Thursday, September 8, 2011

Foolproof Coleslaw

Mayonnaise and I have always had a volatile relationship.  When I was young, I was obsessed with the stuff.  It baffled me that my dad would diligently scrape off every last trace of mayo from his McDonald's chicken sandwiches; as far as I was concerned, the mayo was the best part!  The more, the better, was my philosophy.  Of course, that all changed one fateful afternoon when I decided to get a little inventive in the kitchen.  This is when I learned that generous spreads of mayo on both bread pieces plus in between bologna slices is always a bad idea.  Nauseous and betrayed, I went years without even looking at mayonnaise.

You know, mayonnaise is really polarizing--people either love it or hate it.  Personally, I'm back to loving it (in moderation).  It's all got me to thinking about another favorite of mine: coleslaw.  Why do people always hate on coleslaw?  Is it just those mayo-haters out there?  Some might blame the public school system, for years of indoctrination that cafeteria coleslaw=real-life coleslaw.  I don't even recall my school serving slaw, and yet I can easily picture those ubiquitous buckets filled with stringy slop.  But it's a lie!!!!  Actual coleslaw is tangy, sweet, crunchy, and above all, just bright.  There's nothing muddled at all in these flavors.

Best of all, you don't have to do much to make it delicious.  It's really just lightly dressed cabbage, and I think it should be clean, simple, and fresh.  And while I can't expect my version below to turn people into coleslaw-believers, I hope that at the very least I've demonstrated some hard-learned restraint in mayonnaise use.

Foolproof Coleslaw
Adapted from Smitten Kitchen
Total Recipe Cost= $3.16 for 6 servings!

Depending on how crispy or wilted you like your slaw, you can let your dressed cabbage sit for a while before eating.  Half hour is more than sufficient for my tastes 1) because I can never seem to wait any longer and 2) I like it crunchy (then it feels like I'm eating a healthy salad).

1/2 medium green cabbage
1/2 small red cabbage
1/2 cup mayonnaise
2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
2 teaspoons sugar
2 tablespoons Dijon mustard, whole-grain (I wouldn't skip the whole-grain, the texture is perfect!)

Thinly slice green and red cabbages into fine shreds.  Prepare the dressing by mixing the mayonnaise, vinegar, sugar, and mustard.  Toss the cabbage and dressing together to your desired sauciness--you may not need all of the dressing.  Though you won't need much at all, salt and pepper to taste.  Mix the coleslaw about half hour before eating, then dig in!

Unit Cost
Total Cost
½ medium green cabbage
½ small red cabbage
1 C mayonnaise
2 T Dijon mustard
2 T apple cider
2 t granulated sugar




Questions about the "Total Recipe Cost"?  Click here!


  1. But then I have 31 ounces of apple cider and two halves of assorted cabbages left in the fridge :-(

  2. melissa!!! LOVE the blog!! can't wait to see what you post next. :) and, of course, the most pressing question... what did you eat WITH your coleslaw?!

  3. Thanks Crystal! (ahem, Dr. Crystal...congrats!) As for the burger in the background... thank goodness for narrow depth of field! That was a total turkey-fail haha. It came out like sloppy-joe pieces, oops :)

  4. Melissa, you are so right on about coleslaw. For years I thought the only type was the vaguely predigested looking cafeteria variety. Add in my mayo anxiety and maybe you can understand why I avoided it for years. When I had fresh coleslaw for the first time last year I was surprised at the crisp and refreshing flavor- it seems to be the perfect complement to grilled dishes, burgers, dogs, and especially brats!

  5. I think I saw Rachel with leftovers from this dish today. I mean, what else could it have been? It was purple!

  6. Sandy: Don't worry, once I finally get around to doing a decent number of posts, I'll cross-link them together for rare ingredients. PS- cider vinegar is the best and so useful! I promise!

    Michael: Yeah, I completely agree with you! Watch out for a new mayo-less coleslaw recipe coming soon... I might even like it better than the regular kind!

    Linds: oh boy, if only I kept up with blog comments. haha I have no idea by now... but chances are it was! No idea what else I know how to cook that is purple!