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Cider vinegar (Recipe: blue cheese cole slaw) {vegetarian, gluten-free}

Blue cheese cole slaw

In the beginning, in my mother's kitchen, there was distilled white vinegar, good for pickling and preserving, and killing weeds and washing windows. I never did the actual window washing when I was young, but I remember the smell of vinegar going up my nose whenever I peered into the wash bucket.

Then came red wine vinegar, standard fare in a lot of Italian cooking, but I grew up non-Italian, so to us it was exotic.

Then, somehow, all the rest of the vinegars seemed to find their way to our pantry at once: balsamic (now my go-to for salad dressings and drizzles on fruit and cheese) and white balsamic, rice and rice wine and seasoned rice vinegars for Chinese cooking, and cider vinegar, for chutneys and salad dressings.

Ah, the "sweet" vinegars.

Who knew that something so acid could also be so mild, so delicate, so... well, fruity?

What is cider vinegar?
A liquid made from the fermented juice of apples, diluted with water to a uniform strength of 5% acidity.

How/where to store:
In the cupboard, at room temperature, indefinitely. Vinegar is a natural preservative; over time some of the "must" will coagulate in the bottom of the bottle, but it does not harm the vinegar.

More facts about cider vinegar, and ingredient photos, in The Perfect Pantry:
Cider vinegar (Recipe: tomato-nectarine chutney)


Blue cheese cole slaw

In New England (and maybe everywhere else, too), summer means barbecue, and barbecue demands cole slaw and potato salad on the side. Inspired by a Barefoot Contessa recipe, this cole slaw goes beyond what's required for a proper New England cookout; it's positively decadent. If you have cabbage in your garden, you can use that plus a few shredded carrots instead of cole slaw mix. I like a mild blue cheese, like our local Great Hill Blue, but if you prefer a stronger Roquefort, go for it. Serves 8.


1 lb packaged cole slaw mix (shredded red and green cabbage and carrots)
1-1/2 cups mayonnaise
3 Tbsp apple cider vinegar
A pinch of sugar or 1 Tbsp honey or agave nectar
1 tsp celery seed
Kosher salt and fresh black pepper, to taste
1/4 cup mild blue cheese, crumbled, or more to taste


Place the cole slaw mix in a large bowl.

In a smaller bowl, whisk together the mayonnaise, cider vinegar, sugar or honey, celery seed, kosher salt, and black pepper. Taste, and adjust as needed. Pour enough mayonnaise dressing over the grated vegetables and toss to moisten well. Add crumbled blue cheeseand toss together.

Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and refrigerate for several hours to allow the flavors to meld. Serve cold or at room temperature.

More recipes in The Perfect Pantry:
Dried cranberry and pear chutney
Rhubarb-apricot chutney
Cucumber ribbon salad
Asian slaw
Backyard barbecue sauce

Other recipes that use cider vinegar:
Potato salad with sweet potatoes and red onion, from Gluten-Free Goddess
Apple cider vinegar chicken, from Blog Appetit
Pickled yellow wax beans, from The Amateur Gourmet
Crisp polenta cakes with braised cabbage and beans, from Herbivoracious
Goan curried braised beef with potatoes, cider vinegar and coconut milk, from The Spiced Life

Need more ideas for how to create salads with pizzazz? Get Dress Up Your Salad, my e-book packed with easy mix-and-match recipes, full-color photos and a few fun videos. Exciting salad recipes from everyday ingredients can be just one click away, on any computer, tablet or smart phone, with the FREE Kindle Reading app. Click here to learn more.

Disclosure: The Perfect Pantry earns a few pennies on purchases made through the Amazon.com links in this post. Thank you for supporting this site when you start your shopping here.


The thought o blue cheese in my cole slaw is toe-curling. A wonderful way to spruce up this side.

I just made cole-slaw last weekend, and was horrified to discover I didn't have any cider vinegar in the house. It seems de rigueur in every recipe for slaw I found.

In the same way I love Calvados, I love the way cider vinegar brings that something extra to dishes. It has a far softer edge, like a favourite pillow that comforts. I haven't tried it in slaw, but will leave my Spanish sherry vinegar on the shelf next time.

This is fate! I actually have all the ingredients including blue cheese in my fridge! I am making this tonight to go with something on the grill!
thanks for the dinner inspiration!

I love the combination you have for this salad. I am diabetic, and I suggest that it can be modified with a little addition of Stevia instead of the honey and sugar.

I also like to heat the vinegar slightly first before adding the celery seeds to accent the flavor a little bit. When you pour it warm over the coleslaw mix, it seems to speed up the absorption a bit.

Thanks for the link to my recipe. I love using apple cider vinegar. It also works well in sweet and sour cabbage soups and as a substitute for Chinese black rice vinegars in some recipes. And I use it in my own honey mustard cole slaw recipe as well.

I love blue cheese coleslaw!

girl i am so glad you like your coleslaw this way. this is just perfect.

Peter, toe curling is a good thing!

Julia, apples and cabbage have a real affinity, which explains the cider vinegar in every slaw.

Neil, cider vinegar is common in my part of the world because I live in an apple growing region. I really love the fruitiness of it. Of course I love my sherry vinegar too.

Carol, hope you enjoyed it. Much more of a presence than traditional cole slaw.

Jason, heating the vinegar is a great idea. I'm going to try it.

Faith, thanks,

Kalyn, me too. I never used to like blue cheese, but for the past few years I've learned to love it, especially the milder varieties.

I love new variations on slaw, and any recipe with blue cheese is a winner to me!

In the old days apple cider vinegar was used as a cure all. It's so good for your health that I take a tablespoon diluted everyday.

This looks like an excellent coleslaw, great item to serve for the 4th.

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