Company Coleslaw

Several years before we bought a cruising boat, I remember reading an article that said to learn how to make several different salads from cabbage if you intended to go cruising, as cabbage held up a lot better than lettuce on a boat.  And in 6 years of full-time cruising, I learned the truth of that statement!

One of my favorite cabbage salads was what my mom called “Company Coleslaw,” meaning that it was a little more special than the everyday varieties that were just cabbage (and maybe a little shredded carrot) with either a mayonnaise or vinaigrette dressing.

Few people have ever had it, which makes it great to take to pitch-in dinners where everyone likes to get new ideas for food that works well on the boat.  Well, maybe a few more have tried it now:  in December 2006, Cruising World published my recipe.  It’s just one of the THIRTEEN recipes for cabbage salad that Jan and I have included in The Boat Galley Cookbook.

Company Coleslaw

“Dinner on RDreamz at 6!”

A dinghy greeted us as ¿Qué Tal?, our Tayana 37, entered the Hot Springs anchorage in the Sea of Cortez. We’d never met the smiling and waving couple before, yet their first words were an invitation to dinner in less than an hour.

Were they serious? Yes.

As soon as my husband Dave and I got our anchor down, Royce and Pam called on the VHF to introduce themselves. They wanted us to join the other two boats in the anchorage for a get-acquainted dinner aboard RDreamz, their 50-foot schooner.

Pam said she had everything for dinner; I shouldn’t bring anything.

“Unless,” she added with a laugh, “you can conjure up a salad.” Pam thought she was joking. How could I make a salad more than two weeks since we’d been to town?

Little did she know I had a dozen salad recipes that don’t require lettuce or other “tender” vegetables that don’t store well while cruising. My Company Coleslaw would be perfect with the pork roast Pam had.

Since that night over a year ago, we’ve shared a lot with Royce and Pam. We’re now anchored beside them in Bahia del Sol, El Salvador – almost 1500 miles from where we first met them. And I just got a call on the VHF – “Movie on RDreamz at 7!”

1/2 c. mayonnaise

1 small can pineapple chunks

3 to 4 cups shredded cabbage

1/4 c. roasted salted peanuts

Place mayonnaise in medium bowl. Drain pineapple, reserving the juice. Add pineapple to bowl and mix. Add enough of the reserved juice so that the mayonnaise has the consistency of catsup (the rest of the juice is not needed). Add cabbage and toss well. Chill before serving if possible.

Immediately before serving, add peanuts and toss. Serves 4.


  • Instead of canned pineapple, use fresh. Or try mandarin oranges, mangoes, seedless grapes, apples, cooked or canned beets.
  • If there isn’t enough fruit juice to thin the mayonnaise, use milk.
  • Pecans, slivered almonds or raisins can be used instead of peanuts.

Want more boat-friendly recipes? Check out The Boat Galley Cookbook with over 800 recipes or get a free PDF sample of it with 30 recipes:


  • Pat Cummins on Facebook
    Posted at 06 January 2012 Reply

    I use this recipe all the time on the boat. Don’t remember where I first saw it, but we love it. Not just for company!

  • Cherielynne Phillips on Facebook
    Posted at 07 January 2012 Reply

    Going to try this one! I can’t wait for the book to come out!

  • Allan Cobb on Facebook
    Posted at 07 March 2013 Reply

    The admiral has been having me make chipotle coleslaw for her lately. It’s also great on fish tacos!

  • The Boat Galley on Facebook
    Posted at 08 March 2013 Reply

    Allan Cobb — if you’re willing to share the recipe (and a photo if you have one), send it to me at carolyn (at) theboatgalley (dot) com and I’ll post it on TBG. It sounds fantastic!

  • Jan Bogart
    Posted at 12 September 2014 Reply

    Thanks….sounds good too.

  • Michael Robinson
    Posted at 15 September 2014 Reply

    Just made a batch. excellent! Did some with peanuts and some with cashews.

  • Dave Skolnick (S/V Auspicious)
    Posted at 14 September 2017 Reply

    I like the pineapple idea. Good one.

    I usually divide up my cabbage between green and purple – usually two greens for each purple. It all tastes the same to me but it looks nice.

    Other ingredients to jazz up coleslaw include grated onion, caraway seed, apples, bell peppers (if you haven’t been off the grid too long), or pepperocini.

    I have a personal preference for vinaigrette dressings and particularly like those with mustard. Your call.

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