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This easy coleslaw is the perfect dish to make for any BBQ. It’s sweet and tangy with the best crunchy texture! It’s the perfect recipe to have in your arsenal for backyard barbecues. Everyone will enjoy it mounded high on their favorite sandwich or served as a side dish to accompany just about anything!
This coleslaw recipe is on the lighter side. Slices of red and green cabbage, shredded carrots, and chives are coated in a dressing that uses very little mayonnaise along with tangy vinegar and the rich flavors of honey and dijon mustard.
I haven’t always enjoyed coleslaw because I didn’t like the taste of raw cabbage. However, a switch kicked in my taste buds, and now I love it to death! This recipe is one of my favorite slaw recipes. I have served it at several cookouts to accompany meat from David’s grill and smoker.
It’s easy to prepare too. The hardest part about making this slaw is allowing it to sit for an hour to allow the flavors to meld.
Ingredients Needed to Make This Recipe
First, let’s talk about the vegetables used in this slaw. Then we’ll dive into the delicious coleslaw dressing.
A detailed listing of ingredients is provided in the recipe card at the end of this post.
For the Veggies:
- Cabbage: Green and red cabbage are both used in this recipe. Using both provides the slaw with pretty color. Green cabbage offers a sweet, light flavor, while red cabbage is a little more robust in taste. You can use one or the other if you prefer.
- Carrot: Not only do carrots provide a more crunchy texture to the slaw, but they also add sweetness.
- Chives or Scallions: Chives add mild fresh flavor while green onions provide a little more. Both add a nice pop of green color.
For the Coleslaw Dressing:
- Mayonnaise: A standard ingredient in most slaw recipes. There is very little mayonnaise added to this recipe, but it provides enough creamy tang to complement the other dressing ingredients.
- Apple Cider Vinegar: Vinegar adds a fresh zippiness that awakens your palette.
- Honey: Instead of sugar, honey provides a sweet richness to the dressing and rounds out the flavor.
- Dijon Mustard: Only Dijon mustard can provide tang with a sharp, strong mustard flavor with a bit of spice. It complements the dressing beautifully!
- Seasonings: Caraway seeds and pepper are used to season the dressing, while salt pulls double-duty by adding flavor and breaking down the cabbage a bit, making it easier on the tooth.
About Caraway Seeds: Caraway seeds add a nutty bittersweet anise flavor to the slaw. To me, it wouldn’t be the same without them. Caraway seeds are an acquired flavor, so if you don’t have any or do not like them, a close substitute would be fennel seed.
I do not recommend celery seeds. I have used them before. If there is any leftover slaw, they put off a bitter flavor the next day. Yuck!
Tips for Making This Slaw:
- Bowl Size Matters: Having a huge bowl to toss the slaw in is a must! The cabbage will break down as it sits, but you need lots of room to toss the slaw in the beginning.
- Use a Jar: Alternatively, you can add the dressing ingredients to a jar with a lid and shake vigorously to combine.
- Texture: This slaw is all about the crunchy texture. For the best texture, I recommend thinly slicing the cabbage with a very sharp knife. A food processor practically obliterates the cabbage, which causes the cabbage to wilt and break down too quickly—the same with a box grater. Using a mandoline is fine, but then you have to clean it up afterward. Ultimately, use what you are most comfortable with using.
- Shredding the Carrots: I use a julienne slicer to slice the carrots into thin sticks. They are so much better than buying them pre-shredded at the store. You can buy one in a set like the one I have HERE.
- Make-Ahead: Make this slaw the day it is needed. I do not recommend making it too far in advance because the flavors mellow and are not as vibrant and fresh if made more than 8 hours ahead.
- Storage: Store in an air-tight container for up to 48-hours. Beyond that, it’s not that crunch, and it becomes too wet.
What to Serve this Slaw With
- SMOKED BABY BACK RIBS
- BACON-WRAPPED BBQ CHICKEN TENDERS
- GRILLED COUNTRY-STYLE PORK RIBS
- SMOKED BEEF TENDERLOIN
- FRIED WHITE PERCH
- BRINED SMOKED PORK SHOULDER
- BACON-WRAPPED BBQ CHICKEN LOLLIPOPS
- BAKED CHICKEN WINGS WITH DRY RUB
- BACON-WRAPPED HICKORY-SMOKED PORK LOIN
- AND SO MUCH MORE…
I hope this coleslaw recipe will make it to a cookout this summer. If it does, tell us what you think!
- ½ head red cabbage thinly sliced
- ½ head white cabbage thinly sliced
- 1 large carrot shredded
- 2 tablespoons chives or scallions, finely chopped
The Coleslaw Dressing:
- 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
- 2 tablespoons honey
- 2 tablespoons mayonnaise
- 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
- 1 teaspoon caraway seeds
- Kosher salt and freshly cracked black pepper to taste (a scant tsp of salt and ½ tsp pepper)
- It’s essential to put this slaw together at least one hour before eating to allow the cabbage to soften slightly and the meld flavors.
Chop the Veggies:
- Slice the green and red cabbage very thinly. Then cut the slices so that the pieces are about one to two inches long. Transfer to an extra-large mixing bowl.
- Next, peel and shred the carrot and add it to the bowl with the cabbage, along with the finely chopped chives.
Make the Coleslaw Dressing:
- In a small bowl, whisk together the vinegar, honey, mayonnaise, mustard, olive oil, and caraway seeds—season with salt and freshly cracked black pepper to taste.
Toss to Mix:
- Pour the coleslaw dressing over the cabbage, carrots, and chives. Use tongs to toss the mixture together. It’s important to toss the slaw with tongs to make sure the sauce coats the cabbage well.
Refrigerate and Serve:
- Refrigerate the coleslaw for at least one hour, occasionally tossing with tongs.
- Serve topped on your favorite sandwich or as a side dish to accompany your favorite meal from the grill.