Never the Same Way Twice Coleslaw - close up to show detail

Never the Same Way Twice Coleslaw

Never the Same Way Twice Coleslaw - close up to show detail

Today, I’m sharing a recipe called Never the Same Way Twice Coleslaw. I’m doing this because every time I make coleslaw, someone will ask me for the recipe. While that sounds nice, when I shrug and say, I never make it the same way twice, they nearly always get a little frustrated with me. And that’s not good.

Coleslaw is something I love making but I truly wing it every single time. So, it makes sharing a recipe a challenge. Today’s recipe is a solution. I’m providing the guidelines I use to construct crazy good slaws so that you can do the same. After I walk you through the steps, I give a sample recipe called Sesame Slaw. I hope you have fun with the guidelines. Remember unlike RULES, they are meant to be bent!

Coleslaw is great in summer with barbecued and grilled food. It’s great in winter because cabbage is a fantastic over-winter vegetable. In spring, it’s fab when you can throw in some fresh herbs. When fall rolls around again, you apples or pears can jazz it up. Read on to learn to play with your ingredients. You’ll soon be creating your own coleslaws that people will crave.

Never the Same Way Twice Coleslaw - overhead view of the dish

Never the Same Way Twice Coleslaw

Time: 20 minutes

Yield: 6 – 8 servings

Equipment: cutting board, chef’s knife, bowls, measuring spoons

For the slaw:

So, obviously, to start, we need some kind of cabbage or cabbage equivalent:

4 cups total – one or more of the following: green cabbage And/Or purple cabbage And/Or Napa Cabbage And/Or Bok Choy

Then we need some kind of complimentary crunch:

1 cup total – 1 or more of the following: diced celery And/Or fennel bulb And/Or carrots

Next up, a member of the onion family:

1 cup total – 1 or more of the following: diced green onion And/Or red onion And/Or shallots And/Or Vidalia or Yellow Onion

Now, let’s throw in some herbs:

3-4 Tablespoons total – 1 or more of the following: chopped parsley And/Or fennel fronds And/Or cilantro And/Or chives And/Or dill And/Or tarragon

Now let’s add some nuts, seeds or dried fruit:

3-4 Tablespoons – 1 or more of the following: chopped nuts, And/Or sesame seeds And/Or dried cranberries And/Or raisons

And if you’re really going for it, add a surprise vegetable or fruit you want to use up:

1 cup total – 1 or more of the following: sliced bell peppers And/Or cucumbers And/Or apples And/Or citrus wedges And/Or pomegranate arils

Now for the dressing:

Start with a good quality mayonnaise:

½ cup mayo (you can make it vegan with an olive oil base)

Then add some dairy or another fat:

½ cup plain Greek yogurt OR regular plain yogurt OR olive oil or other favourite oil

Then add a flavouring:

2 Tablespoons sesame oil OR 2 teaspoons mustard OR 1 teaspoon ground cumin And/Or 1 teaspoon chopped ginger or garlic

Add a bit of heat:

1 Tablespoon sambal olek OR Gochujang OR chilli sauce OR chopped jalapeno

Compliment with sweet:

1 Tablespoon honey OR sugar OR maple syrup

Add a bit of citrus tartness or vinegar acid:

1 – 2 Tablespoons lemon or lime juice OR apple cider or rice wine vinegar

Don’t forget to spice:

If you want to compliment an Indian meal, add a little ground cumin. Always, finish by tasting and adjusting with good old salt and pepper.

Here’s a recipe example of how to use these guidelines: We’ll call it – Sesame Slaw

Never the Same Way Twice Coleslaw - angled view

For the Sesame Slaw in this photo, I used the following:


Never the Same Way Twice Coleslaw

Never the Same Way Twice Coleslaw - overhead view of the dish

This Sesame Slaw is one illustration of how you can use the Never the Same Way Twice Coleslaw guidelines to create the slaws of your dreams. 

  • Author: Karen Anderson
  • Prep Time: 20 minutes
  • Total Time: 20 minutes
  • Yield: 6 to 8 servings 1x
  • Category: Salads
  • Method: Major chopping
  • Diet: Vegetarian


  • 3 cups green cabbage
  • 1 cup purple cabbage
  • 1 carrot, diced in food processor
  • 2 large stalks celery, diced
  • ½ yellow bell pepper, sliced in 1-inch pieces
  • 1 bunch green onions, chopped on the diagonal
  • 1 Tablespoon diced ginger
  • 3 Tablespoons finely cut cilantro leaves
  • 1 heaping Tablespoon black sesame seeds

Then for the dressing:

  • ½ cup Hellman’s Olive Oil mayonnaise
  • ½ cup Greek Yogurt
  • 2 Tablespoons lime juice
  • 1 Tablespoon runny honey
  • 1 Tablespoon Sambal Oelek
  • 2 Tablespoons sesame oil
  • Salt and Pepper – to taste


  1. Chop all the vegetables for the slaw and place them in a bowl.
  2. Whisk the dressing ingredients in another bowl and then add about half to the salad and stir it through. Add another quarter to get the dressing to the creaminess level you desire. Package any leftover dressing to use as a sandwich spread/mayo.
  3. Transfer the salad to a serving bowl, taste, sprinkle with Salt and Pepper and test again to be sure you’ve got it right.
  4. Enjoy as a side to almost anything but especially for the Broek Pork Acres’ Pulled Pork recipe on this blog.

Keywords: Coleslaw


  1. dee Hobsbawn-Smith

    Hey Karen, your explanations of how to incorporate elements including base ingredients, contrast, acid, heat, crunch, fat, sweet, etc are just terrific. You rock as a recipe idea writer for free-thinking cooks who want to roam the range.Always a pleasure to read because you sound so damn reassuring and calm and let’s just do this and it will be delicious.

  2. Sue Chambers

    Tk you Karen for this outline of coleslaw. I love cabbage, I buy it – take it out of the fridge – look at it and put it back if I don’t have the ingredients for my one coleslaw recipe. You have opened my eyes to creativity and “winging it” with what you have. 🙂 Going to get creative tonight with my 1/2 cabbage.

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