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Easy Homemade Cole Slaw Recipe with Variations

There is no easier or quicker salad to make than cole slaw, y'all. Ok, maybe there is — but my homemade cole slaw recipe is pretty stinkin' quick and easy!  And when you make it yourself, it is SO MUCH YUMMIER than that nasty stuff you can buy in the store.

Not to mention much cheaper.  Cabbage is always very inexpensive per pound.  AND the variations are endless, so that it doesn't have to seem like the same thing over and over.  AND it goes with just about everything.  Mmmmm, just thinking about it makes me want to go make some more!  And did I mention CHEAP?! :-)

Other cole slaw recipes are too tart or the texture is too small. This one is creamy, yummy, quick, and easy! Check it out! Don't settle for store-bought again!

Of course you can go many places to find wonderful cole slaw recipes. Why should you use mine? Because my motto is “quick, easy, cheap, and no weird ingredients.” (I never actually put it into words before, but hey, it works.) When I post a recipe, it's all those things AND yummy. I am no gourmet — what I do is pretty basic fare — but it always goes over well.  So try it and see what you think! :-)

Note: I have a whole slew of “easy, cheap, and no weird ingredients” meal ideas in my ebook called 30+ Ridiculously Easy Dinners for Busy Families on a Budget. Take a look here: Easy Dinners Ebook.

When I make cole slaw, I like to make enough to last for DAYS.  So for the purposes of this post we'll do the whole thing from scratch.  Although I do often in my laziness buy a bag of pre-shredded slaw at the store and then add dressing, it doesn't end up making very much; and it doesn't taste as good.

Annie's Homemade Cole Slaw Recipe

1/2 large cabbage, shredded. You can do this by cutting the cabbage into quarters and then cutting out the core from each one; then you want to slice each quarter as finely as possible – and voilà, you have lovely shreds of cabbage that are not too tiny.

(I do NOT like coleslaw that is made out of chopped cabbage, especially when it's chopped so fine that it's like eating grains of couscous or quinoa.  Blecky.  I mean, that texture is great for couscous or quinoa, but not for cole slaw. Give me nice shreds of cabbage that are actually difficult to get on my fork and consequently drip down my chin any day.  It ain't good cole slaw if you don't get some dressing on your chin.  That is my humble opinion.)

Other cole slaw recipes are too tart or the texture is too small. This one is creamy, yummy, quick, and easy! Check it out! Don't settle for store-bought again!

Another way to shred it is to use your food processor – but do NOT use the chopping blade, or you'll end up with the aforementioned blecky little pieces.  Also do NOT use the shredding disk, because that will do the exact same thing, due to the structure of the cabbage. DO use the SLICING disk. Your shreds will not be as long and lovely as if you had used your own hands and a knife, but they will still be shreds as opposed to granules.

1/2 onion, shredded or coarsely chopped. The idea is for the cabbage and the onions (and carrots) to have the same general size. You don't want finely chopped onion alongside your beautiful shreds of cabbage.  You can cut the onion in halves or quarters and then slice thinly to achieve lovely shreds.

2-3 carrots, grated or coarsely chopped. Use a cheese grater for lovely carrot shreds — this is the worst part of the whole recipe (grated knuckles and fingernails are the danger here), but I usually think it's worth it.  If you're PMSing or in other emotional distress, however, this is not a good activity to engage in.  Chopping will be much safer.  Or the food processor with the shredding disk.

Throw this all in a LARGE bowl and toss it together.

Other cole slaw recipes are too tart or the texture is too small. This one is creamy, yummy, quick, and easy! Check it out! Don't settle for store-bought again!
This bowl is 11 inches in diameter. You don't want to fill it up too much or it will be difficult to mix in the dressing.

Use a whisk to stir together:

1 1/2 cups mayo (can cut some sour cream into that for an even richer taste – but don't use more than half sour cream)
3 tablespoons red wine vinegar (standard white vinegar works in a pinch)
2-3 tablespoons sugar (to taste, really)
salt & pepper to taste
dash of cayenne pepper or hot pepper sauce

These measurements will make plenty of dressing, so if you prefer more dry cole slaw, you may want to add it slowly until you have the amount you like.  I like mine very creamy and moist, so I will dump the whole thing in.

(However, to be perfectly honest with you, I don't usually use measurements any more when I make this dressing. I just throw in a scoop of this and a spoonful of that of the above ingredients until I like how it tastes.  What that means is you can use these measurements if you need to and will feel more secure, and you'll have great dressing. But if you want to just take the list of ingredients and be more free with the amounts, you'll still be happy. I'm all about making things easy, remember? Don't sweat it.)

After this is all whisked together and there are no lumps, stir it throughout the cabbage mixture until all those lovely veggies are evenly coated. And you are done!

You can serve this right away or let it chill for a bit. Mmmm, this stuff is good. Goes great with hamburgers or hot dogs or ON TOP OF a barbecue sandwich (if you have never tried that you are missing out on one of life's pleasures) or with a steak fresh off the grill.

Other cole slaw recipes are too tart or the texture is too small. This one is creamy, yummy, quick, and easy! Check it out! Don't settle for store-bought again!

Cole Slaw Variations

*Don't add the carrots but do add some chopped fresh tomato and some celery seed. This is an old-fashioned twist that I think deserves a comeback.

*Add chopped apple and raisins and use honey instead of sugar.

*Add some dried ramen noodles and some cashews and a dash or two of soy sauce. (Both the ramen noodles and the soy sauce will have gluten, however. Just an FYI.)

*Add pineapple bits or orange chunks. Maybe even some mini marshmallows.

You can see that the variations are only limited by what you can dream up.  Which means you can eat cole slaw all summer long and never get bored!

So don't buy store-made cole slaw again!! This cole slaw recipe is so quick to throw together and so cheap, and it makes such a ridiculously nice amount – don't settle for second best. This is comfort food for the whole family — give them all a great big virtual hug by providing cole slaw that is wholesome, healthy, and homemade (oooo see what I did there? :-) ).

Do you have a favorite cole slaw recipe variation?

Don't forget to take a look at 30+ Ridiculously Easy Dinners for Busy Families on a Budget!

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