Coleslaw to complement BBQ Ribs

By Mark G. McLaughlin

By Mark G. McLaughlin

Coleslaw is a fairly healthy side dish. It is also the perfect complement to that pile of BBQ ribs you are serving up this Father's Day. Cool, creamy and packed with vegetables, coleslaw is another great way to “Keep the State On Your Plate.”

Why is coleslaw a great complement to a big rack of BBQ ribs? It is both cool and creamy and can serve as both a vegetable and a side dish. Coleslaw is fast and easy to make, it provides the creamy complement to cool the taste buds after taking a bite of tangy BBQ, and can enhance the taste of a sweet or smoky BBQ sauce. Whether you are slathering on the sauce or doing a dry rub, coleslaw is a great partner to any BBQ. All of the vegetables in coleslaw, by the way, are grown in California, which is a great way to “Keep the State On Your Plate.”


  • Large head of green cabbage
  • Small head of red cabbage (optional)
  • One bunch of carrots
  • Stalk or two of celery
  • Apple Cider vinegar
  • Black pepper
  • Mayonnaise (jarred or home-made


In a large bowl place ingredients as follows:

  1. Finely sliced cabbage (green definitely, red as well if you wish)
  2. Grated carrots
  3. Finely diced celery
  4. Vinegar (to taste, so start with just a little)
  5. Black pepper (to taste)

Combine ingredients and dollop in the mayo, a little at a time, as you can always add more.

Home-Made Mayo (optional) If you would rather make your own mayonnaise instead of using a store-bought brand, take these ingredients:

  • 1 cup of olive oil (light, not virgin)
  • 1 teaspoon of white wine vinegar
  • One egg (whites and yolk)
  • Half a teaspoon of lemon juice
  • Half a teaspoon of Dijon (or any fancy) mustard

Place ingredients into a blender, food processor or a bowl where you can mix it vigorously by hand.

Serving Suggestions

Coleslaw can be served in a large bowl, or it can be offered up in individual servings.

Whether you add bottled mayo or your own, be sure to keep this dish chilled right up until serving – and return any leftovers to the fridge or ice chest right after the meal.


California farmers produce fresh, high-quality fruits, nuts, vegetables, proteins and fibers right in our own backyard. It takes water to grow the food we love and farming and ranching are pivotal to the health and stability of our state. 

Learn more about how food and fiber is grown in California