Coleslaw is a staple and tradition for summertime meals, BBQs and picnics. A convenient way to sneak in those veggies and a splash of color to any meal. Here is my delicious, but easy homemade coleslaw recipe- it uses only 5 ingredients!
What's In This Article
Red Cabbage Slaw
For years I stayed away from coleslaw. Then I realized it wasn’t because I disliked cabbage or any of the other fresh shredded or minced vegetables, I generally didn’t like mayonnaise (at least the jarred kind).
But when I tried a no mayo coleslaw, I loved it! It was like when Princess Jasmine takes a ride on the flying carpet and belts out “a whole new world!!!”
PRO TIP: For angel hair slaw (very thinly cut slices) use a mandoline slicer.
Suddenly I liked the foods that are commonly paired with a side dish of coleslaw too. Pulled pork sandwiches, pulled chicken, fried chicken, fried fish, hot dogs… okay, so I am still not so into hot dogs. But you get the point.
Now that my coleslaw horizons have been opened, I have experimenting with different ways to make it. Some use Greek yogurt as a substitute for mayo, but I’ve found my favorite coleslaw recipe is actually just using vinegar.
Almost like a southern style kimchi. A quick pickling of cabbage. But coleslaw doesn’t even have to use cabbage, although it usually does. Generally speaking, slaw is just shredded, julienned or minced vegetables in some sort of a dressing.
Deciding whether to use green or red cabbage as a base is where I start. From there I add other fresh vegetables like carrots, onion or broccoli.
Others are amped up using fruits and even seeds and nuts for some crunch. Others add green onion, Dijon mustard, celery seed, sesame seeds and lemon juice.
The ingredient list for red cabbage slaw is simple. Only 5 ingredients.
- Red Cabbage– If you know me, you know I love COLOR in my food. What is more vibrant and colorful than red cabbage. Which to be fair is actually purple.
- Apple Cider Vinegar– Gives it the vinegar zing you are looking for!
- Olive Oil– I like to lubricate my slaw and give it a vinegarette dressing. Oil is needed for this.
- Salt & Pepper– Use a nice Kosher salt and lean away from anything iodized, it gives a metallic aftertaste. Freshly ground pepper will give you more punch.
- Honey- This balances out the acidic flavors and gives just a hint of sweet. It can be omitted if you want.
PRO TIP: Red and cabbage are very similar in taste and texture and can be used interchangeably. Some beleive red cabbage is slightly more peppery, but I’ve never noticed the difference. It does however, have slightly more nutritional value.
Just one head of cabbage will make a whole batch. If you don’t feel like doing it yourself, feel free to be pre shredded cabbage or even a coleslaw mix.
How to Shred Cabbage
There are all sorts of do-dads out there to shred vegetables and leafy greens, but I find the easiest for lettuce and cabbage is just a cutting board and large knife.
- Remove outer leaves of the cabbage. Usually just one layer gone is all you need.
- Cut off the root up to the base.
- Cut into quarters, through the steam.
- In a semi-circular motion, remove the rest of the hard root in each quarter.
- Thinly slice cabbage.
You can also use a mandoline slicer, but no matter how hard I try, I always hurt myself.
More BBQ Sides
Tools for making Red Cabbage Slaw:
Wood cutting board – wood won’t dull your knives like plastic and if treated properly, has natural antimicrobial properties.
Good knife – Global is my favorite! They are worth the price, I promise. I am kind of obsessed with them and store them tucked away so no one else can use them. Including hubby. Hands off my good stuff!
Mandolin Slicer– if you prefer angel hair slaw, you might need one of these, but if hand slicer or chopped slaw is your jam, you won’t need one at all! Please practice all of the suggested safety including the safety guard. The mandolin is #1 kitchen utensil for accidents.
Mixing Bowls– make sure to check out my article on Using the Right Mixing Bowl, you’d be surprised how many people aren’t, especially for a recipe like this with high vinegar acidity.
Red Cabbage Slaw
- 1 head red cabbage , cored and sliced
- 1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
- 1 tablespoon honey , optional
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- Chop, minced or shred cabbage as desired. Place in a large mixing bowl.
- Toss with apple cider vinegar. (If using honey, whisk with apple cider vinegar before adding to cabbage).
- Toss with Kosher salt, ground black pepper and olive oil.
- Cover, refrigerate and marinate for 1 hour to 24 hours.
- Toss again and drain before serving.
- If you tried this recipe, come back and let us know how it was!
You mention using honey, if desired. But I don’t see where you mention how much is suggested. Also wondering when to use the honey. Does it make sense to use it with the Apple cider vinegar (when tossing)?
Hi Jason! Thanks for the feedback, I’ll add it to the instructions to make it more clear. You’d just whisk it with the apple cider vinegar before drizzling so it mixes in well.
You mentioned olive oil in the ingredients but it isn’t in the recipe
Ack! I just updated it and totally took it out. Thanks for noticing, updating now 🙂
It’s interesting how so many delicious dishes are in fact so easy to make! Fantastic slaw that is definitely a good find for a summer menu.
I’ve also recently started loving coleslaw! Can’t wait to try this one out!
So simple, so delicious! I love that this recipe is perfect for this time of the year!
I have always preferred red cabbage so I love this recipe!
I love the idea of making slaw with red cabbage and without mayo. It sounds it much lighter and flavourful!