(Editor’s note: Coleslaw recipes grabbed our attention when we polled over 12,000 outdoor living enthusiasts on our Facebook page about their favorite foods to have at a BBQ or patio party with friends. “Slaw” got over 500 votes and was in the Top 20 of all foods voted on!)

In Sweden it’s made with vinegar and oil and served with pizza. In Italy, it’s called “Insalata Capricciosa” and contains ham and sliced pepper. In Korea, hot and spicy coleslaw, called kimchi, is the “national dish” served with everything from stew to pancakes.

With such worldwide popularity, it’s no wonder that coleslaw is a staple at backyard barbecues here in the U.S. as well. Like all great side dishes and sandwich toppers, it can suit any palate, easily morphing from creamy and sweet to spicy or tart, depending on personal taste.

Even better, it’s become extremely easy to prepare thanks to the range of already shredded cabbage and other vegetables available in grocery stores. That brings it to the top of my list for outdoor entertaining.

The Foundation

Coleslaw Recipes: Outdoor, Patio, Parties, BBQs - Shredded Cabbage

Shredded Cabbage

The traditional foundation of coleslaw is the ever humble, shredded, cabbage, but any shredded vegetable, like broccoli, or interesting type of cabbage, like kohlrabi (German cabbage), works well.

Another key part, of course, is the all important dressing. Creamier versions call for mayonnaise and/or buttermilk while lighter ones use sour cream or just plain vinegar.

Other common slaw ingredients include carrots, onions, and celery seed although some people add cheese, apples and pineapple to the mix (More on slaw with attitude later).

North Carolina even has its own variety, red slaw, made with ketchup and vinegar (hence the name), easily distinguished from “white slaw.”

The coleslaw recipes below are grouped into three types: Creamy, Vinegar-Based, and Coleslaw with Attitude. They’re all good, but you may prefer to serve them with different main courses or to more or less adventurous guests.

Creamy Coleslaw Recipes

Coleslaw Recipes: Outdoor, Patio, Parties, BBQs - Creamy Coleslaw

Creamy Coleslaw

There’s nothing quite like creamy coleslaw to take you back to the taste of the patio parties and potlucks of your youth.

These four all balance the sweet/creamy combination well although you can use splenda or stevia if you’re trying to cut down on your sugar intake.

Bobby Flay’s Creamy Slaw is a cinch to prepare.

And on tables in the American South, you might find this Southern Coleslaw Recipe. Be sure to chill a few hours before serving.

Two other easy and delicious coleslaw recipes are Martha Stewart’s Classic, Creamy Coleslaw and Mr. Food’s Captain’s Coleslaw.

Vinegar Based

These slaws are much lighter than their creamy cousins, but just as good.

You can use all sorts of vinegar in a coleslaw dressing although apple cider vinegar is quite common. Mr. Food’s Apple Cider Slaw can be eaten by those with diabetes, and another recipe that is quite light is Taste of Home’s Vinaigrette Coleslaw Recipe.

Here is a recipe which uses balsamic vinegar for a slightly different taste: KeyIngredient.com’s Cole Slaw with Balsamic Vinaigrette.

Finally, the name, Tastier Than Heck Oil and Vinegar Coleslaw Dressing, says it all. Try it with rice vinegar, sesame oil and Asian vegetables if you’re a fan of Chinese or Japanese food.

Coleslaw with Attitude

These are the coleslaws you make when you want something a little different. Zippy and fresh, they will surprise and delight you and your guests.

This Tangy Sandwich Slaw has just four ingredients, but they pack a punch.  The next three, Thai coleslaw, Sicilian Strawberry Slaw, and Broccoli and Seaweed Slaw are nontraditional but perfect for when you want something a little different.

So that’s our take on coleslaw. Up next? Perhaps potato salad…

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