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Everyone loves a summer BBQ – what’s not to love about charred hotdogs, perfectly cooked medium-rare burgers, and seared Portobello mushrooms fresh from the grill. But fantastic coleslaw can be a game changer you didn’t see coming; in some cases, the right tangy coleslaw recipe can even turn a greasy brat into a well-balanced meal. Check out our 13 recipes for coleslaw that will get you through the entire season – from vegetables you didn’t think to include to crunchy additions, inspiring vinaigrettes and unusual combinations, the sky’s the limit.
1. Spicy Lime & Jalapeno Coleslaw
This CHOW recipe hits the mark for a fantastically spice side dish that is packed with flavor but not overwhelming. With cumin, lime juice, and cilantro, this coleslaw makes a great pairing for any kind of taco or braised meat. Get our Spicy Lime & Jalapeno Coleslaw recipe.
2. Blue Cheese Coleslaw
This is some serious coleslaw: a full cup of crumbled blue cheese combined with some mayonnaise makes for a rich and creamy slaw that begs to be served with buffalo chicken tenders. It’s so good that you can serve it on its own, but the blue cheese flavor is the perfect antidote to some super spicy hot sauce. Get our Blue Cheese Coleslaw recipe.
3. Classic Coleslaw
This is the coleslaw of your childhood, the one that came alongside every hotdog or hamburger you ordered in a little plastic cup. A classic not to be messed with, this recipe has the traditional mayonnaise-based dressed (and the option of adding quick-pickled jalapenos). Get our Classic Coleslaw recipe.
4. Healthy Coleslaw
Yes, mayonnaise-based coleslaw is absolutely amazing; but it’s also a pretty caloric side dish that you can easily revamp for a lighter, fresher taste. This Asian rendition has a rice vinegar-based dressing along with crunchy peanuts and sliced green onions. Get our Healthy Coleslaw recipe.
5. Cabbage and Carrot Herbed Slaw
The slaw doubles as a healthy, vegetable-based side dish with carrots, cabbage, radishes, red onion, cilantro, and parsley. The light vinaigrette keeps it tangy and the combo only gets better the longer it marinates in the fridge. Get our Cabbage and Carrot Herbed Slaw recipe.
6. Kale Apple Coleslaw with Poppy Seed Dressing
The poppy seed dressing is what makes this kale-based coleslaw really stand out from the pack. A tangy-sweet combination of cider vinegar, honey, Dijon mustard, red onion, and poppy seeds are mixed together and mixed with flat-leaf kale and tart green apples. Make sure to let the mixture sit overnight in the fridge to develop the flavors. Get our Kale Apple Coleslaw with Poppy Seed Dressing recipe.
7. Broccoli Slaw
If you’re sick of the traditional cabbage-only coleslaw, this recipe’s for you. There’s still the basic purple and green cabbage base, but chopped up broccoli along with walnuts and cranberries give this slaw a completely different vibe. Get our Broccoli Slaw recipe.
8. Carrot Slaw with Cranberries and Walnuts
This is an extremely simple recipe that depends on the texture of the grated carrots to keep it interesting. It’s sweet, crunchy, and has a delightful combination of citrus (orange juice, lemon juice, and lemon zest) that makes for a fresh (and beautifully bright!) summer side. Get the recipe here.
9. Healthy Vegetable Slaw
The multicolored vegetables in this slaw make for a dish that is as bright and appealing as it is good for you. Radish sprouts are an unusual addition and you can substitute any kind of sprout you have on hand. A tiny bit of brown sugar adds sweetness and melds well with the apple cider vinegar. Get the recipe here.
10. Lime and Peanut Coleslaw
Heidi Swanson’s Mexican-inspired coleslaw features tomatoes (but she includes other options if you can’t find any that are up to your standards – avocado, red onion, or even apple). Use unsalted, raw peanuts to keep the slaw from getting too salty. Get the recipe here.
11. Vinegar Based Coleslaw
If you’re looking for an easy recipe and a “beginner slaw,” this is a great choice. Mustard, honey, olive oil, celery seed, salt, pepper, apple cider vinegar, and green onions meld together in this slaw for a tangy and refreshing side that tastes amazing when piled high on pulled pork or brisket. Get the recipe here.
12. Kale Slaw with Miso Dijon Dressing
This kale slaw gets better every day and is a great dish to keep in the fridge and use as the base for a healthy brown bag lunch. The miso dressing has Dijon mustard, red pepper flakes, lemon juice, olive oil, and salt and pepper – it’s simple, but watch out for the hotness from the pepper flakes and adjust to suit your taste. Get the recipe here.
13. Jerusalem Artichoke Slaw
Jerusalem artichokes cut into matchstick-sized pieces (along with chopped carrots and parsley) make an ideal base for this thick and creamy dressing. Sour cream, mayonnaise, and mustard are cut with white vinegar and capers to balance out the flavors. Get the recipe here.
14. Easy Corn and Tomato Coleslaw
This recipe screams summer - use fresh corn on the cob that you char on the grill and only the ripest summer tomatoes for the best results. Lime, garlic, and mustard dressing topped with fresh cilantro make this coleslaw a nice change from the norm and exceptionally fresh. Get our Easy Corn and Tomato Coleslaw recipe.
15. Easy Red Cabbage Coleslaw
White vinegar, horseradish, pickles and even 2 tablespoons of pickle brine add acidity to the mayonnaise-based dressing in this recipe for easy red cabbage coleslaw. This is a heavier slaw that pairs well with grilled meats and vegetables - leave it in the refrigerator overnight to amp up the flavors. Get our Easy Red Coleslaw recipe.
Caitlin M. O'Shaughnessy is a New York City–based food writer and editor at Penguin who has worked on and recipe-tested several cookbooks. She is currently in search of NYC's best ramen, and is one of the few people who admit to disliking brunch.