My Favorite Coleslaw

Real Quick: I updated one of my favorite recipes in all the world with a desperately needed new picture. We loved these meatball subs back in 2008 and we still eat them often today – pretty good indication of a darn good recipe.

I fully recognize it isn’t necessarily coleslaw season since it seems to be more appropriate for grilling/BBQ weather. What with our grill covered in two feet of snow and everything, you might wonder why a coleslaw recipe is coming straight out of left field today.

I can explain. Brian, my dear, sweet husband, hates coleslaw. Well, cabbage, really, which directly implicates coleslaw. He detests the stuff and has never, ever requested that I buy, make or eat cabbage in our 10 1/2 years of marriage. When he left town a few weeks ago, I happened to receive an email from a friend I made through blogging, Rachel R., with a coleslaw recipe she says is utterly awesome. Cabbage hating husband out of town? Lots of coleslaw calling my name, baby.

And truly, this coleslaw is the best of the best. I’ve tried several coleslaw recipes over the years because unlike Brian, I adore the crunchy, flavorful salad. This version has clearly cemented a place in my go-to-coleslaw files. The addition of several finely chopped vegetables gives it a delightful texture and helps round out the flavors while a simple sweet and slightly tart creamy dressing finishes it off perfectly.

Even though for many of us true summer grilling and coleslaw season is far, far off, if you haven’t enjoyed coleslaw with a BBQ pulled pork sandwich (a meal fit for any time of the year), you are really missing out. It is a divine combination. (Brian is ferociously shaking his head in disagreement but honestly, if it were between me and him, who would you trust in matters of food philosophy and taste? Correct answers only or else you are fired.)

My Favorite Coleslaw

One Year Ago: DIY Valentine Chocolate Boxes
Two Years Ago: Chewy Pretzel Bites
Three Years Ago: Smoked Turkey Brie and Apple Panini

My Favorite Coleslaw Recipe

Yield: Serves 6

My Favorite Coleslaw Recipe

Note: I used a combination of green and red bell peppers (about 1/4 of each pepper). I loved the sweetness of the red pepper and liked the combination of both but you can use whatever you prefer or have on hand. If you don't have a food processor, chop the bell pepper(s), green onion, carrot, parsley and 1/2 of the cabbage very, very finely and combine with the rest of the thinly sliced cabbage.


  • 1/2 bell pepper, coarsely chopped
  • 1 green onion, chopped
  • 1/2 large carrot, chopped (or 3-4 baby carrots)
  • 1/8 cup fresh parsley leaves
  • 1/2 cabbage head
  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise
  • 1/2 teaspoon seasoning salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon lemon-pepper seasoning
  • 1 tablespoon white vinegar


  1. Using a food processor, gently process the bell pepper, onion, carrot, and parsley, being careful not to over process. The mixture should be in small pieces but not mushy.
  2. Cut 1/2 of the cabbage into chunks and place in the food processor and process lightly, again making sure the mixture doesn't become mushy - it should be in small, fine pieces.
  3. Slice the remaining cabbage into thin strands.
  4. In a large bowl, toss together the cabbage and the processed vegetables.
  5. In a separate small bowl, mix the mayonnaise, seasoning salt, black pepper, sugar, lemon-pepper and vinegar together and allow to stand for 5 minutes.
  6. Combine the mayonnaise mixture with the vegetables, folding until the cabbage and vegetables are evenly coated. Chill for 1 hour. The coleslaw is best served within 1-3 hours as the leftovers tend to get watery and the flavors lessen after a long stay in the refrigerator.

Recipe Source: adapted slightly from Paula Deen

38 Responses to Classic Coleslaw

  1. Sarah S says:

    This might be a dumb question: when you say “process,” does that mean the shredder function or the main food processor blade? I assume if it were the shredder, you would’ve said shred in the food processor, but I could be totally reading into it. I just want to make sure I get the consistency right.

    Thanks so much for your blog! This is my first time commenting, but I’ve been enjoying your recipes for some time now.

  2. Patti says:

    The addition of bell pepper and parsley to this recipe really adds a new depth of flavor to coleslaw. I love it!

    I am doing a recipe round up on my site next month and am collecting coleslaw recipes from around the web. I would really like to use your recipe in my post. (Actually, I would like to use one of your photos. I will link back to your site for the recipe.) I would like your permission before proceeding. Thanks in advance for your consideration.

    • Mel's Kitchen Cafe Admin says:

      Hello Patti. Mel doesn’t have access to internet right now so I’m helping her out with comments for the next few days. That is fine to use the image as long as you are linking back. Thank you for asking permission!

    • Mel says:

      That would be fine, Patti. πŸ™‚

  3. Charlene says:

    What type of cabbage do you use for this recipe? I can’t wait to try this along with your pulled pork this weekend! Thanks for all your posts Mel…I absolutely LOVE your site as do my hubby and kids!

  4. Jami says:

    Hi Mel! I am hoping to make this for a reunion this week along with your BBQ pork sandwiches. Do you think I could make this ahead and just combine all the cut veggies with the dressing when we are ready to eat? I just wonder if the veggies would get gross. I would need to cut them up about two days before. Thanks!!

    • Mel says:

      Jami – I think the vegetables should be fine cut ahead of time as long as they are stored separately from the dressing or any other moisture. Sounds like a good plan to me!

      • Jami says:

        Thanks for your quick reply! I just made your bbq pulled pork and it is to die for!! Can’t wait to share it with my family!

  5. Jodi says:

    This recipe is delicious! Thanks for sharing! My husband loved it, too!

