Carrot and Red Cabbage Coleslaw is the best of both worlds. It is a little bit creamy and a little bit vinegary, which is a combination of the two sides of the coleslaw debate. Vibrantly colourful and super crunchy, this coleslaw will brighten up any plate as a side, or make it a perfect addition to sandwiches, tacos, burritos, burgers, and hot dogs too!
The Thomas-Ewing household loves a good coleslaw. We eat coleslaw quite often – even in the winter! I know that coleslaw is usually considered a summer side dish, but when something tastes this good, why limit it to such a short season? One can never have too many variations on a coleslaw recipe. Unlike most people, I don’t associate coleslaw with summertime. We have coleslaw regularly throughout the year. But, not any coleslaw will do, as you can see from my Carrot and Red Cabbage Coleslaw.
We often eat coleslaw as a quick weeknight side dish. It’s so easy to prepare and goes great with chicken fingers or a salmon burger. Oftentimes, I’ll serve coleslaw with a sandwich, a few chips, and a dill pickle. Because dinnertime doesn’t have to be extravagant. It just has to be delicious and have variety.
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WHY HAVE ONE WHEN YOU CAN HAVE… MANY!?
I have my standard Home Style Cream Coleslaw, which is the one I grew up with. My mom made this one quite often. During the warmer months, I prefer to have either this Dill Pickle Coleslaw or my Jalapeno Buttermilk Ranch Coleslaw. And, in the cooler months, it’s got to be my Toasted Cashews and Brussels Sprouts Coleslaw or this Healthy Winter Coleslaw. They’re all very delicious, but sometimes, food just fits a certain season.
The thing about coleslaw is that it’s hard to make one that tastes terrible. And, even if you do, it’s easy to correct it. You can always add more dressing, more veggies, more seasonings, etc. The most important thing about any coleslaw is to let it sit in the fridge for a few hours before eating it. It will always taste better a few hours later.
There are some steadfast rules about making a really great tasting coleslaw. And, there are rules that are meant to be broken. The only rules I abide by are the following. First, pineapple does not belong in coleslaw. Period. It doesn’t belong on pizza either, but that’s a topic for another time and place.
CHOPPED, SHREDDED, OR GRATED?
When it comes to preparing vegetables, I’m a masochist. I actually do find so much pleasure in chopping vegetables. It’s my version of therapy! If you don’t care to spend the time to chop, you can shred, grate, dice to your hearts content using your food processor.
Here’s the thing though. A food processor will most likely over process. I like the inconsistency of handmade. I like the feeling of a job well done once all of that chopping is out of the way. More importantly, I’d rather wash up one knife and a cutting board rather than a 6-piece food processor! I think the only ingredients in this recipe that need special attention are the cabbage and the carrots. I’ll explain both.
INGREDIENTS NEEDED TO PREPARE THIS RECIPE
The following is a list of the ingredients needed to prepare this recipe. For exact amounts and measurements, refer to the printable recipe card located near the bottom of this post.
- Red Cabbage – In comparison to green cabbage, red cabbage can taste a little more peppery, but almost never does! It has a very deep purple colour which can bleed easily and stain your cutting board, so be warned. Green cabbage can certainly be substituted here if you don’t have red cabbage.
- Carrots – I like to use smaller carrots rather than larger carrots when eating them raw. Smaller carrots tend to taste sweeter.
- Green Onions – I don’t often use green onions in coleslaw, but the bright and fresh flavour adds a wonderful taste, and the colour is very pretty too.
- Parsley – This will add both colour and freshness.
- Mayonnaise – There’s not a whole lot of mayonnaise in this coleslaw so it won’t be super creamy even though it looks like it might be. The vinegar will cut the creaminess a lot.
- Vinegar – I’m using apple cider vinegar. You can use other vinegars like champagne, rice, white, etc., but nothing extremely strong like malt or balsamic.
- Sugar – Just a bit of sweetness is needed to offset the saltiness of the mayo and the acidity in the vinegar.
- Celery Seeds – This spice is made from the seeds of wild celery. The stalks and leaves of wild celery have a stronger flavor than common celery, so the wild variety is typically only used as the source of seeds for celery seed spice. Although they are tiny, celery seeds are in fact the whole, dried fruit of the wild celery plant.
