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Red's Coleslaw

Red's Coleslaw

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Al Gagnon was an intuitive chef who relied on sight and taste, not measuring cups, to make delicious food. The cooks at Red's Eats have preserved this approach, as this coleslaw recipe attests.


* The Cook editors at The Daily Meal found that 1 cup of mayonnaise gives the perfect consistency to the dressing, that 2 teaspoons of sugar is just the right amount of sugar, and that ¼ cup of apple cider is the perfect amount to thin out the dressing and add the right amount of tang.

This recipe was adapted from Red's Eats: World's Best Lobster Shack by Debbie Gagnon Cronk and Virginia Wright (Down East 2010).


  • 1 head cabbage
  • 2 large carrots
  • Mayonnaise, to taste*
  • Sugar, to taste*
  • Apple cider vinegar, to taste*

Oil Free Red Cabbage Coleslaw

So it’s BBQ time. Time to enjoy outside time with friends. Often, this means meat, chips, and salads laced with tons of mayo. It doesn’t have to be that way. I always come prepared to a party by bringing 1 or 2 dishes I know that I will want to eat and enough to share with others. Coleslaw is easy to make, and feeds a crowd for virtually pennies. This version is crisp, refreshing, and oil free unlike most versions.

Red cabbage is full of nutrients. Cabbage is a member of the cruciferous family. These veggies have powerful antioxidants, called polyphenols, linked to preventing cancer, heart disease, and diabetes. They should be consumed at least 5x’s a week, and help to detoxify the body. Red cabbage, vs white, has great amount of antioxidants. It’s packed with fiber, and therefore, helps tremendously in lowering cholesterol and boosting digestive health. Cabbage is also packed with Vitamin C, K, B6, manganese, and many other micronutrients. Eating cabbage raw, or very shortly cooked/steamed, provides the most benefits, with benefits diminishing strongly the longer the food is cooked. For more information on the health benefits of cabbage, click here.

I use Bragg’s raw apple cider for this recipe. I love Bragg’s! It’s raw, unfiltered so you get the true benefit of the fermentation process. If you’re new to this vinegar, you’ll see a cloudy mass on the bottom of the bottle. This is good! It’s called the “mother”, and is what provides its powerful fermented benefits. Fermented foods help the re-establish gut bacteria. Be sure to shake the bottle up before using it.

I have an overabundance of dill right now in the garden. There is a reason it’s called dill weed. It self-sows and comes back each year with a vengeance. It’s easy to dry so that you can have it during the winter. Simply pick it at its root, and hang it upside down to dry. Once dry, store in a glass jar out of direct light. I love dill in this recipe because it adds that extra burst of fresh flavor. If you love dill, add more!

This slaw can’t be easier to make and it can be made the day ahead! Win win!! I love my salads crunchy, so I wait to add the sunflower seeds until right before eating for maximum crunch factor. Those sunflower seeds pack in their own awesome nutrition. They’re high in Vitamin E and magnesium, both vitamins great at lowering LDL cholesterol and boosting heart health. Magnesium is especially great for those suffering from migraines. Eating more raw foods helps your body to better absorb the wonderful enzymes in fresh food. Cooking denatures these enzymes. Try adding raw foods into your diet every day. They energize and help cellular regeneration.


  • Most of a head of red cabbage, shredded or chopped finely (8 cups)
  • 2 1/2 cups of shredded or julienne carrots
  • 1/2 cup + 2 tbsp apple cider vinegar (we use Bragg’s raw)
  • 3/4 tsp salt
  • 2 tbsp maple syrup, agave, or honey
  • 1 cup of scallions
  • 1 cup parsley
  • 3 tbsp freshly chopped dill (or more to taste)
  • pepper to taste
  • 1 cup sunflower seeds


  1. Mix all ingredients in a large bowl, reserving sunflower seeds until ready to serve to provide maximum crunch. Add them in right before serving.
  2. Chill for a few hours before serving, to let flavors marinate. Can be made the day before and leftovers will last throughout the week.
  3. Makes a great topper for traditional salads, or as a topping for a veggie burger, like my Sweet Potato Veggie Burger, or Real Deal Veggie Burger and serve with a side of Vegetarian Baked Beans!

