No matter what you’re making for Labor Day, chances are it’ll be grilled. Whether it’s steak, hot dogs, burgers, brats, ribs, BBQ chicken, skewers, or something less conventional, when it comes to sides, creamy potato salad can’t stand alone. You’ll need some crisp and tangy slaws to cut through all that rich, fatty barbecue too. Worry not, we’ve got 15 coleslaw recipes with your name on them.
Everyone loves a summer BBQ—what’s not to cherish about charred hot dogs, perfectly cooked medium-rare burgers, tender ribs, and seared portobello mushrooms fresh from the grill? But fantastic coleslaw can be the 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. Slaws serve multiple functions but is to help balance and reset your palate after lots of rich meats. It’s the same reason burgers are served with a pickle and a bright and tangy slaw is an essential sidekick to any backyard BBQ feast.
Related Reading: Try These Two Tricks for the Best Coleslaw Ever
Check out these 15 recipes for coleslaw that will get you through the entire season—from vegetables you didn’t think to include to extra crunchy additions, inspiring vinaigrettes and unusual combinations, the sky’s the limit. Plus, several of these are suitable for your keto and vegan BBQ guests too! Oh, and they work equally well as something to pack for a picnic.
This 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 (and is perfectly kosher for keto BBQ guests since it has no sugar). Get our Spicy Lime & Jalapeno Coleslaw recipe.
Mueller Austria V-Pro Multi Blade Adjustable Mandoline Slicer, $34.97 from Amazon
Quicker and usually finer results than with a knife.
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 (or grilled chicken sliders). 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.
Related Reading: 11 Best Sides for Summer Grilling and BBQ
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.
Cuisinart Elemental 8-Cup Food Processor, $99.95 from Williams Sonoma
Save your wrist (and knuckles) and shred your slaw in a flash with a food processor.
Related Reading: What Is the Difference Between Coleslaw and Slaw?
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.
Related Reading: How to Make Healthier Coleslaw
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.
Related Reading: Vegan & Vegetarian BBQ Sides Everyone Will Love
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.
Villeroy & Boch Serveware Cottage Salad Bowl, $18.99 from Macy's
Perfect for showcasing any slaw you make.
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.
This is an extremely simple recipe that depends on the texture of the grated carrots to keep it interesting. It’s naturally sweet, crunchy, and has a delightful combination of zippy mustard and fresh herbs that makes for a beautifully bright, French-inspired summer side. Get our Mustard Carrot Slaw recipe.
The multicolored vegetables in this slaw make for a dish that is as bright and appealing as it is good for you. Pumpkin seeds are an unusual addition and you can substitute any mix of seeds you have on hand. A lemon-garlic dressing enriched with a little olive oil is a nice change from the usual vinegary flavor profile. Get the Healthy Vegetable Slaw recipe.
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 Lime and Peanut Coleslaw recipe.
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 Vinegar Based Coleslaw recipe.
This slaw is packed with color and flavor: green and red cabbage, fresh green herbs (mint and basil), and juicy yellow-orange peaches, all in a miso-ginger dressing. Watch out for the hotness from the charred peppers and adjust to suit your taste. Get the Spicy Ginger Miso Slaw recipe.
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 Jerusalem Artichoke Slaw recipe.
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, tomatillos, and a cilantro mustard dressing make this coleslaw a nice change from the norm and exceptionally fresh. Get our Easy Corn and Tomato Coleslaw recipe.
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.
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