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Simple Coleslaw Recipe from Alice Waters

Simple coleslaw recipe no mayo
Simple Coleslaw Recipe from Alice Waters | Umami Girl

We spent the weekend visiting the kinds of friends who always introduce me to something new to love. It’s rarely anything enormous, and our tastes are similar enough that it’s often something I could have found in my own home with a little more effort and attention. In other words, it’s basically perfection. The latest episode of this reality show is brought to you by the easy, breezy coleslaw recipe from Alice Waters’ The Art of Simple Food, which Amazon reminds me I purchased in December of 2009. It’s not the kind of cookbook that just sits on the shelf, either. I pick it up regularly, whether to follow a recipe or to glean a bit of inspiration or reassurance. Still, I’m not at all sure I’d have discovered this coleslaw on my own. Yay for friends and cabbage, am I right?

Hiking the Wissahickon | Umami GirlSpeaking of cabbages, here are our own petits choux skipping rocks during a Sunday morning hike along Pennsylvania’s Wissahickon Creek. This is such a gorgeous place for gentle hiking or for doing the kind of trail running and biking that would swiftly land me in the reconstructive dentist’s chair. Edgar Allan Poe was a fan of the Wissahickon, and I feel like he could have used that scenario as the basis of an excellent story. If only we’d known each other when. Alas. Missed connections.

Skipping Rocks on the Wissahickon | Umami GirlWell that was nice, wasn’t it? But maybe you’re here for a different kind of petit chou — the kind that gets sliced into thin ribbons and made into a dreamily simple coleslaw recipe from Alice Waters. (Just one more thing, though: my high school French teacher was all about this whole petit chou = little cabbage = term of endearment situation, but now I hear, somewhat disappointingly for a Crisper Whisperer, that choux in this case actually refers to those little French cream puffs. Whatever, I’m sticking with cabbage, but I thought I’d set the record straight. Onward.)

Simple coleslaw recipe no mayo

This simple coleslaw recipe from Alice Waters has four ingredients plus salt and pepper, takes 15 minutes to assemble even if you’re chatting and sipping wine while you work, and sports just the right amount of flavor to keep things fresh and interesting while pairing well with basically everything you’d want to eat during the summer. You could absolutely jazz it up with a huge handful of chopped herbs or some additional shredded vegetables (carrot, red cabbage, celery root, you name it), but honestly, it’s perfect the way it is. Hope you love it. See you soon.

Simple coleslaw recipe no mayoTalk to you soon.

Carolyn xx

P.S. Links to Amazon in this post are affiliate links, which means that if you click through and buy something, I’ll earn a small commission to help keep Umami Girl bringing you gestalt and pepper on the regular. Thanks, as always, for your support.

UPDATE: I made a video! Here’s how to teach a cabbage who’s boss (and wrangle it into shreds for coleslaw). Related: I made a YouTube channel! It’s brand new. For the lurve of gurd, would you please SUBSCRIBE to it? It’s not easy being green. 🙂 Thank you!

Simple Coleslaw from Alice Waters

Preparation 00:15 Cook Time 00:00 Total Time 0:15
Serves 8     adjust servings

This is about the most pared-down version of coleslaw imaginable. As she does, Alice Waters extracts the essence of fresh, seasonal ingredients and combines them unfussily into something magical. Adapted from The Art of Simple Food.


  • 1 small green cabbage
  • 1/2 small red onion
  • 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar or white wine vinegar
  • 4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • Fine sea salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste


  • Remove the tough outer leaves from the cabbage. Cut the head into quarters and remove the core from each piece. Using a sharp chef's knife or a mandoline, slice the cabbage into long, thin shreds and place in a large bowl.
  • Slice the onion as thinly as possible and add to the bowl.
  • Pour the vinegar and oil overtop and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Toss together (hands work just fine!) until well combined. Taste for seasoning, adjust as you like, and serve. It's great right away and also good the next day.
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    Hi there, I'm Carolyn, and I'm delighted you're here. I'm a NYC-area food, travel, yoga, coffee, wine, running, music making and book obsessive with a great family and a love for sharing it all with you. Grab a drink and come on in. Learn more.