Creamy Red Cabbage Coleslaw

Homemade coleslaw from scratch is better than he shop-bought version, so why not give it a go? This post includes tips and serving suggestion ideas including recipes.

How to make red cabbage coleslaw with mayonnaise

Thinly slice cabbage, onion and shred carrot. Finely chop celery. Transfer these into a large bowl and add mayonnaise, celery salt, pepper, vinegar and lemon juice. Mix well.

Taste and add more seasoning/vinegar/lemon juice, if you feel it is needed.

Tips for making red cabbage slaw

  • You can change the quantities of the ingredients, if you like.
  • This recipe can be easily doubled, if needed.
  • Make sure to store any leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge.
  • You can use any mayonnaise you like and if you don’t have it on hand, you can make homemade mayonnaise.
  • I used yellow onion, but you can use any kind you like. It does not really matter here. What is important though is slicing it thin so that the slices blend with the rest of the ingredients and are not over-powering.
  • For seasoning I opted for celery salt. It does give this homemade coleslaw a nice flavor, but if you don’t have it, just use regular salt instead.
  • The best tool to mix all the ingredients well is a pair of kitchen tongs (see the link below) or at least that is what I love using, as it helps toss the ingredients around well and the mayo and seasoning are distributed evenly which is great. It is also the easiest and quickest way to do this. Or you can use your hands (preferably with gloves on) instead.
  • For easy and mess-free mixing, use a large bowl. You can also use a cooking pot.

Can I make coleslaw in advance?

Yes. You can prepare it 30 minutes up to a day ahead, if needed.

Serving suggestions

Are you wondering what goes with red cabbage coleslaw? Here are some recipe ideas for you:

  • Tacos
  • Pulled Pork Sandwich (Have you tried making Pulled Pork in Instant Pot? It’s so easy and more importantly, hassle-free!)
  • Grilled meats (e.g. Grilled Chicken Thighs)
  • Hot Dogs

Or anything you enjoy. Everyone is different and every single one of us has a different taste, so try what you like, and you’ll see!

How long does coleslaw last in the fridge?

When making this purple cabbage coleslaw with mayonnaise, you should eat it within 3 days. To enjoy it at its best, I recommend serving it within a day or two.

The Greatest Coleslaw I’ve Ever Had

Who spends time thinking of coleslaw? Well, I do. That probably has something to do with the fact that I’ve had the best coleslaw there is. So, since summer is upon us, and slaw is such a summer staple, let me tell you about the greatest coleslaw I’ve ever had.

When someone asks you your favorite food, what do you think of? Probably a main dish, cuisine, or a meal. You might hear things like pizza, breakfast food, steak, or Italian. Occasionally, you’ll hear someone throw in something like a salad or dessert. Every once in a great while, you might even hear a side, like a twice-baked potato, stuffing, or something like that. Coleslaw never comes up, though. It doesn’t matter how long you wait, or how much you prompt. Coleslaw is an afterthought. Unless, of course, you’ve had the greatest coleslaw there is, like me.

I grew up in Skokie, Ill., a near-north suburb of Chicago (so close, it’s accessible to the city via the L system). In the late ‘80s and early ‘90s, there were several local spots worth frequenting for a nice meal. Among my favorites was the first outpost of Carson’s Ribs, a Chicagoland barbecue staple. As a kid, I remember walking into the crowded restaurant and helping ourselves to their complementary chopped liver and cheese while we waited for our table—a white tablecloth table at that. Imagine, white tablecloths at a rib joint. Imagine, a kid eating chopped liver!

