Nestled at the back corner of the N.C. Farmer’s Market, N.C. Seafood Restaurant has been a beloved spot for the Raleigh community to enjoy delicious seafood for years. While our seafood dishes are always the main attraction, a great side dish can elevate your meal. This month, we’re excited to share two fantastic coleslaw recipes: a tangy, vinegar-based coleslaw and a creamy, mayo-based coleslaw. These recipes are perfect for pairing with crispy fried fish, shrimp, or any of your favorite dishes. 

The Magic of Coleslaw

Coleslaw is more than just a side dish; it’s a versatile complement that adds crunch, flavor, and a refreshing contrast to savory seafood. Whether you enjoy the zesty kick of vinegar or the smooth creaminess of mayonnaise, these coleslaw recipes will surely delight your taste buds. Plus, they’re simple to prepare and can be made ahead of time, making them ideal for gatherings and weeknight dinners. 

The Evolution of Coleslaw Recipes

Over the years, coleslaw has evolved significantly. While the basic ingredients of cabbage and dressing remain the same, the variety of dressings and additional ingredients has expanded. Today, you can find coleslaw recipes that include apples, cranberries, nuts, and even jalapenos for a spicy kick. The versatility of coleslaw makes it a popular side dish that can be adapted to suit different tastes and occasions.

Vinegar Coleslaw Recipe

This vinegar-based coleslaw is a refreshing alternative to traditional creamy versions for those who love a tangy twist. Inspired by some of the best recipes online, this version is light, crisp, and flavorful. Its vibrant colors make it a visually appealing addition to any meal, and it’s perfect for those looking for a healthier, dairy-free coleslaw option. 


  • 1 small head of green cabbage, thinly sliced 
  • 1 red bell pepper, thinly sliced 
  • 1 large carrot, julienned 
  • 1/2 cup apple cider vinegar 
  • 1/4 cup olive oil 
  • 2 tablespoons honey 
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard 
  • 1 teaspoon celery seeds 
  • Salt and pepper to taste


  1. Combine the cabbage, bell pepper, and carrot in a large bowl. 
  2. In a separate bowl, whisk together the vinegar, vegetable oil, honey, Dijon mustard, celery seeds, and salt and pepper. 
  3. Pour the dressing over the vegetables and toss to coat evenly. 
  4. Let the coleslaw sit for at least 30 minutes before serving to allow the flavors to meld together.

This tangy coleslaw pairs perfectly with hushpuppies and adds a refreshing crunch to any seafood meal. It’s a fantastic choice for a summer barbeque or a casual family dinner. 

Tips for the Perfect Vinegar Coleslaw

  • Let It Sit: Allowing the coleslaw to sit for at least 30 minutes melds the flavors, creating a more cohesive dish. 
  • Adjust Sweetness: Add more honey to the dressing if you prefer a sweeter coleslaw. 
  • Extra Crunch: Adding thinly sliced radishes or jicama can provide an additional layer of crunch.

Creamy Coleslaw Recipe

For those who enjoy traditional, creamy coleslaw, this mayo-based recipe is a must-try. Inspired by popular recipes, it’s rich and creamy and the perfect accompaniment to your favorite fried fish or shrimp. The smooth, velvety texture of the mayonnaise dressing coats each piece of cabbage and carrot, offering a delightful contrast to crunchy seafood dishes.


  • 1 small head of green cabbage, thinly sliced 
  • 1 large carrot, grated 
  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise 
  • 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar 
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard 
  • 1 tablespoon honey 
  • 1 teaspoon celery seeds 
  • Salt and pepper to taste


  1. In a large bowl, combine the cabbage and carrot. 
  2. In a separate bowl, whisk together the mayonnaise, apple cider vinegar, Dijon mustard, honey, celery seeds, salt, and pepper. 
  3. Pour the dressing over the vegetables and toss to coat evenly. 
  4. Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes before serving to allow the flavors to meld together. 

This creamy coleslaw is the perfect side for crispy fried shrimp. Its delightful creaminess complements the crunch of any seafood dish. It’s a classic favorite that never disappoints.

Tips for the Perfect Creamy Coleslaw

  • Balance the Flavors: Taste the dressing before mixing it with the vegetables to ensure it has the right balance of sweetness and tanginess. 
  • Chill Before Serving: Creamy coleslaw tastes best when it’s chilled. Let it sit in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes before serving. 
  • Add Some Crunch: Consider adding finely chopped celery or bell peppers for extra texture. 
  • Creamy Variation: Mix in a little sour cream or Greek yogurt with the mayonnaise for a richer texture.

Coleslaw Entree Pairings

NC Seafood Coleslaw Recipe
  • Fish Tacos: Add creamy coleslaw to your fish tacos for a crunchy, tangy addition.
  • Fried Fish: Both coleslaw recipes provide a refreshing contrast to the rich flavors of fried fish.
  • Seafood Sandwiches: Use coleslaw as a topping for seafood sandwiches to add texture and flavor, or serve it as a side.
  • Shrimp Boils: Serve coleslaw alongside a shrimp boil to balance out the spicy and savory flavors with a cool, crunchy bite.
  • Crab Cakes: A side of coleslaw adds a refreshing crunch that pairs wonderfully with tender, flavorful crab cakes.
  • Oysters: Whether fried or grilled, oysters benefit from vinegar coleslaw’s bright and zesty flavors.

Fun Facts About Coleslaw Recipes

  • Global Appeal: While coleslaw is a staple in American cuisine, variations of this dish can be found all over the world. In Korea, a similar dish called “baechu-kimchi” is made with fermented cabbage and a variety of spices.
  • Healthy Benefits: Cabbage, the main ingredient in coleslaw, is packed with vitamins C and K, fiber, and antioxidants. This makes coleslaw delicious and a nutritious addition to your meal.
  • Versatility: Coleslaw can be adapted to suit various dietary needs. For a vegan version, simply substitute the mayonnaise with a plant-based alternative.

Additional Tips for Preparing Coleslaw

To ensure your coleslaw turns out perfect every time, follow these additional tips that can be applied to both vinegar-based and creamy coleslaw recipes. These tips will help you achieve the ideal texture, flavor, and presentation for your dish.

Use Fresh Ingredients 

Always use the freshest vegetables you can find. Fresh cabbage and carrots will make your coleslaw crisp and flavorful. 

Proper Storage

Store coleslaw in an airtight container in the refrigerator. It can last for up to 3 days, and the flavors often meld and improve after a day or two. 

Cut Evenly

Make sure to slice the cabbage and other vegetables uniformly. This ensures a consistent texture and makes the coleslaw more visually appealing. 

Adjust Seasonings

Taste the coleslaw before serving and adjust the seasonings as needed. A bit more salt, pepper, or even a splash of vinegar can enhance the overall flavor. 

Herb Infusion

Fresh herbs such as dill, parsley, or cilantro can be added to introduce a fresh, vibrant taste. 

Mix Thoroughly

Ensure that the dressing coats all the vegetables evenly for the best flavor in every bite.

Visit NC Seafood Restaurant for Our Delicious Coleslaw

When it comes to coleslaw, it’s all about the right balance of flavors and textures. With these foolproof recipes and some creative pairing ideas, you’ll know how to make coleslaw that is sure to be a hit at every dinner table. 

Come see us at N.C. Seafood Restaurant today for a taste of our renowned coleslaw, served as a side with every Calabash-style seafood dish we cook up. 

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