The Best Homemade Coleslaw

The Best Homemade Coleslaw is packed with shredded cabbage, carrots, green pepper and onions. Lightly dressed with a vinaigrette/mayo/sour cream combo. You will turn to this deluxe coleslaw time and time again.

The Best Homemade Coleslaw

I make coleslaw all the time. It’s quick and easy for weeknight dinner and also the one salad my four year old will eat happily. But it’s also perfect for a crowd and can accompany pretty much anything. This recipe has been achieved by years of conscientious coleslaw making and is the secret weapon you need in your kitchen.

Coleslaw or just ‘slaw’ if you’re being ultra casj can be eaten with anything. It’s a plain fact.

(p.s. don’t whatever you do get sucked down a half hour rabbit hole like I just did about how you should spell the abbreviation of casual – the outcome was that the internet has no ruddy idea)

  • Barbecues
  • Jacket potato
  • Roast Chicken
  • Sandwiches
  • Picnics
  • Glazed Christmas Ham (yup I serve it with my ham every year)
  • Pizza (coleslaw is a non-negotiable accompaniment in our house)

The Best Homemade Coleslaw coleslaw is light, creamy, packed with veg and is a salad for people who don’t really like salads.
With all this slaw action it’s imperative you have a really good recipe up your sleeve

The Best Homemade Coleslaw

What vegetables do you put in the best homemade coleslaw?

For this version we’ll keep things traditional but there may be a slight twist for the last ingredient:

  • cabbage
  • carrot
  • red onion
  • green pepper

Cabbage

The cabbage gives good body to the salad, ensuring that the slaw doesn’t get weighed down or watery. I agree with Felicity Cloake that if it doesn’t contain cabbage then it’s a salad not a coleslaw.

TIP: If you can’t get hold of white cabbage then try either green cabbage or chinese leaf. Savoy cabbage is not right here.

Carrots

Carrots add the sweetness. The better carrot you buy the more flavour will go into your coleslaw. Carrots is one of the veggies which I will always buy from the farmers’ market, They need to be firm with good depth of flavour. These carrots are a completely different beast to the watery wobbly ones you can buy from the supermarket.

Red Onion

The final component is the onion. Now you might be tempted to bung any old eye shredding white onion which has been languishing in your veg box all week. Step away my friend as that baby is far too pungent. Instead choose a milder red onion.

Substitution for red onion. Spring onion can be substituted but do make sure you slice into ribbons lengthways. I am a stickler for all of the veg being uniformly cut.

Green Pepper

It’s certainly not traditional but green pepper is our secret weapon in this coleslaw. Now, green pepper may not be to everyone’s taste as it has a slight bitterness. This is exactly why we include it here as it contrasts so perfectly with the creamy dressing. It cuts through the richness of the mayo and adding piquancy to the finished result.

If you don’t like green pepper then just leave it out, but by no means substitute it with red or yellow or orange as they would be overpowering. The carrot is all the sweetness you need.

Alternative veg for coleslaw

I actually don’t agree that you can just include any veg or fruit languishing at the bottom of your fridge and expect it to work. You need your selection to be firm and stand up to the creamy dressing so it doesn’t become watery. Nevertheless there are lots to choose from. Why not try:

  • Red cabbage
  • Beetroot – which will also colour your slaw an attractive pink
  • Fennel
  • Celeriac
  • Radish
  • Kohlrabi
  • Apple – yes this is a fruit but it’s fantastic in coleslaw

TOP TIP: Whatever vegetables you choose be sure to slice them all the same size and shape. I recommend long thin strips.

The Best Homemade Coleslaw

The best way to prepare veg for a quick coleslaw

The best way to shred raw vegetables for coleslaw is using the grating attachments which comes with your food processor. These create neat clean shreds which don’t turn to mush like a regular grater. I have a Magimix and two attachments, one for a fine shred and one for a wider shred. If you are buying a food processor check to see if these attachments come as standard.

However, if you don’t have a food processor or access to these fancypants attachments then a julienne grater will become your best friend. This grater is fantastic as it invokes minimal mess and is very easy to dash under the water for a quick clean afterwards. You should be so lucky with your food processor.

Julienne graters are inexpensive to buy and I have found mine invaluable, using it almost everyday to julienne one bit of veg or another.

However there is one exception to this method of preparation:

Always slice the onion by hand

Slicing the onion by hand is imperative as when chucked in the food processor the onion flavour is heightened and completely overpowers the coleslaw.

Cutting the onion by hand from end to end yields a milder flavour.

