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Chipotle coleslaw - perfect with BBQ and for summer potlucks and get-togethers /// 40 ApronsAs a kid, I never understood the point of coleslaw. Sugary, limp cabbage, mauled beyond recognition, like the day your pet tiger turns on you? Why waste a side dish slot on that when you could get–gasp–mashed potatoes and gravy?

OK, so I still don’t totally understand choosing, let’s be honest, any side dish over mashed potatoes and gravy, but my understanding of coleslaw has blossomed, as I’ve discovered how balancing the dish can be when it’s done well. Crunchy and a bit sweet, creamy and a little tangy, it’s the perfect foil to a rich barbecue sauce or crispy fried chicken.

But I still thought we could do better.

Chipotle coleslaw - perfect with BBQ and for summer potlucks and get-togethers /// 40 ApronsI made appallingly simple BBQ shredded chicken sandwiches in the Crockpot  for our gender reveal party, and O nearly had a breakdown when he realized he only got *one* the entire day. Never mind that I offered him three after a frenzied photoshoot before the guests arrived, he ate only one, then regretted it for the rest of his life (if by the rest of his life, you mean until I remade the recipe just for him).

When I made the recipe again during the week–sharing soon!–I decided to up the ante and elevate the coleslaw. I’d settled for the flaccid deli option before, out of sheer necessity, but this time? This time, it’s on. Inspired by my love for a crunchy, simplistic red cabbage slaw on fish tacos, I opted for an infusion of smoky chipotle peppers and adobo sauce–two of O’s and my favorite elements–with a touch of mild green onions. Layered on top of the sweet, smoky-in-a-whole-‘nother-way shredded BBQ chicken, I finally fell in love with coleslaw.
Oh! You’re what coleslaw is meant to be! I see now.. crunchy and flavorful and light and sweet and vibrant and tart and yesyesyes. O hoarded the bowl of extra on the outside edge of his claim to the table–as far away from me as he could–and by the time I could see the bottom of the bowl, he asked innocently, “Oh, did you want some?”

Chipotle coleslaw - perfect with BBQ and for summer potlucks and get-togethers /// 40 ApronsHe’s lucky I wasn’t having a particularly vengeful craving, else he’d be still wandering the streets with one sock half-on, stubble verging on full-blown beard, muttering to himself about how it all went wrong.

Not that I’m like.. hormonal, or anything.

But seriously, this is your new favorite coleslaw! Perfect for barbecues and potlucks and summer in general, you’ll be so impressed at how much flavor is packed into 10 minutes of prep and how beautifully it pairs with BBQ sandwiches especially. Make this!

Or you’re next (, you one-sock-wearing, stubble-verging-on-full-blown-bearing, muttering-to-yourselfing piece o’..)

Recipe By: Cheryl Malik
5 from 2 votes

Chipotle Coleslaw

Prep 10 minutes
Total 10 minutes
6 people


  • 14 ounce of coleslaw mix or mixed chopped cabbage red cabbage, and carrots
  • 1 tablespoon Scant 1 cup good-quality mayonnaise or vegan mayo Mayo is highly recommended
  • 1 clove garlic peeled and smashed
  • 2 tablespoons pepper chipotle
  • 1 teaspoon adobo sauce sauce that chipotle peppers come in
  • 2 tablespoons vinegar rice
  • 2 tablespoons sugar for sweet taste
  • 1 tablespoon salt to taste
  • 2 tablespoon chopped green onions
  • 1 tablespoon chopped cilantro for garnish, optional


  • Place coleslaw or mixed cabbage & carrots in a medium mixing bowl.
  • In the bowl of a food processor, combine mayonnaise, garlic, chipotle peppers, adobo sauce, rice vinegar, and sugar. Process until completely smooth. Pour over coleslaw or mixed cabbage & carrots and toss to coat completely. Add salt to taste and then gently stir in chopped green onions.
  • Cover and chill until ready to serve. Garnish with chopped cilantro, if desired.
  • Goes perfectly with pulled BBQ sandwiches!
Perfect for barbecues and potlucks and summer in general, you’ll be so impressed at how much flavor is packed into 10 minutes of prep and how beautifully it pairs with BBQ sandwiches especially.

Approximate Information for One Serving

Serving Size: 6servingCalories: 79calProtein: 1gFat: 4gSaturated Fat: 1gSodium: 1332mgPotassium: 153mgTotal Carbs: 10gFiber: 2gSugar: 6gNet Carbs: 8gVitamin A: 76IUVitamin C: 24mgCalcium: 38mgIron: 1mg
Nutrition Disclaimers
Number of total servings shown is approximate. Actual number of servings will depend on your preferred portion sizes.
Nutritional values shown are general guidelines and reflect information for 1 serving using the ingredients listed, not including any optional ingredients. Actual macros may vary slightly depending on specific brands and types of ingredients used.
To determine the weight of one serving, prepare the recipe as instructed. Weigh the finished recipe, then divide the weight of the finished recipe (not including the weight of the container the food is in) by the desired number of servings. Result will be the weight of one serving.

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  1. This recipe looks great! Do you think I could make it Whole30 by just leaving out the sugar (and using whole30 approved mayo)? I feel like the sugar is probably important to balance out the flavors in this recipe. Thoughts?

    1. My inclusion of chipotle in recipes is directly proportionate to the number of foot massages I’m offered, pretty sure

  2. Umm either I’m just totally the most forgetful person on the planet, or I seriously did not even know that you were expecting! Either way, YAY!!! Congrats girl! Soooo freakin’ happy for you and your hubby! And this coleslaw? Oh geez. I am a coleslaw girl through and through and this bowl is speaking wonderful things to me right now!

    1. Haha! I posted about it a couple times but haven’t been posting very regularly. I’m already huge now!! And dude this coleslaw was so good, even for coleslaw-haters like myself!

  3. I always love coleslaw in any shape & form, but yours looks like the best coleslaw ever!!! I plan to eat it as is, away from my hubby, so he couldn’t take some from my bowl… hahaha
    I will definitely give this coleslaw a try. Love Love Love

    But seriously, I have not stopped by for awhile — sorry 🙁 and you have so many good news.
    I love the new style blog and congratulations on the little one, Cheryl. I am so happy for you 🙂


    1. It IS so good! Like I said, I usually can’t stand coleslaw but damn, this was yummy. And I haven’t been posting! I went through such a weird time with my appetite so that’s why I wasn’t reading blogs or posting my own recipes 🙂 Thanks Pang!! We are so stoked!

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