Coleslaw Primer

This isn’t so much a recipe but rather some guiding principles to help you GET YOUR SLAW ON! For the longest time making slaw confounded me… not sure why, but it did. I think my problem was rooted tasting too many slaws that were overly creamy, cloyingly sweet, just turned me off the stuff. Looking at recipes just perpetuated my unfavorable feelings toward coleslaw… A cup of mayo to one head of cabbage just grossed me out! And really, why would you need a 1/3 cup of sugar when you can add carrots for sweetness?!

But, I continued to have this nagging feeling that slaw should be a perfect way to eat the contents of my box — grated and shredded raw veggies dressed and ready to chow on. I was convinced that light, tasty slaws was doable so last year I decided to get over my intimidation and started experimenting.  I have concurred my slaw phobia and confirmed that it’s a grate way (pun intended) to eat your box! Read on.

The simplest expression of coleslaw is finely sliced cabbage with a dressing of fat, vinegar, sugar, mustard, salt & pepper. The fat could be thick cream (sweet or sour), mayonnaise, buttermilk, yogurt, oil, or any combination of the above. I have found that I like a dressing that is equal parts fat & vinegar, but I have a bit of a sour tooth. 2 parts fat to 1 part sour also works well. For the sour, vinegar is most common and cider is best, but using lime or lemon juice as well is yummy.

About the veg in your slaw, clearly cabbage is king… but you certainly don’t need to stop there! Open up your box any week and you easily have 2 more vegetables can you add — if you have a mandoline you can easily grate or thinly slice any or all of the following to add to your cabbage: Carrots, Beets (peel and grate raw), fennel, cucumber, kale, collard greens, celery, celeriac, onions, garlic, fresh herbs… Get the idea?

Here are a couple of dressing bases to start you off on your own exploration and when I say season to taste… I mean it! Taste as you go and add seasonings to suit your needs or your pantry. Experiment and enjoy.


1/4 C mayo

1/4 C buttermilk, yogurt or sour cream

1/2 C cider vinegar

1-2 tsp mustard, dry or prepared

1/2 tsp kosher salt

Freshly ground pepper

For a little heat some paprika, cayenne or Aleppo pepper



1/4 C toasted peanut oil (I like Spectrum) or olive oil

Juice and zest of one lime

1 T cider or wine vinegar (if you don’t have lime juice on hand, then just use 2 T vinegar)

1/2 tsp kosher salt

Freshly ground pepper

Now for the flavors, depending on my mood I might add the following:

1/2 tsp fish sauce (for a Vietnamese umami hit)

Sriracha hot sauce