Now slicing the onion is a job that under no circumstances do I give to my husband. Despite my instructions he always insists on cutting the onion up into finger sized wedges. This only leads me to picking it all out when it gets to my plate. If you are too heavy handed with the onion then the whole thing is ruined.

The onion should be sliced so that it barely resembles a piece of onion at all but rather a delightfully transparent spider web. This way it can be mixed more thoroughly into the coleslaw so that each bite has just a hint of onion tang.

The Best Homemade Coleslaw

How do you make the best coleslaw dressing?

The dressing of one’s coleslaw also requires a bit of thought. Traditionally you might choose to slather the vegetable ensemble with copious amounts of mayonnaise. However, I think that is a mistake as it weighs the ingredients down. Other slaw recipes might just add a bit of and oil and vinegar to create a light vinaigrette. However for the Best Homemade Coleslaw you need the best of both worlds and the following ingredients:

  • olive oil
  • white wine vinegar
  • mustard
  • mayonnaise
  • sour cream

Here we whisk up a small amount of mustard, oil and vinegar into a thick emulsion, just like a regular vinaigrette. Then add, not just a tablespoon of mayonnaise, but also a tablespoon of sour cream. The sour cream completely lightens the effect of the mayo.

Alternatives to sour cream. I have also used greek yoghurt for the same effect which lends a great tang. However, if you need a dairy-free coleslaw then just use coconut cream.

The Mustard

Now, the controversial part which my Mum was a little unsure about when I went to use it – the mustard used in the dressing. I could see her Britishness struggle for air inside when I reached for the French’s yellow mustard. In her words, she sees it as a mere burger mustard, only to be brought out at barbecues and used with irony.

She is right that yellow mustard doesn’t have the sophistication of Dijon or the pomposity of Coleman’s English Mustard but it does have a unique tang which isn’t dominating or too heady on the nose. Here it happily bunks down with the other ingredients to achieve the lightness and flavour we are aiming for.

UPDATE: Recently I have been having huge success with swapping out the yellow mustard for Honey Dijon. It adds sweetness and tang. Try Maille Honey Dijon Mustard.

So once all our ingredients are ready then there’s nothing more to do than mix them all up into one gloriously creamy mess.

TOP TIP: Leave the coleslaw for at least an hour after you’ve tossed it. This gives the vegetables time to soften and the flavour to become a cohesive whole, rather than a ragtag assembly.

The Best Homemade Coleslaw

This recipe makes a whole bunch of deluxe coleslaw, suitable for at least 8-10 if you’re having it as an accompaniment to a main meal. However for a light lunch I quite often have a bowlful of coleslaw with some grilled chicken arranged artfully on top. This version is light enough that you can do that and if so then it will serve 4.

Are you looking for alternative salad suggestions? Why not try:

Simple Brown Rice Salad with Pesto Vinaigrette

Roasted Cauliflower Salad

Coronation Chicken Wild Rice Salad

If you make The Best Homemade Coleslaw then please leave a comment below and/or give the recipe a rating. If you then go on to use this recipe as a launch pad for your own baking creation then I’d also love it if you’d share it and tag me on Instagram. It is so lovely for me to see your versions and variations of my recipes.

The Best Homemade Coleslaw

A light and creamy traditional coleslaw
Prep Time30 mins
Total Time30 mins
Course: Side Dish
Cuisine: British
Servings: 8 people
Calories: 60kcal

Ingredients

  • ½ small white cabbage sliced very very thinly
  • 2 carrots julienned
  • 1 red onion sliced very very thinly
  • 1 green pepper sliced very very thinly
  • 1 teaspoon Frenchie’s mustard
  • 1 teaspoon white wine vinegar
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground white pepper
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon mayonnaise
  • 1 tablespoon sour cream
  • pomegranate seeds optional
  • small handful parsley leaves chopped roughly (optional)

Instructions

  • In a large bowl toss together the sliced cabbage, onion, green pepper and julienned carrot and set aside whilst you prepare the dressing.
  • In a small bowl whisk together the mustard, white wine vinegar and seasoning until thoroughly combined and the salt has dissolved.
  • Drizzle in gradually the olive oil, whisking all the while until it has reached a thick emulsion.
  • Add the mayonnaise and sour cream and again whisk in until completely combined.
  • Pour the dressing over the vegetables and toss together until the dressing is evenly dispersed throughout.
  • Serve with a scattering of pomegranate seeds and chopped parsley.

