Coleslaw, sometimes simply called slaw in some dialects, is a salad consisting primarily of shredded raw cabbage, which is dressed with buttermilk and mayonnaise in some variations and dressed with vinegar and seasoning (without any dairy or mayonnaise) in other, lighter variations. Cream or sour cream may by used as the dressing and vinegar may be added. It may also include shredded carrots as well as other fruits and vegetables such as apples, onions, radishes, and peppers. Horseradish, seeds, and various spices may be included.
The term “coleslaw” arose in the eighteenth century as an Anglicisation of the Dutch term “koolsla”, a shortening of “koolsalade”, which means “cabbage salad”.
There are many variations of the coleslaw recipe which include the addition of other ingredients, such as red cabbage, pepper, onion, grated cheese, pineapple, or apple, mixed with a salad dressing such as mayonnaise or cream. Coleslaw often also contains buttermilk or mayonnaise substitutes, and carrot; although many variations exist, and recipes incorporating prepared mustard or vinegar without the dairy and mayonnaise are also common. Barbecue Slaw, also known as red slaw and commonly found in the Piedmont region of North Carolina, is made using ketchup and vinegar rather than mayonnaise. A variety of seasonings, such as celery seed, may be added. The cabbage may come in finely minced pieces, shredded strips, or small squares.
Coleslaw is generally eaten as a side dish with foods such as fried chicken and barbecued meats, and may be accompanied by French fries or potato salad as another side dish. It also may be used as a sandwich ingredient, being placed on barbecue sandwiches, hamburgers, and hot dogs along with chilli and hot mustard. Coleslaw also is used on a variant of the Reuben sandwich, with coleslaw substituting for the sauerkraut, the meat being either pastrami or corned beef, and the sandwich commonly is called, a “Rachel” to differentiate it from the “Reuben”.
A variation of coleslaw made with vinegar and oil is often served with pizza in Sweden. See Pizza Salad