THE (cabbage) Slaw

This slaw is a classic in my family. Dewey (my husband) likes it with finely chopped pickles, which is how his mother always made it. Me? I like it just like this…always. Depending on how large a cabbage you have, this recipe will use up about half of one head. Not too many ingredients and it’s assembled very quickly. While it’s just fine to serve immediately, it improves greatly with age--about two hours. I like to make it in the morning or the night before.

My stepchildren and two granddaughters love this slaw. Other coleslaw recipes, not so much. The onion in this recipe has a history, and it’s been a secret of mine (and Dewey’s) until recently.

I always use a hand-held mandoline to shave the cabbage. Makes quick work out of this task!

Years ago, when the kids were younger and onion was not a favored ingredient but something to pull out of your plate instead, I chopped it very, very, very, VERY finely. I always chopped and added the onion when no one was looking and I didn’t tell a soul. Regardless of everyone’s hatred for one my favorite food flavorings, they all loved my slaw. The finer an onion is chopped, the more flavor it releases; allowing it to sit in the slaw for a few hours mellows its flavor profile. The end product is delicious but without the sharp and (to some) offensive taste of a just-chopped onion.

Today, the secret is out, and stepdaughter Emme recently asked for my recipe. While I’ve made this slaw hundreds of times over the last 24-plus years, I’ve made it without a recipe. This weekend, I measured everything and, poof! Perfect slaw and a recipe. So, for Emme, Thomas, Tara, Corley, Olivia, Steve and Dan…here’s the recipe for THE slaw.
Tools of slaw-making

THE Slaw
8-9 cups finely shredded cabbage (I use a hand-held mandoline)
¼ cup VERY finely chopped yellow onion (sweet, like a Vidalia)
1 t ground black pepper
½ t fine sea salt (Celtic or Grey)
1 t sugar
1/3 cup white vinegar
1 cup mayonnaise (we always use Duke’s)

Stir to combine well. Cover and refrigerate for two hours or longer. May also be served immediately

Mix in a larger bowl and serve in a smaller one.
Dust with ground pepper before serving.


  1. No other way to make it. I do agree with Dewey, I like finely chopped sweet pickles too

  2. I was so excited to try my hand at my Dad and Despina's famous slaw recipe and it turned out great! I got rave reviews from all of the guests at my boyfriends birthday party!

    1. Woo-HOO!!! Now you're a pro. Keep up the good work. Between your devilled eggs, the slaw, the stewed collards and dad's mashed potatoes, you've got it made. All you need is fried chicken and iced tea. xo


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