Notes

  • Dress the coleslaw at least an hour before serving so that the vegetables can soften and the flavours can meld together.

Nutrition

Calories: 60kcal | Carbohydrates: 7g | Protein: 1g | Fat: 4g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 2mg | Sodium: 187mg | Potassium: 191mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 4g | Vitamin A: 2670IU | Vitamin C: 34.7mg | Calcium: 34mg | Iron: 0.4mg

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Mango Chutney

Mango Chutney is sweetly spiced and a wonderful accompaniment for Indian curries, cheese sandwiches or salads.

Mango Chutney
This is my first chutney of the year.  I managed to divest my laden larder with a good majority of pickles, jams and chutneys over the festive period but now it’s about the time where I start to build up my stores again.

If I am honest I made this chutney a few weeks ago when the calls of our local Fruit and Veg man hollering outside Finsbury Park asking us to ‘Taste the mango’ got the better of me.  I did want to taste the mango.  Then it reminded me how long it’s been since I had a good cheese and mango chutney sandwich.  Since I didn’t have any mangos in, I put the abundance of mangoes on the stall to good use and stirred up a very quick and fragrant chutney that afternoon.  I followed Diana Henry’s advice on mango chutney but did not carry through the hotness of her recipe, instead toning it down as I wanted to create something more subtle.

Mango Chutney and Cheese Sandwiches

Cheese loves a good mellow chutney or jam and mango chutney is a perfect partner. I particularly like a softly spiced version so that the delicate mango flavour isn’t powered out, bedding down nicely a good crumbly cheese.

This classic sandwich combination always reminds me of my mother who at the mere mention of mango chutney will without fail wax lyrical about a good mango chutney and cheese sandwich. And with good reason, a generous dollop of sticky chutney oozing out a toasted sandwich filled with gooey English cheddar is truly a magnificent lunch and reminds me a lot of my childhood.

How to use Mango Chutney

My current favourite use is to add a delicate amount to a salad of nutty emmental, cucumber and iceberg lettuce. All you need then is a drizzle of olive oil and some salt and pepper to finish it off. The mango chutney adds a lovely balance of sweet and sourness to this simple salad.

And of course, it would be remiss not to discuss how a lovely tablespoon of this chutney added to a homemade curry can provide its own dimension to the recipe, adding a mellowed sweetness to counteract your spicing.

Mango Chutney

If you are a chutney fan then allow me to suggest these pretty fab recipes:

Apple and Stem Ginger Chutney
Boxing Day Ale Chutney
Piccalilli
Courgette Relish

If you make this Mango Chutney then please leave a comment below and/or give the recipe a rating. If you then go on to use this recipe as a launch pad for your own baking creation then I’d also love it if you’d share it and tag me on Instagram. It is so lovely for me to see your versions and variations of my recipes.

Mango Chutney

A sweetly spiced chutney, aromatic with mango
Prep Time20 mins
Cook Time30 mins
Course: Condiment
Cuisine: Indian
Servings: 40 servings
Calories: 75kcal

Ingredients

  • 6 mangos
  • ¼ teaspoon whole cloves
  • 8 cardamom pods de-shelled
  • 1.5 teaspoons coriander seeds
  • 4 black peppercorns
  • 1 teaspoon black mustard seeds
  • 500 g onions diced
  • 500 g granulated sugar
  • 600 ml cider vinegar
  • 3 green chillies deseeded
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 30 g fresh ginger diced finely
  • 2 limes

Instructions

  • Peel the mangos and cut the flesh of the fruit from around the middle stone. Chop the fruit into cubes, there might not be much uniformity from the flesh cut close from the stone. Set aside.
  • In a large preserving pan toast the cloves, cardamom seeds, coriander seeds, black peppercorns and mustard seeds over a low heat for a minute or so to release their fragrance.
  • Add the diced onions, sugar, vinegar and chillies to the pan, bring to a gentle simmer and cook through for about 10 minutes.
  • Add the mango, nutmeg, ginger and the zest of both of the limes. Bring to a boil, then simmer for about 20 minutes until the mixture is jam like.
  • Juice the limes then stir through the chutney for the last couple of minutes of cooking.
  • Decant into sterilised jars.

Notes

  • Adapted from Diana Henry’s Very Hot Mango Chutney in ‘Salt Sugar Smoke’
  • The chutney is best left for at least 4 weeks for the flavour to mature.
  • To sterilise the jars place the very clean jars you would like to use in an oven pre-heated to 140°C for 20 minutes. Sterilise the lids by dropping them into a saucepan of boiling water for 10 minutes with a splash of vinegar. I don’t sterilise my lids in the oven as they tend to ruin.
  • The chutney will keep up to a year if stored in a cool dark place.

