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Quick and easy cole slaw recipe {vegetarian}


Perhaps not officially, not according to the calendar, but in every other way, summer has arrived here in Rhode Island. As the heat rises, my patience for spending lots of time on meal prep plummets. A few quick and easy dishes, like this simple cole slaw, go a long way to rounding out summer meals with minimum effort, and by making your own, you can eliminate the sugar that's almost always added to deli counter cole slaw. If your supermarket stocks packaged cole slaw mix, do what I do, and start with that. Of course, you can buy a head of green cabbage and a few carrots, and shred them thinly with a very sharp knife or in the food processor, but come on -- it's summer -- take some help from the store, and spend less time in the kitchen.


Quick and easy cole slaw

From the pantry, you'll need: mayonnaise, Dijon mustard, rice vinegar, fresh black pepper.

Serves 8.


1/2 cup mayonnaise
2 Tbsp Dijon or deli mustard
2 tsp rice vinegar
Fresh black pepper, to taste
14 oz store-bought cole slaw mix, or 1 small head cabbage plus 2 carrots, thinly shredded


In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the mayonnaise, mustard, rice vinegar and black pepper. Fold in the cole slaw mix, and stir to combine. Chill for at least 30 minutes, or overnight, before serving.

[Printer-friendly recipe.]

More recipes in The Perfect Pantry:
Blue cheese cole slaw
Roasted shrimp po' boy sandwich with Greek yogurt cole slaw and remoulade sauce
Broccoli slaw salad with honey-mustard yogurt dressing
Slow cooker hoisin chicken and slaw sandwiches
Broccoli slaw salad with cranberries, almonds, and yogurt dressing

Other recipes that use these pantry ingredients:
Classic Southern coleslaw, from The Kitchn
Spicy grilled turkey burger with coleslaw, from Simply Recipes
Tangy apple coleslaw, from Confections of a Foodie Bride
Cole slaw with wasabi mayonnaise, from Sassy Radish
Red cabbage coleslaw, from The Jew and the Carrot

Need more ideas for how to create salads with pizzazz? Get Dress Up Your Salad, my e-book packed with easy mix-and-match recipes, full-color photos and a few fun videos. Exciting salad recipes from everyday ingredients can be just one click away, on any computer, tablet or smart phone, with the FREE Kindle Reading app. Click here to learn more.

Disclosure: The Perfect Pantry earns a few pennies on purchases made through the Amazon.com links in this post. Thank you for supporting this site when you start your shopping here.


When I use a bag of coleslaw, it always seems a little less than fresh so I've taken to rinsing it in the salad spinner, then spin the heck out of it ... re-freshed cabbage!

PS Lovely to visit yesterday, the highlight of Rhode Island.

Alanna, that's a great tip! (and yes, it was great to see you, too.)

Thank you for your wonderful blog which I follow from Athens, Greece and which keeps me feeling cheerful...even now that I can't afford some of the ingredients LOL!

I had to laugh with this post! I've lived in Canada, the US and England where cole slaw is something available all year round.

But here in the Mediterrean, vegetables follow a strict seasonal order. In winter it's cabbage, carrots and lettuce and we eat 'cole slaw' but with oil & lemon. The other favorite winter salad is kos lettuce ("romaine" in the States though it is actually native to the greek island of Kos) which is sliced whole into ribbons, and topped with sliced red onion and lots of fresh dill. Add oil, vinegar or lemon, salt, pepper and toss.
Winter is also the season of quinces, oranges, lemons, apples....

In summer all the green things die away - winter is green and fresh, summer is dry and brown with thyme and oregano maturing for late August harvest. Summer is the time of tomatoes, peppers, zucchini, aubergines, capers....and that's when we eat "greek salad" which here is called horiatiki salata, ie village salad because it is a rather crude salad made with garden veg and is treated as a whole meal. This is built around burstingly ripe tomato and cool cucumber slices - the 2 basic elements and which can stand alone as a salad. We then add sliced red onion and olives...and if you want, sliced pepper and capers. A bit of salt, oregano, and lots of oil but NEVER vinegar or lemon, because the tomatoes provide the juice that mixes with the oil. Feta is NOT a basic component but is ordered as an extra and is served as a cut slice - either on a side dish, or balanced on top of the salad, over which the oregano is crumbled and the oil is poured. The feta makes it an extremely filling meal in its self.

In Greece all salads are eaten with thick slices of village bread (a bit like ciabatta) broken by hand, and at the end small pieces are dipped into the remaining oil & tomato juice to finish every last drop. These oil dipped pieces of bread are called "papara".

As a gourmet, I thought you might be interested!

I like quick and easy, as long as it is tasty like this looks! I never liked cole slaw just because it has sugar in it, or they use Miricle Whip which I don't like. So this is perfect to make it myself and leave out the sugar!

Yes, I am highly in favor of this coleslaw with no sugar!

Eleni, so glad you enjoy this site! Thank you for sharing your insight into Greek salads. I can't wait until we have local tomatoes, cucumber and other vegetables -- here in Rhode Island, we're a month away, at least. Cole slaw is a year-round treat, but it's a special part of every summer picnic and barbecue menu.

Lyndsey, it's really so easy to make your own cole slaw, especially if (like me) you want to have a sugar-free version. You can add some shredded apple to make it a bit sweeter, too.

Kalyn, I never realized that almost all store-bought cole slaw has sugar in it until I started reading the nutrition labels. Who needs it? Cole slaw is delicious without it.

Terrific recipe. I tried it and the whole family enjoyed the cole slaw. I've been buying the fancy shredded cabbage at the grocery store for some time now. It's the right amount and all the work is done for you already.

George, I'm always so glad when readers enjoy the recipes they find here. And I'm especially grateful that you took the time to leave a comment and let us know.

I am all about saving time in the heat of the summer. Coleslaw from a bag is a refreshing addition to my summer barbecues.

Bellini, my kitchen is like one giant oven in the summer. I'll do anything I can to make cooking faster and easier.

Simple, easy and delicious. I'm with you - as it's gotten warmer, I've lost all interest in cooking. I'll take any solutions!

A great quick recipe!
and I enjoyed the culinary travel peak of Greece via Eleni's comment above.
Coleslaw is one of those things that I sometimes never make the same way twice - unless of course I write down as I am trying to do now via my blog!
so crunchy and delicious - I need some right now!

TW, I find that my appetite for eating (as well as for cooking) decreases in summer, but I love to entertain more often, and this type of quick and easy dish is one that I don't mind making, and everyone seems to love.

Carol, it's fun to play with different cole slaw variations. I love mixing in red cabbage, and making dressings with more of an Asian accent. This recipe is my all-purpose, goes-with-anything cole slaw variation.

Can you substitute anything for the rice vinegar. I don't have any in the house. Thank you.

Judy, rice vinegar is a mild vinegar, so you might try cider vinegar.

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