Who doesn’t love coleslaw? It’s the ideal side dish for summer. Every barbecue features some kind of slaw. It goes with everything — burgers, fish, pork ribs, chicken, baked potatoes, corn on the cob.

Store-bought coleslaw is good. But nothing compares to homemade coleslaw. And it’s so quick and easy to make. Whether you go for the classic coleslaw with cabbage and carrot, or a fruity slaw with crunchy apple, making your own allows you to add your personal twist. So, impress your friends at the next barbecue with the one thing everyone loves. Coleslaw!

It’s All About the Dressing

Without the dressing, coleslaw would just be a bowl of raw vegetables. So it goes without saying that a good dressing is the key to a tasty coleslaw. A classic coleslaw dressing is made with a few simple ingredients and is creamy, fresh, and flavorful. It’s so good that it’s worth making extra to store in the fridge and use as a spread for sandwiches, a dip, or as a sauce for roasted vegetables or meat.

classic coleslaw dressing Janna Danilova / Getty Images


Prepare the Dressing

For a zingy, creamy classic coleslaw dressing whisk together the following ingredients in a large bowl:

  • 3/4 cup mayonnaise
  • Three tablespoons vinegar
  • Two tablespoons sugar (caster sugar, brown sugar or a combination of both)
  • Salt and pepper to season

Taste for acidity and add more vinegar if needed. You can use any kind of vinegar, but white wine or apple vinegar will give your coleslaw a zesty note! Using a good quality mayonnaise will give your dressing added creaminess. You could also add a teaspoon of Dijon mustard for extra flavor and a hint of spice.

coleslaw dressing mayonnaise vinegar sugar arinahabich / Getty Images


Prepare Your Vegetables

White cabbage is the hero of a classic coleslaw. Take a whole cabbage and discard any tatty outer leaves. Quarter it and cut out the tough middle core. Now you need to shred your cabbage with a knife, mandoline, or a food processor. Place the shredded cabbage into a large bowl.

Peel two carrots and cut them into small matchstick-sized pieces. Alternatively, you can grate the carrots or put them in the food processor. Add the carrot to the bowl.

shredded cabbage mandoline food processor Candice Bell / Getty Images


Mix It All Together

It really is that simple. Pour 2/3 of your dressing over the cabbage and carrots and mix it all together. How’s it looking? Is everything coated in dressing? If not, add some more. Coleslaw is best served chilled, so give yourself enough time before serving to place it in the refrigerator for an hour. This also gives the dressing time to infuse with the cabbage and soften it a little.

coleslaw mix together GMVozd / Getty Images


Add Some Color

They say we eat with our eyes first. In other words, seeing something that looks appetizing stimulates the taste buds. Your homemade coleslaw looks great as it is. But what if you were to add some color? No one says that coleslaw has to only contain white cabbage and carrot. Try adding some red or green cabbage, beetroot, radishes, spring onions, chilies, or colorful bell pepper to really tempt the taste buds.

red cabbage beetroot colorful coleslaw vaaseenaa / Getty Images


Coleslaw Shortcut

We all live hectic lives and, although it doesn’t take long to slice fresh vegetables, sometimes there’s just not enough time in the day. Luckily food stores have found a way to make our lives easier, and you can now buy bags of pre-shredded cabbage or coleslaw mix. Some mixes also include shredded broccoli stems that are a delicious addition to any coleslaw.

pre-packed cabbage coleslaw mix MarynaVoronova / Getty Images


Mayo, Buttermilk, Yogurt, or Sour Cream?

Using mayonnaise gives you a creamy, sweet dressing for your coleslaw. But you could try substituting half of the mayo and with buttermilk or sour cream. Buttermilk will give you a light, tarter-style dressing while sour cream makes a tangy, rich dressing. Some famous chefs. including Jamie Oliver, like to make their dressing with yogurt as a healthier alternative to mayo. But as the rest of the dish is raw vegetables, coleslaw is healthy even if you just stick to mayo!

buttermilk mayonnaise yogurt sour cream LauriPatterson / Getty Images


Chicken and Apple Slaw

You can really add whatever ingredients you like to a coleslaw. Summer is long, so you have plenty of days to experiment. Onion, cheese, walnuts, peas, celery, and corn are some of the more popular options. However, crunchy fruit will take your slaw to the next level. Try adding some diced cooked chicken, celery, apple, and cranberries to your coleslaw for a fresh, crunchy, and delicious meal.

chicken apple fruit coleslaw LeeAnnWhite / Getty Images


Blue Cheese and Bacon Slaw

What could be better than combining coleslaw with bacon? Use a mix of red and green cabbage and prepare your veggies as usual. A dressing made with half mayonnaise and half sour cream works really well with this dish. Once you have made your classic coleslaw base, stir in 2 spring onions and 1/2 cup of crumbly blue cheese. Sprinkle 3-4 slices of crispy bacon on top, and you have the perfect summer salad.

blue cheese bacon coleslaw MoniqueRodriguez / Getty Images


Mango Cilantro Slaw

For a twist on the classic coleslaw, substitute the sugar in the dressing for honey. For the best results use white wine vinegar and add two tablespoons of canola oil. Add mango pieces, 1/3 cup of chopped cilantro, and three green onions to your cabbage and mix it all together.

This tangy slaw is great on its own, but it also complements fish really well. Take a corn tortilla, grilled tilapia, and top it off with your homemade mango cilantro coleslaw for an amazingly tasty fish taco.

mango cilantro fish taco chas53 / Getty Images


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