The Staple Condiment That Elevates Coleslaw With A Hint Of Sweetness

Coleslaw, per NPR, may have gotten its start in ancient Rome when it was made with cabbage, vinegar, eggs, and spices, but today, the basics of coleslaw haven't changed. A classic mayo or vinegar-dressed coleslaw salad or crunchy topping for a burger continues to earn its place in the culinary repertoire of many a chef. It's so beloved, coleslaw has even found its way into the world of fast food. You would be hard-pressed not to find lovers of Popeyes and KFC ordering this dish up to go alongside their beloved fried chicken. But what has given this side dish such staying powers through the centuries?

Coleslaw's longevity could be credited to what the Sustained Kitchen refers to as cabbage's neutral flavor. Its bland taste definitely makes it easy to make coleslaw in numerous ways, like by using a carrot, Brussels sprouts, or kale base, adding soy sauce, rice vinegar, and sesame seeds for an Asian spin, or using crumbled Roquefort blue cheese like Ina Garten.

There is a lot of variety, but if you want to elevate your slaw with a hint of sweetness, you may want to try using one particular condiment when making your dressing.


According to America's Test Kitchen, if you want to add a sweet tang to your coleslaw, you may want to reach for the very ingredient you like to dip your French fries in: ketchup. The site notes that using this tomato-based condiment is popular in states like Kentucky and the Carolinas. In fact, per Saveur, in Lexington, North Carolina, they use a spicy ketchup that not only adds sweetness to the taste buds but gives the shredded cabbage salad a bit of a kick.

If ketchup in a salad sounds a little odd, you aren't alone in your skepticism. But don't knock it before you try it because Real Simple suggests ketchup can work in many salad dressings. The site explains that the ketchup doesn't overpower other ingredients, but instead works in tandem, offering a détente between competing flavors. For example, there are a number of salad dressings that use ketchup as their base including, Russian and Thousand Island. But using ketchup over mayo for coleslaw has other advantages. As Alarabiya News suggests, skipping mayo in your salad dressings can save you calories.