When we were seated, we were left with big circular menus that had everything from steaks and seafood to exceptional barbecue. I can’t say that I looked at those menus much. In those days, when I went to Carson’s, I went for one thing, and I meant business. I’d order the full-slab of ribs. The server would ask, “Side?” and I’d reply, “Au gratin potatoes.” Then, he or she would conclude, “Is coleslaw okay? If you’d like, you can substitute a house salad for a small upcharge.” Without hesitation, I’d reply, “Coleslaw is great.”

Let that sink in for a minute. I’d reply, “Coleslaw is great.” I didn’t even think of ordering the house salad as a replacement. Ever. Now, there may have been a time or two when I wanted a salad in addition to the coleslaw (especially in my teen years when I consumed enough food for a family of four), but I never skipped the slaw. How often can you say you’ve done the same? Seriously. Most of the time, the decision is an easy one in the other direction. Salads are fresher, crisper, and larger. They’re served on plates, with savory dressing, while the coleslaw is served in a tiny plastic condiment cup, soggy and sad. Not here. Not at Carson’s. Known in Chicago as “the place for ribs,” it just as easily could be known as “the place for coleslaw.”


A post shared by Carson’s Ribs (@carsonsribs) on Feb 13, 2015 at 9:09pm PST

I know what you’re thinking. It can’t be that good. After all, it’s only coleslaw. But it is that good. In fact, Carson’s, and particularly their coleslaw, has been a part of many memorable moments in my life. For my high school graduation, we had a party at the house. I made sure the menu included Carson’s au gratin potatoes, and their coleslaw. In college, when my friends wanted to try some classic Chicago restaurants, I’d take them to Carson’s and tell them, “Wait till you have this coleslaw.” When I graduated college, my party was at one of their former locations on Ridge in Chicago. Among the menu requirements? Coleslaw (or “cole slaw,” as they spell it). And when my buddies took me to Carson’s for my bachelor party dinner, after I had already been to the restaurant twice already during that week, I still had plenty of room for, you guessed it, the coleslaw.

The thing is, Carson’s Ribs has the greatest coleslaw I’ve ever had, and it’s not even close. Occasionally I’ll encounter one that is ever-so-slightly inspired, but it’s still a letdown in comparison. Always fresh, always crisp, and served in a large bowl, this ain’t your typical run-of-the-mill slaw. It’s sweet, yet tangy, with a hint of horseradish. It’s never soggy, soupy, bland, or intense. It’s just right. It’s the way coleslaw should be. This is a legitimate side item that can not only hold its own with a fantastic rib entree, but truly partner with it to create a great all-around meal.

In talking with Dean Carson, the owner of Carson’s Ribs, I learned this is no accident. He said, “When you think of a steak dinner, you think about a steak, a Caesar salad, and a baked potato. When I think of a rib dinner, I think of the ribs, some au gratin potatoes or a twice-baked, and coleslaw.”

When I asked Dean what makes his coleslaw so special, he said, “It’s been a staple at our restaurants since day one. It comes from a family recipe that’s at least 60 years old. America has turned coleslaw into a garnish, just like parsley. Do you eat parsley? No. And a lot of people don’t eat that little plastic cup of coleslaw they find on the side of their plates at a lot of other restaurants. That’s what I mean when I say that stuff is a garnish. Our coleslaw is not a garnish. It’s a side. A terrific side!” He continued, “There are 15 ingredients in the recipe, and they’re all important in their own way. Plus, our coleslaw is made every day from scratch.”

As with anything else, I don’t care how basic you think it is, when the ingredients are fresh, carefully selected, and carefully prepared, you can turn something ordinary into something extraordinary. You can turn a garnish into a side. You can turn an afterthought into a highlight. You can turn coleslaw into wonderful. If I’ve piqued your interest and you find yourself wanting to try it, visit Carson’s the next time you’re in Chicago. If you can’t wait that long, you’re in luck—you can have it shipped to you, wherever you are.

