If Life Gives You Cabbage… Make Coleslaw

On Mother’s Day I made an unusual discovery–an almost perfect red cabbage, hiding in the back of the spare refrigerator.  Left over from last years CSA, it was kind of like an extra present. 

Now that I am down to frozen vegetables and a few miscellaneous fresh (while still trying to eat somewhat local), I have been known to get somewhat desperate.  Last week, I actually made beetsicles… yes, popsicles with fruit, carrots and beets.  Not (sigh) my proudest moment.  My husband ate his bravely, declaring it excellent, while the kids looked on in horror. 

I rejoiced in my new found bounty and, with news (from Louise of Months of Edible Celebrations)  that it is National Salad Month,  I cut up the cabbage to make coleslaw.  The recipe is adapted from one I got over 30 years ago from the delightful Cookery Restaurant in Fish Creek, WI, which is now being run as a “green” establishment by the children of the original owners. 

Typically made with green cabbage, the coleslaw works well with red cabbage (a veritable “eat a rainbow” bonanza) or napa cabbage (my favorite with its delicate ridged leaves that hang onto and highlight the dressing).

Homemade Coleslaw                                         


  • 1 med onion
  • 1/2 c canola oil
  • 1 apple or pear, cored, unpeeled
  • 1 t dry mustard
  • 1/4 c lo fat mayo
  • 1/4 c sugar
  • 1/2 t celery seed
  • 1/2 c apple cider vinegar
  • 1 head cabbage (red, green or Napa)
  • 1-2 medium to large carrots


1.  Quarter cabbage and remove core.  Slice thinly by hand or in food processor.

2.  Grate the carrots and add to cabbage.

Grating Carrot

Grating Carrot for Coleslaw

3.  Mix dressing ingredients in a blender and process until smooth.

4.  Add enough dressing to cabbage mixture to coat and toss until well covered.

Red Cabbage Coleslaw

Red Cabbage Coleslaw

Freshness Tip:  Dress only the amount of coleslaw you are likely to eat in one sitting.  Refrigerate and save the leftovers, keeping the dressing separate.  Mix together enough for the next meal shortly before you serve again. 

It’s a simple solution to the problem of leftover coleslaw that goes limp and it is easier than preparing everything from scratch twice—kind of a homemade version of salad-in-a-bag!

Optional final step:  Feed carrot peels to your guinea pigs.

Guinea Pigs

Guinea Pigs Eating Organic

12 thoughts on “If Life Gives You Cabbage… Make Coleslaw

  1. Louise

    Beetsicles? How cool, literally:) Your coleslaw looks absolutely delicious, Inger. A bowl of festive crunch!!! I adore the notion of pear in the dressing. I’m going to need to try it. So, this is a saver for sure!!!

    Thank you so much for the link. I can see you and your family are going to make the most out of Salad Month!!!

    P.S. With the exception of rhubarb, fresh produce is scarce here in Central PA too…soon, very soon:)

    1. Inger Wilkerson

      New development on the beetsicles–my youngest, in a fit of desperation actually tried one and then finished them off! My middle, inspired by this, took a bit of the last, turned green and put it back in the freezer. I’ll consider one a victory anyway!

      Stay tuned for a nice Bok Choy salad, coming up as soon as I get shopping for the Bok Choy. I am definately feeling salad-y; thanks for helping inspire!

    1. Inger Wilkerson

      Feel good–our fridge is desolate. BTW–you are so lucky to have the citrus all over in AZ. I really enjoyed “foraging” for orange juice while there and my daughter brought back bags of grapefruit over winter break! Can you tell I’m going through fresh local food withdrawal?!

  2. OysterCulture

    Beetcicles does sound like it could be good. I just had a delicious chocolate cake made with beets, so that might be the reason i’m intrigued. How did you like your experiment, by the way?

    1. Inger Wilkerson

      The taste was actually pretty good, though the texture was a bit strange. I blended 1 beet, 2 carrots, an orange (would have used juice if I’d had it), a banana, a whole bunch of frozen cherries, some yogurt and stevia. Our original goal was smoothies, but they had a texture that made me think of those fiber supplement drinks, so I decided freezing might make that less obvious (which it did). Since one daughter eventually came around and ate them, I may experiment more as the new harvest arrives. If you try a version of this, I’d love to hear the results!

  3. croquecamille

    I love coleslaw, and I really like the idea of adding apple or pear to it. My mom used to put pineapple in hers – I’d forgotten about that until just now!

    1. Inger Wilkerson

      I wanted to add sweetness, flavor and volume without adding calories, so I reduced the sugar in the original recipe and added a piece of fruit. Pineapple sounds good too!

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