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Because what barbecue is complete without slaw? Here are a dozen great recipes

Summertime in L.A. means family barbecues, neighborhood cookouts, picnics at the beach or the Hollywood Bowl. It means cooking outside, often in some pretty crazy heat. What this means is that you'll be wanting sides to pair with all those ribs and hot dogs, and better yet, sides that require no more cooking than you're doing already. One word: Slaw.

Crisp and cool, it's the dish to turn to as the weather turns hot. Made with just a few ingredients, slaws are straightforward and simple. They're fast and easy to assemble -- thankfully no cooking required.

When you think slaw, you might think cabbage, or maybe you've even gone so far as to try slaws made from broccoli or carrots. But there's a big wide world of slaw possibilities out there, particularly in the summer, when so much produce is at its prime.

And even though the options might sound endless, slaws are essentially simple things: Take a main ingredient cut into shreds, dress it lightly with something tangy, and finish it with the little touches that add color and crunch.

Whether you're a fan of bell peppers or zucchini, fennel or celery root, spiced curry or tangy yogurt, you're bound to find a new favorite from our 12 great summer slaw ideas. Fix the recipes as it's written or use them as a springboard for your own interpretations. The options are practically endless. Check out the recipe for bell pepper and corn slaw below. It was named one of our best recipes of 2009.

BELL PEPPER AND CORN SLAW

Total time: 35 minutes, plus chilling time | Serves 6 to 8

6 large bell peppers, assorted colors
2 ears corn, shucked
Juice of 2 lemons, or to taste
Zest of 1 lemon
1 clove garlic, minced
1/4 cup olive oil
1 tablespoon agave syrup or honey, or to taste
1 teaspoon salt, or to taste
1/2 teaspoon chipotle or New Mexico chile powder, or to taste
1/4 cup chopped cilantro

1. Core the peppers and cut them into lengthwise strips no thicker than one-eighth inch and about 2 1/2 inches long. Place the sliced pepper in a large bowl.

2. Slice the kernels off the corn, and toss them with the peppers.

3. In a small bowl, whisk together the lemon juice, zest, garlic, olive oil, agave syrup, salt and chipotle powder to form a dressing. Taste and adjust to taste.

4. Pour the dressing over the peppers and toss well to coat completely. Stir in the cilantro and toss until evenly combined. This makes about 6 cups slaw.

5. Cover and refrigerate the pepper slaw at least 1 hour before serving. The slaw will keep for up to 2 days, refrigerated.

Each of 8 servings: 117 calories; 2 grams protein; 14 grams carbohydrates; 3 grams fiber; 7 grams fat; 1 gram saturated fat; 0 cholesterol; 302 mg. sodium.

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