Cole’s Spicy Slaw

Social distancing means I am cooking more than ever before. Many of our meals come from sudden inspiration as I try to use up ingredients in the cabinet or refrigerator before they turn.

I do not know how Cole Slaw came to be named. My cousin Clare tells me that friends of our grandmother Elizabeth Law Cole used to call her Cole Slaw. My cousin thinks of our grandmother every time she orders or makes slaw. Clare recalls Grandmother Cole used to grate rather than slice her cabbage for slaw to release more of the juices. Grandmother died when I was only  two years old, so I rely on Clare for childhood stories about her. 

I hereby offer my own Cole’s Spicy Slaw recipe on the fly: a spicy combination of thinly sliced green Napa cabbage, red Fresno pepper, yellow onion, Duke’s mayonnaise, rice vinegar, sugar and salt.

Perfect with a sandwich.

I served this spicy slaw with a sweet honey baked ham and cheese sandwich.

Cole's Spicy Slaw

  • Servings: 8-10
  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Print


  • 1 head of Napa cabbage, quartered and thinly sliced
  • 1 yellow or white onion, halved and thinly sliced
  • 1 Fresno or Thai chili pepper, thinly chopped with seeds
  • 1 cup Duke’s mayonnaise
  • 1/4 cup rice vinegar
  • 4 tsp granulated sugar
  • 1 Tbsp Kosher salt


Combine all ingredients in a large bowl and chill for 1-2 hours before servings.

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