIL and the other church volunteers needed volume storage and resorted to using trash bags for large amounts of shredded cabbage. They didn't realize that trash bags are not food safe and some have been treated with insecticide. I assume you are shredding cabbage and using it almost immediately. Just want other volunteers who work with large amounts of food not make the mistake of using trash bags for food.

            2. Thanks to all for the very helpful information and good ideas.

              Yes, would be ideal to salt it and drain it ahead of time, but this is not feasible with the situation we have.

              Again, I appreciate all your replies!