Several years ago, while finishing college in Eugene and living with my then new (but now ex) in-laws, I ran across a recipe online for a coleslaw with bacon and blue cheese. The finished salad was decorated with cherry tomatoes and called Red, White, and Blue Slaw Salad. I loved the idea of coleslaw with bacon and blue cheese and it turned out to work very well with my standard sweet, tart, and creamy coleslaw dressing. The salad was a huge hit with the family, who took to calling the salad Nicoleslaw and requested it whenever we’d barbecue.
Ten years, several moves, and one divorce later, I’ve ditched the cherry tomatoes but am still making the same coleslaw with bacon and blue cheese for barbecues. And although visits to Eugene are now much less frequent, I still occasionally get requests for Nicoleslaw from my Oregon family. There are so many things in life that are uncertain and constantly changing, it’s nice to keep a few traditions around. Certain recipes have this amazing ability to remind us of the past right in the midst of creating new memories. And as we move forward in life, it’s always good to remember where we’ve been.
Creamy Coleslaw with Bacon and Blue Cheese
Adapted from Red, White, and Blue Slaw Salad at allrecipes.com
6 cups shredded green and/or red cabbage (about 1/2 of one medium head)
1/2 pound thick-sliced bacon, cooked and crumbled
1/2 cup crumbled blue cheese
1 cup creamy coleslaw dressing (recipe below)
3/4 cup mayonnaise (preferably Best Foods or Hellman’s)
3 tablespoons cider vinegar
3 tablespoons sugar
1/4 teaspoon celery seed (optional)
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt, or to taste
1/4 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper, or to taste
Whisk together dressing ingredients and let it rest in the refrigerator while you shred the cabbage and cook the bacon. In a large bowl, combine shredded cabbage and creamy dressing then toss together well. Sprinkle bacon pieces and crumbled blue cheese over the top of the salad. Mix in the bacon and blue cheese just before serving. Alternatively, the bacon and blue cheese can be served on the side. Salad can be mixed up to a few hours ahead of time, but I prefer to keep ingredients separate and then toss everything together just before serving to keep the cabbage crunchy.