Coleslaw, typically made from minced or shredded cabbage and tossed in a tangy dressing, this simple side is guaranteed to make an appearance at most backyard barbecues. Come to think of it, coleslaw is a bit of an unsung hero of sorts. Overlooked or under-celebrated in lieu of other big hitters like gooey mac and cheese or sweet and savory baked beans or even fresh roasted ears of buttery corn, poor coleslaw falls to the sidelines a bit, yet still, it’s one of those sides that you take notice of if it’s missing from your table because it just fits and meshes so well with the other sides and with the main contender itself; steamy, smoky, sizzling fresh-off-the-grill meat.
So why even bother with this side? Well…
- It’s incredibly easy to make.
- The level of seasoning can be adjusted to suit your personal preference
- It’s a great dish that can be made ahead of time and stored in the fridge until needed
- It takes all of 5-10 minutes to throw together
- It’s gluten-free, clean eating, and vegetarian friendly
- This version is a creamy coleslaw made using my homemade mayonnaise which (not to toot my own horn or anything) tastes amazing and adds great richness to this slaw!
Here’s what you need to make this easy, creamy coleslaw:
- Cabbage: The main ingredient, whether you use red or green or a combination of both (hello pretty colors!) Whether you mince it in the food processor to break it down, grate it on a box grater, slice into it with a knife (my preferred method by the way!) or you buy prepackaged, pre-shredded cabbage, this is the heart of our dish.
- Carrots: If you’re using prepackaged coleslaw mix chances are there’s already some carrots in there. You can add more if you like (who’s stopping you?). Shredded or minced, a little extra veggie never hurt anyone 😉
- Onion: Red, white, yellow, the choice is yours but I will say that the flavor that the onion brings to the slaw means that you can’t omit it…well, you can if you want to but I recommend against it.
- Vinegar: I’m using distilled white but you can use apple cider vinegar if you prefer.
- Greek Yogurt: Plain whole milk Greek Yogurt adds both tang and creaminess to your slaw.
- Mayonnaise: This is what makes our slaw rich and addictively delicious. I’m using some of my homemade mayonnaise which has some spices to it already (hence the color…what can I say, I’m a sucker for some smoked paprika 😅).
- Spices: I’m keeping it simple with some Pink Himalayan Salt (sea salt also works great!) some finely ground Raw Cane Sugar, some Ground Black Pepper and some Celery Seeds (which is a bit of a secret ingredient that gives a wonderful coleslaw flavor!). Feel free to add in other spices that you personally like (maybe a touch of fennel seeds or some garlic powder for example).
Mayo-free but still creamy?
If mayonnaise isn’t your thing that’s totally fine, in that case simply sub equal parts of whole milk Greek yogurt with the mayonnaise and add a tbsp or two of extra light olive oil. Don’t forget to adjust your seasonings to suit!
Greek Yogurt not your thing? That’s cool too! Simply omit the Greek Yogurt from the recipe (no need to sub anything in!)
Now let’s get to the good stuff…making this slaw. Simply add everything together into a bowl and toss. Yeah…that’s it! Easy, right?
Personally I like to toss together everything but the carrots which I’ll add in last, and if I’m using red cabbage I’ll reserve that for last as well, for the simple reason that those ingredients tend to bleed their colors into the dressing and you’ll end up with either pink or orange dressing. It’s an extra step and it isn’t all that necessary so honestly feel free to skip it if you like and toss everything together into a bowl all at once.
Now the not-so-secret secret for making this a great slaw is to let it rest at least 30-minutes. Ideally I recommend a few hours or even overnight. That allows the dressing and cabbage to meld together and for the onion to mellow out a bit and play nice with all the other ingredients. Eating it right away means you get that heavy cabbage flavor that hasn’t absorbed any of the dressing along with the sharpness of the raw onion. More to that the celery seeds don’t get a chance to soften and flavor the dressing. So for the best results, let your slaw take a mini-vacation in your fridge for a few hours, you’ll be glad you did!
Easy Creamy Coleslaw
- 3 cups cabbage red or green or coleslaw mix (shredded)
- 2 tbsp onion finely minced
- ¼ cup carrots minced, shredded or matchstick (optional)
- 2 tbsp distilled white vinegar or apple cider vinegar
- 2 tbsp Whole Milk Plain Greek Yogurt or sour cream
- ½ cup Homemade Mayonnaise
- 1 tbsp raw cane sugar finely blended (to taste)
- 1 tsp Himalayan salt (to taste)
- ½ tsp ground black pepper (to taste)
- ½ tbsp celery seeds (to taste)
- Add all ingredients except the carrots into a large bowl and toss to evenly coat.
- Add the carrots and gently toss to distribute.
- Cover and let your coleslaw rest in the fridge for up at least an hour or overnight.
- Serve as a side or topping for your favorite dishes.
- Store any leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 3 days. I recommend against freezing this recipe for the best results.
- You can add the carrots in with everything else but since carrots tend to bleed their color it's easier to add them in last. The same applies to red cabbage, if you're using a mix of red and green, add the red cabbage in last with the carrots.
- I've added both chipotle and smoked paprika to my Homemade Mayonnaise hence it's orange color. For a slaw that is whiter, omit these two ingredients in your mayo and opt instead to add in tsp of ground white pepper.
- While you can enjoy your coleslaw right away I highly recommend letting it rest for at least 30 minutes to an hour to allow for all flavors (especially the sharpness of the raw onion) to blend with the other ingredients. This is one of those recipes that taste better the next day so don't be afraid to make it in advance!