Homemade organic coleslaw salad with cabbage and carrots
The Big Distinction Between Slaw And Coleslaw
Though you might be used to saying "slaw" as shorthand for coleslaw, not all slaw is coleslaw. Coleslaw always features cabbage, while slaw is a much broader term.
Early Dutch settlers in New York brought a dish called "koolsla," with "kool" meaning cabbage and "sla" meaning salad. "Coleslaw," therefore, always refers to a cabbage slaw.
Coleslaw must be made with any kind of shredded cabbage to carry the name, and is usually combined with a mayonnaise- or vinegar-based dressing.
Meanwhile, "slaw" refers to any kind of crunchy, raw vegetable salad coated in a creamy or tangy dressing. Unlike coleslaw, slaw is associated with many different global cuisines.
A Vietnamese-style slaw can include carrots, cucumber, cilantro, and daikon radish with fish sauce, while a French-inspired slaw may use apples, fennel, tarragon, and endive.