Nutrition

Calories: 75kcal | Carbohydrates: 18g | Protein: 1g | Fat: 1g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Sodium: 13mg | Potassium: 79mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 17g | Vitamin A: 270IU | Vitamin C: 10.5mg | Calcium: 9mg | Iron: 0.2mg

Carottes Râpées

Carottes Râpées is an extremely simple and classic French salad which is best made with the sweetest garden carrots.

Carrot Salad on a plate with a fork

Carottes Râpées is a staple in every French bistro and not something I would usually order if I’m paying for a meal as it just seems too simple. However, my head was turned recently when I met a friend for a quick lunch at Brasserie Zédel in Piccadilly Circus where it is served as part of their set lunch menu. The salad which was served to us with efficiency, humbly domed on its small plate, didn’t look like much but on first bite this little salad shocked me into silence. You know a good restaurant dish when the next day you have recreated it in your kitchen and then you do the same the next day and the next day. And there are few restaurant dishes which are this easy to replicate.

What is Carottes Râpées

Carottes Râpées is a simple French salad of julienned carrots and finely chopped parsley dressed in a white wine vinaigrette.

Use the Best Ingredients

This salad may be one of the easiest recipes I’ve shared but that doesn’t mean it should be tossed together willy nilly. The fine cast of ingredients is improved immeasurably by making sure you get the best you can afford or get hold of. Here I like to use a variety of coloured carrots, purple, yellow and orange. The beauty of these different coloured carrots which are on offer at farmers’ markets mean that the salad doesn’t look or taste like a poor man’s supper but a rich man’s bounty.

Carrot Salad on a plate with a fork

How to Make the Best Vinaigrette

Unfortunately vinaigrette is one of those recipes which will accept no substitutions. Do invest in decent extra virgin olive oil, excellent Maille mustard and a delicate white wine vinegar. I recommend chardonnay wine vinegar as it’s not so acetic and imparts its own fruity flavour instead of just having a one note sharpness that most commercial vinegars are saddled with. I recommend unequivocally Forvm Chardonnay vinegar which is made in a family winery just outside Barcelona. I limit its usage to salad dressings so it lasts an age and makes every salad fantastically delicious.

Don’t Rush the Dressing

The key word in making a dressing is emulsify. Whisk the dressing in stages. Take time to ensure the salt has dissolved into the vinegar before adding the mustard. Whisk until the mustard and vinegar are completely smooth. Then drizzle the oil in carefully with one hand whilst the other is whisking it swiftly into the other ingredients, emulsifying it together. This means your dressing will suspend all the different elements together without the threat of being oily. The dressing should be thick, smooth, fruity and tangy. Whilst the vinaigrette is fully emulsified pour the just whisked vinaigrette straightaway onto your carrots.

You May Like These Other Salad Recipes:

Garbage Salad
Simple Brown Rice Salad with Pesto Vinaigrette
Roast Cauliflower Salad with Turmeric Tahini Dressing

If you make Carottes Râpées then please leave a comment below and/or give the recipe a rating. If you then go on to use this recipe as a launch pad for your own baking creation then I’d also love it if you’d share it and tag me on Instagram. It is so lovely for me to see your versions and variations of my recipes.

Carottes Râpées

Carottes Râpées is an extremely simple and classic French salad which is best made with the sweetest garden carrots.
Prep Time15 mins
Course: Salad
Cuisine: French

Ingredients

  • 3 large carrots
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • 2 teaspoons chardonnay wine vinegar
  • 1/4 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon cracked black pepper
  • ½ garlic clove crushed
  • 30 ml olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon roughly chopped parsley

Instructions

  • Julienne the carrots then set aside.
  • In a small bowl whisk the vinegar and salt until the salt has dissolved.
  • Add the Dijon, whisking with confidence until it has emulsified with the vinegar.
  • Add the garlic and black pepper.
  • With one hand continually whisking, use your other hand to slowly drizzle in the oil. In a similar method to making mayonnaise you want the oil to be captured by the other ingredients coming together to create a creamy dressing.
  • Pour the dressing onto the carrots, tossing together with the parsley.
  • Serve immediately to avoid any wilting.

Notes

Julienne is a French vegetable preparation technique. It is very easy for the home cook to replicate using either a julienne peeler or the correct attachment of a food processor

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