  6. Elaine says:

    This is the only coleslaw recipe I use now. I have tried many and still come back to this one. It’s just the best. I admit that I usually just use shredded cabbage and carrots, but the dressing is what makes it. I do add some celery seeds too, which to me is perfect in a coleslaw.

  7. Nazare Fernandes says:

    Hi Mel, I also have a wonderful coleslaw recipe that you might like, one bag of coleslaw mix, 1 can crushed pineapple well drained, 1 can chopped peaches well drained,1 red apple chopped, 1/2 c celery, 1/2 c white miniature marshmallows, about 1/2 c mayo, and a pinch of salt, these is a good recipe.

  8. Becky says:

    I made this last night and it was delicious! I used a little over half of a bag of the preshredded coleslaw veggie mix and it worked great!

  9. Katie says:

    I have a strange aversion to mayo…any chance you’ve substituted it with Greek yogurt in your coleslaw? Thanks

  10. Alisha says:

    Made this the other night to go with some Pulled Pork sandwiches (with your French bread rolls of course) … delish! Love the unique extra crunch with the bell pepper and carrot. I used purple cabbage.

  11. Ed says:

    Today I have made this with a nice honey musterd sauce.
    The taste was really great!

  12. Claire C. says:

    Just a note: Paula Deen is by no means a professional chef. She is a home cook who happened to make it big. I’m not downplaying the hard work she put in when she was a struggling single mom, but to be called “Chef,” you must have completed culinary school and earned your degree. As someone who put her blood, sweat, and tears (literally) into culinary school, I take offense when these tv personalities like Paula Deen and Sandra Lee are referred to as chefs. It’s like calling yourself a doctor just because you took a couple of anatomy classes.

  13. Vanessa says:

    Made this today with your BBQ Pulled Pork sandwiches and your French Bread Rolls. Seriously delish!! Thanks – everyone loved it and I continue to find your recipes very tasty!

  14. Mel says:

    Dee, while it isn’t wildly adapted, the very small changes I made actually require the “slightly adapted” notation. The only time I would ever put adapted from (without noting I changed it at all) was if I copied and pasted a recipe exactly. Out of respect to Paul’s Deen and others, I note slight adaptations when I add wording in the directions of my own and in this case, I added a notation on using baby carrots, ground black pepper instead of coarse pepper and I took out the brand name recommendation on seasoning salt. While they are small changes, they are still changes and you would be surprised at how particular professional chefs are when you republish their recipes.

  15. Dee says:

    This recipe says “adapted slightly from Paula Deen”. So I looked at Paula’s recipe to see what was different. Nothing. Exact same recipe.

  16. Michelle says:

    I love coleslaw and all different kinds. Tony and I just made some FABULOUSLY spicy coleslaw from one of Emeril’s cookbooks to have with some great pan-fried catfish. Glad to spread the cabbage love! Take care to all and reminder to Brian that cabbage has great anti-cancer properties being from the brassica family!

  17. Jennifer says:

    I love coleslaw… And believe it or not, it’s perfect for weather in Cali right now. We are having an unseasonably warm January. 70 degree weather! I can’t wait to try it!

  18. This looks so scrumptious, Mel! Perfect for serving alongside pulled pork this weekend!

  19. angela @ anotherbiteplease says:

    i could not agree more with you pulled pork topped with coleslaw is the BEST…i wish i would have made your coleslaw recipe instead of what i did last night for dinner since it was wahwah…and lOl I do the same thing when hubby is gone…make what I love that he can not stand πŸ™‚

  20. I love me some coleslaw too, and my husband hate it…so we’re in the same boat. This one sounds really good thought, maybe I can win him over the the “slaw side” with it. πŸ™‚

  21. Sara says:

    How funny!! I have SO been in a coleslaw eating mood. Maybe it’s just the winter blues. I will definitely try this. I also love Rene’s Coleslaw by Paula Deen.

  22. Rachel Russell says:

    Soooo thrilled you loved! Hurrah!! It is pretty tasty put directly inside your pulled pork sandwiches also… . it is not pretty in terms of messy- but worth it!

  23. Marcia says:

    Thanks Mel! I can’t eat pulled pork without cole slaw, and this recipe is just in time for my Super Bowl feast!

  24. Renee says:

    I have those meatball subs on the menu next week. πŸ™‚ I am always looking for a good cole slaw recipe and end up making a different one every time. Maybe this one will be “it”. Thanks Mel!

  25. Charlotte Moore says:

    I think this sounds very good. We like slaw all year here in the South. We love it with barbeque, hot dogs, pork chop, chicken, fish, and dried beans just to name a few.

  26. StephenC says:

    Another thought has occurred to me. Have you ever tried making coleslaw with savoy? It has a very different flavor profile. Maybe your cabbage-challenged hubby would try just a bite of it. One more thing: I like grinding up a small amount of caraway and putting a pinch in with my slaw.

  27. Kim in MD says:

    I love coleslaw, and I love to try new recipes. I am off to the grocery store this morning, and have added the ingredients for this slaw and your slow cooker pulled pork to my list. I think they will be a nice addition to my Super Bowl menu!

  28. Gillie says:

    Well, I am fired! Sending the World Traveller over to help you eat it. Love cabbage but think it’s the mayo I dislike. Thank you for the chuckle on a snowy day in Michigan!

  29. StephenC says:

    Funny, I’ve known many people who don’t like cooked cabbage, but don’t know for sure if I know anyone who does not like coleslaw. I like the combination of flavors in this recipe. I often prefer to use some olive oil and skip the mayo, but I don’t think that will get me fired, will it?

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