Fresh vegetables combine with a super simple sweet and tangy vinegar based coleslaw dressing for a fresh and fabulous side dish. This old fashioned coleslaw recipe is the perfect salad for so many occasions.
Coleslaw is a must have summer side dish. It’s at almost every BBQ and potluck and pairs perfectly with anything from the grill.
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Vinegar Based Coleslaw
This version has great vinegar tang, plenty of crunch and is best made hours ahead of being eaten so you can enjoy your friends and family instead of cooking during the party.
This classic coleslaw recipe is adapted from my aunt’s sister-in-law, Linda. She makes giant batches of it for a local organization and it is a must have at their fundraising events.
I have been meaning to make it for a while, but despite our penchant for hosting we still never need a half gallon of coleslaw dressing to go with 4 heads of cabbage and fixin’s.
So I finally decided to pair it down to a more reasonable size and make it anyway. We have been getting beautiful heads of cabbage and lovely sweet onions from our CSA that were begging to be made into slaw.
Combine that with the fact we have carrots and peppers from our garden and it just seemed meant to be. It was finally time to make her coleslaw!
How to Make Coleslaw With Vinegar Dressing
The hardest part of making coleslaw is prepping the veggies, but that really isn’t all that hard. If you have a food processor, just let it shred them for you.
That would normally be my go to way, but I store my food processor in the basement. On this particular day shredding the vegetables with a knife seemed like less work than retrieving the machine to do it.
Sometimes I find tasks like kneading bread relaxing and shredding the cabbage had a similar effect. I was able to get it in nice sized pieces and kind of enjoyed the process.
You can certainly do whatever method speaks to you. You could even buy bags of preshredded cabbage if you prefer.
You can make the dressing ahead and store it in a jar if you’d like. You can also just make it in the bowl.
Linda likes to reserve a bit of the dressing to add right before serving. It helps give the slaw a little extra zing.
Once the veggies and dressing are ready, just toss it all together. Chill it for a few hours if you can, it will help soften the cabbage a bit and give the flavors a chance to meld.
Store leftovers in the fridge. They will be good for at least a few days to a week before it starts getting too soft.
Linda’s Big Batch Coleslaw Recipe
(Perfect for family reunions, church suppers, catering and big parties!)
Dressing (Makes 1/2 gallon)
- 4 cups apple cider vinegar
- 3 cups granulated sugar
- 2 1/2 cups vegetable oil
- 4 teaspoons salt
- 4 heads cabbage
- 2 onions
- 1 green pepper
- 1 pound carrots
- celery seeds (whole or ground) to taste
Mix dressing ingredients well then let sit until sugar is dissolved. Linda likes to make it one day and use it the next.
Shred the vegetables. Mix with a small amount of dressing and chill overnight. Add more dressing when ready to serve.
Frequently Asked Questions
Can you make coleslaw in advance?
Yes, in fact it is better that way. You want to dress the cabbage at least a couple of hours before you intend to eat it. That gives the cabbage a chance to soften a bit and the flavors can meld.
Can I used bagged coleslaw mix?
Yes, if you don’t have time to shred the cabbage feel free to grab a couple of bags of coleslaw mix. Though if you use a food processor, it won’t take that long to shred a head of cabbage.
More Great Coleslaw Recipes
Light and fresh apple slaw adds the crunch and sweetness of apples to the mix!
Honey lime slaw with cilantro and sriracha is a fun topping for tacos and burrito bowls, but you could also eat it as a salad.
Creamy coleslaw is a classic. It is really easy to make and has that creamy dressing we love.
Bonus fact: The word coleslaw comes from the Dutch word koolsla which means cabbage salad.
Tangy Classic Coleslaw With Vinegar Dressing
- 1 small head cabbage
- ½ onion
- ½ green pepper
- 1 cup carrots
- 1 teaspoon celery seeds
- ½ cup apple cider vinegar
- 2 Tablespoons vegetable oil
- 3 Tablespoons granulated sugar
- 1 teaspoon salt
- Mix together dressing ingredients and set aside (dressing can be made ahead if desired.)
- Shred and/or dice the vegetables into small pieces. Toss with celery seeds.
- Drizzle most of the dressing over the salad and stir to coat. Cover and refrigerate for at least a few hours or overnight.
- Add remaining dressing and stir before serving.