- Salt & Ground Black Pepper
HOW TO MAKE CARROT AND RED CABBAGE COLESLAW
Making a coleslaw is so easy it hardly requires instructions at all! But, there is just one thing that I do regularly when making coleslaw. I will always whisk the dressing or sauce ingredients together first before adding it to the bowl of prepared vegetables. I know some people just measure everything into the bowl and toss it all together, but I find that I get better coverage and a more equal dispersing of the dressing if I do it my way.
So, when your veggies are all prepared, toss them into a large mixing bowl and set it aside. Add the mayonnaise, vinegar, sugar, celery seeds, salt, and ground black pepper to a bowl and whisk to combine. Pour the dressing over the veggies and use tongs to toss until well coated.
Either cover the bowl or transfer the mixture to a food-safe container with a tight fitting lid. Refrigerate for at least one hour before serving. This type of coleslaw is best when it is cold and once the veggies have had time to absorb that delicious dressing. In fact, I prefer to make coleslaw earlier in the day if I’m serving it for dinner, that way, it will sit in the fridge for six to eight hours, making it even better!
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HOW TO CUT CABBAGE
Preparing the cabbage can be daunting though. Let’s face it – cabbages are big and can be rather tough to cut through. I have watched home cooks butcher a cabbage simply because they did not cut it properly. The first thing you want to do is to cut the cabbage into manageable pieces.
Turn the cabbage upside down so that the core if facing up. Using a very large knife, cut through the center of the core, halving the whole cabbage into two even sections. Repeat with each half so that you have quartered the entire cabbage.
The key to easy chopping for this coleslaw is to keep the core intact. Do not remove it. It will hold all of those leaves in place. Working with one quarter at a time, start at the top and cut across the leaves in 1/4 inch slices. Once you reach the core, stop and discard the core section. Use your hands to toss the cut cabbage to loosen it. Add it to a bowl and move on to the other sections. If you do not need to use all it of, wrap the quarters into plastic wrap and keep in the crisper section of your fridge.
Alternatively, you can use a vegetable peeler like I did in this case. Carefully pull the peeler across the cut surface of the cabbage, starting near the core where the leaves are held in tact. Pull downward to make long, thin shreds. You can shred or chop; whatever is easier for you!
PREPARING THE CARROTS
As mentioned in the carrot section above, I used my vegetable peeler to shred the cabbage. I also used my vegetable peeler to prepare the carrots. I removed the skin and trimmed the ends. Then, working with one carrot at a time, I laid the carrot flat on a cutting board and used my vegetable peeler to peel thin strips from the carrot in about two inch lengths. As you go, slightly turn the carrot so that you are shredding it around the perimeter rather than flat.
Please note you can also julienne the carrots. To julienne is the process of slicing vegetables into what some refer to as matchsticks. It’s very thin, very sleek, sticks of vegetables – in this case, carrots.
Start by peeling the carrot and washing it. I like to pat the carrot dry with a paper towel. This helps to keep it from slipping on the cutting board. Lay the carrot with the fat end closest to you. The carrot should be on an extreme diagonal. Slice the carrot into very thin slices – about 1/8th of an inch.
Once done, pile about six or so of the carrot slices on top of each other. Next, slice down through the pile to create matchstick pieces. This is referred to as julienning. If this isn’t clear, you can watch a video here.
Okay, this is getting a little long-winded, so I’ll go ahead and tie it all up now. When the dressing is ready, the veggies are prepped, and you’re good and hungry, toss everything together and go! It couldn’t be easier! Carrot and Red Cabbage Coleslaw is delicious and quite refreshing. I personally like to serve it with a steak or a burger. That’s just how I roll.
If you have any leftovers, don’t worry. From the time you toss all of the ingredients together, you can refrigerate this dish for up to two days. Yes, it will certainly last that long in your fridge and still look and taste fresh!
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Carrot and Red Cabbage Coleslaw
- 8 cups red cabbage, shredded
- 1 cup carrot, shredded
- 1/4 cup green onions, sliced
- 1/4 cup parsley, chopped
- 3/4 cup mayonnaise
- 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon celery seeds
- 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- Place prepared veggies in a large mixing bowl. Set aside.
- Add the mayonnaise, vinegar, sugar, celery seeds, salt, and ground black pepper to a bowl and whisk to combine.
- Pour the dressing over the veggies and use tongs to toss until well coated.
- Either cover the bowl or transfer the mixture to a food-safe container with a tight fitting lid. Refrigerate for at least one hour before serving.
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