I was hesitant to tell her how effortless the recipe was.


Football season is big in our house. With two University of Alabama graduates, one of whom is a Kansas City native, both NCAA and NFL games are on in our den from Thursday to Monday each week in the fall and winter. As Southerners know all too well, with football comes food. Between grabbing Denny dogs in Tuscaloosa, chowing down on burnt end sandwiches in KC, or smoking our own rack of ribs at home, football fare isn't necessarily light. Don't get me wrong: I'm not one to sacrifice some chicken wings for the sake of my waistline. But I also try to eat the carrots and celery that come on the side. You know, "it's all about balance" and "everything in moderation" and the like.

Creamy Broccoli Slaw
Credit: Jennifer Causey; Food Styling: Chelsea Zimmer

When it came time for our first at-home cookout of the season, the main football food groups were assigned immediately: There would be not one but two kinds of smoked meat, there would be macaroni and cheese, and there would be dips. When they say to "eat the rainbow" for a healthy diet, I don't think the bright yellow hue of Rotel dip was included in the color wheel. With "balance" and "moderation" in mind, I decided that we needed something moderately healthful in the lineup. Even though many meat 'n three spots in the South list macaroni and cheese as an option under the "vegetables" category, I do not.

I needed something uncomplicated, affordable, and quick that I could put together that morning before the 2:30 p.m. kickoff. Since cole slaw is a welcome addition to any tailgate menu, I perused Southern Living's website for one. I wanted something showier than a simple cabbage slaw, but I couldn't get too fancy with components like shaved Brussels sprouts or pomegranate seeds and scare our carnivorous friends away from even sampling it. That's when I came across this Creamy Broccoli Slaw. As easy as it is delicious, this side dish will be making a repeat appearance at our game day gatherings.

Perhaps the best thing about this Creamy Broccoli Slaw is that there's no chopping required. You literally purchase bagged broccoli slaw at the store and fancy it up to prepare a side dish that had one of my friends asking for the recipe after just one bite. I was hesitant to tell her how effortless the recipe was, wanting her to think I'd julienned the broccoli and carrots myself and whisked together a secret dressing that made it so tasty. But nope! The only items you need to jazz up your bagged broccoli slaw are mayo, chopped toasted pecans, golden raisins, scallions, ACV, lemons (zest and juice), and S&P. All you have to do to impress your crew is stir those ingredients together and put the bowl in the fridge for 30 minutes.

While it didn't beat out the smoked pork tenderloin sliders (and what could?), this Creamy Broccoli Slaw was a hit. The only thing I think I'll do differently next time I make it? Throw in some chopped bacon. Because…bacon.

If you're looking for a way to add a bit of the rainbow to your tailgate lineup, this Creamy Broccoli Slaw will appease anyone into eating veggies on game day.