Vinegar Coleslaw: Light, Crisp, and Refreshing

Vinegar Coleslaw: Light, Crisp, and Refreshing


Coleslaw is a must-have for any summer event. Creamy coleslaw is excellent, but sometimes you want something a little lighter that can withstand the heat! My Vinegar Coleslaw is a great recipe to keep on hand for those tangy cravings. Because it’s so light, you can pair it with heavier recipes, like my Brisket Grilled Cheese and Cheeseburger Hoagies. Its mild flavor makes it pair well with just about anything! 

 This recipe is also easy on the wallet, requiring just a few ingredients that most people already have in their pantry.

Unlike most cream-based coleslaws, you can freeze this recipe and enjoy it later! It’s a great make-ahead option that actually tastes better the next day. Enjoy my Vinegar Coleslaw as a side dish or add a scoop to your favorite sandwich, burger, or pulled pork dish. 

Vinegar Coleslaw | Heath Riles BBQ

Coleslaw may be a favorite at American picnics, but it has its roots in Dutch culture. It was initially called “koolsla,” which means “salad made of cabbage.” Pretty fitting title, I’d say! Like many great foods, coleslaw came to America with European settlers, where it was an instant favorite. As cabbage is an abundant vegetable, this dish was easy to make, and it fed a crowd! 

Coleslaw initially didn’t contain mayonnaise, but it did include plenty of eggs and vinegar! Mayonnaise-based coleslaw didn’t appear until the 20th century, making this Vinegar Slaw feel vintage. 

The Ingredients

Simple pantry ingredients combine to make one divine Vinegar Coleslaw. Here’s what you need to add to your shopping list. 

  • Vegetable oil. You need a mild oil to bind things together when making Vinegar Coleslaw. Vegetable oil keeps the focus where it belongs: on the vinegar and seasoning blend! If you prefer a more robust oil, go with olive or avocado. 
  • Apple cider vinegar. Apple cider vinegar is less bitter than white vinegar, making it ideal for Vinegar Coleslaw. It also has a delightful fruity note that tones down any acidity. 
  • Sugar. A little sugar gives the coleslaw a balanced taste. I used plain white sugar for this recipe, as it goes with almost anything. 
  • Heath Riles BBQ Garlic Jalapeńo Rub. This rub was an instant bestseller and remains a fan favorite to this day. This blend is a great upgrade from your basic salt and pepper, as it includes garlic and a hint of heat. It’s an awesome AP blend that goes great with chicken, salads, pork, steaks, and even popcorn. 
  • Tri-colored coleslaw mix. I prefer a hearty coleslaw, so I went with a tri-colored coleslaw mix. This includes red and green cabbage, giving you a variety of flavors in each bite. Be sure to pick out any large chunks of cabbage for best results. You can use cabbage shredded in the food processor or broccoli slaw.
  • Veggies. I amplified the veggie content in this Vinegar Coleslaw by including diced red bell pepper and onion. The red bell pepper added a sweet note to the mix, and the onion gave the coleslaw a little kick. When paired together, you have the perfect match. 

The Process for Making Vinegar Coleslaw

My short video and recipe card provide a detailed demonstration of this recipe. For now, here’s a quick rundown on how to make Vinegar Coleslaw.

  • Mix the veggies. In a large bowl, I combined the tri-colored coleslaw, chopped bell pepper, and diced onion. 
  • Make the dressing. I whisked the vegetable oil, apple cider vinegar, sugar, and Heath Riles BBQ Garlic Jalapeńo Rub in a large glass measuring cup until homogeneous. 
  • Toss the vinegar coleslaw. I poured the dressing over the veggie mixture and tossed until everything was well coated. I covered the bowl and set it in the fridge to let the flavors marinate. The only thing left was to dig in! 

The Results

This coleslaw was perfectly tangy, light, and refreshing. The unique mixture of veggies gave it an interesting texture without taking away from the cabbage. I give this recipe a ten out of ten! 

Serving Suggestions for Vinegar Coleslaw

This coleslaw is ideal for topping my Pulled Pork on the Weber Kettle Grill. It would also make a great topping for tacos, burgers, and grilled seafood.

Storing Leftovers

Leftover vinegar Coleslaw can be stored in the fridge for up to 5 days. Because this recipe does not contain dairy, it can also be frozen for up to 6 months. 

 Equipment and Tools

Tongs, mixing bowls

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