Now, for those of you still having a tough time believing all this, I’m going to leave you with a story Dean shared with me. I asked him if there were any celebrities that came into the restaurant who particularly loved the coleslaw. He said, “So many celebrities have complimented the coleslaw—hundreds, maybe thousands of times throughout the years. But one celebrity stands out. The late Dennis Farina was a fantastic guy, a Chicago guy. When he was filming, I would ship him food a lot, particularly the coleslaw. Once, I was joking around with him on the phone and I said, ‘This is a lot of trouble to go through just for coleslaw.’ Dennis said to me, ‘This my favorite coleslaw in the world. And you know something? I don’t have a second.’”

Prefer to shred the cabbage yourself? Go ahead! Use about 10 cups shredded cabbage (and add a few shredded carrots, too, if you want).


View line-by-line Nutrition Insights&trade: Discover which ingredients contribute the calories/sodium/etc.

Disclaimer: Nutrition facts are derived from linked ingredients (shown at left in colored bullets) and may or may not be complete. Always consult a licensed nutritionist or doctor if you have a nutrition-related medical condition.

Calories per serving: 450

Get detailed nutrition information, including item-by-item nutrition insights, so you can see where the calories, carbs, fat, sodium and more come from.

Red Lobster Style Coleslaw?

If anyone has a recipe for Red Lobster's coleslaw I would appreciate if you would pass it on. Thank you.

Add your voice! Click below to answer. ThriftyFun is powered by your wisdom!

People say this tastes just like Red Lobster Coleslaw.

Sweet Creamy Coleslaw Recipe #135303
I love good coleslaw. This is one of my favorites.
by Tsmith70
30 min | 30 min prep

1/2 head cabbage (sliced very thin)
1/4 cup mayonnaise
2 3/4 tablespoons sugar
1/4 teaspoon celery seed
1/4 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
1 tablespoon pickle juice (I prefer Claussen)
First, slice cabbage very thin and fine. Think of Angel hair cole slaw, that's what it should look like.
In a separate bowl, add all your other ingredients(except salt) and mix them up thoroughly.
Finally, combine cabbage with sauce.
Then, salt to taste.(Remember, just a little at a time, till you get it where you like it).

Red Cabbage Slaw Recipe

There is a lot you can add into this for flavor, or omit depending on your taste buds. When it comes to seasonings it is really up to you but I will always add what was used this time in the recipe card below.

  1. Head of red cabbage
  2. Carrots
  3. Green onion
  4. Bell pepper
  5. Dijon mustard &ndash add amount listed, then taste and adjust as needed or white wine vinegar if you prefer
  6. Fresh lemon juice
  7. Honey
  8. Olive oil
  9. Vanilla &ndash just a touch is great but can omit
  10. Some like celery seeds with salt and pepper

Some like to add a bit of mayonnaise to create a creamy coleslaw version. Of course you&rsquoll need a large bowl to toss it all together too. Tongs are helpful too.

You&rsquoll want to get chop chop chopping now, with all the things. Thinly slice or dice it all so it can be served alongside hamburgers or put on top of pulled pork sliders.

How do you shred red cabbage for coleslaw?

It doesn&rsquot matter whether it is red or green, you should slice the head in half when making easy cole slaw. Slice the cabbage in half again and remove the core. Put the flat side down and cut at a diagonal.

You could use a mandolin too once it&rsquos cut into quarters if you&rsquod rather.

Can you shred cabbage with a cheese grater?

You could if you wanted the pieces to be really really fine. I prefer to use this to just shred carrots to include inside.

To create the uber flavorful cole slaw dressing it is easiest to use a large mixing cup that has a spout like you see here already. Then you can just pour it on and toss well. Or use a large bowl to whisk together.

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Healthy red cabbage coleslaw

The dressing is made with just 2 tablespoons of mayonnaise and 1 tablespoon of fresh lime juice, which brightens everything up. No oil is necessary! The dressing lightly coats the slaw without weighing it down.

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