New Year Good Luck Coleslaw

Author : Keli Perino, MS, RD, LD

Every New Year my mom makes her famous good luck coleslaw. A part of her German and Swedish heritage, this recipe was made by her mother, her mother’s mother, and so on. Cabbage is said to bring luck in the New Year, and not just any kind of luck, specifically luck with money.

I doubt my grandmother and great-grandmother were thinking of their heart health at the time, but they managed to reduce saturated fats and increase healthy mono/polyunsaturated fats by using an oil-and-vinegar-based dressing instead of a cream-based one. Moreover, cabbage is high in vitamin C, K and B6 as well as a good source of folate and manganese. It is also low in calories and a great way to follow the Plate Method and make half of your plate veggies.


  • 1 medium head green cabbage, finely sliced
  • 1 medium sweet Vidalia onion, finely sliced
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 3/4 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1 1/2 tsp celery seeds
  • 1 1/2 tsp salt
  • 3/4 cup neutral oil (avocado, grapeseed, canola, etc.)


  1. Shred the cabbage and onion, then combine in a large bowl.
  2. In a medium saucepan add sugar, vinegar, celery seed, and salt, then bring to a boil.
  3. Add oil to the saucepan and return to a boil. Cook until sugar has dissolved.
  4. Pour the dressing over the cabbage and onion then toss.
  5. Chill for at least 4 hours or overnight.

Notes: In my opinion, the key to this recipe is using a food processor with a slicing attachment to cut the cabbage and onion into wonderfully thin slices. You could also use a mandolin, but it takes a bit longer. Although this is my family’s traditional recipe, you could easily reduce the sugar, use a different type or mixture of vinegars, or add other veggies like red cabbage, carrots, green onions, fresh herbs, or whatever else you’d like. Good luck!

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