From the Dutch koolsla, meaning "cabbage salad"("cabbage") plus sla ("salad"). Coleslaw is a salad of shredded red or white cabbage mixed with a mayonnaise, vinaigrette or other type of dressing. Other ingredients such as chopped onion, celery, sweet green or red pepper, pickles, bacon or herbs may be added. There are probably as many variations of coleslaw as there are cooks.
From The Food Lover's Companion, Fourth edition by Sharon Tyler Herbst and Ron Herbst. Copyright © 2007, 2001, 1995, 1990 by Barron's Educational Series, Inc.