Sweet Vidalia Onion Slaw is an utterly simple, utterly brilliant side for your next picnic, barbecue, or potluck — the famously mellow onions are sliced paper thin and tossed with a cool buttermilk dressing — it’s a little bit of heaven on a paper plate!
Vidalias are super mild, sweet onions that were only discovered by accident in Vidalia Georgia in the 1930s — something about the soil in that particular area resulted in their unusual mellow quality, and they’re so darned sweet and delicious that they eventually became trademarked. The only onions that can call themselves Vidalias are from those certain counties in Georgia. Vidalias are mild enough to eat right out of hand, like an apple, but I think this slaw is an even better idea. Serve it as a side, or on hot dogs, brats, burgers, sandwiches, etc. It goes with anything and everything and couldn’t be simper…
I made an appropriately Southern style slaw dressing to complement these Georgian gems. It’s a blend of buttermilk, mayo, and a champagne vinegar. A bit of salt, pepper, and a good dash of celery seeds completes this dressing. The buttermilk and the champagne vinegar work together to elevate even a homey slaw into something special.
If you’re like me and generally avoid eating too many raw onions, I think you’ll be amazed at how you can tolerate these without any problems at all. The flavor is sweet and mellow, and there’s none of the harsh sharpness we associate with regular onions. Unlike regular onions, sweet onions can be stored in the refrigerator.
Onions are so tightly packed that when you slice one of them paper thin and separate all the strands it’ll fill a pretty good sized bowl. I love this recipe because with just one onion you can have this sweet Vidalia onion slaw on the table in no time. Most people don’t know it but onions are really healthy — they can help prevent everything from heart attacks and strokes, to ulcers and cancer. This delicious slaw might just put cabbage out of business!
tvfgi recommends: a sturdy mandoline slicer
I couldn’t do without my mandoline slicer, I use it all the time for salads, French fries, gratins, and slaws like this one. It’s earned its place in my kitchen countless times, I won’t be without it.
make this recipe your own!
- make it creamy ~ this dressing is on the thin side…if you’d like it thicker and creamier, use half the amount of buttermilk.
- make it with a kick ~ I almost added a bit of horseradish, I think that would be nice. Or a bit of grainy Dijon mustard…depends on your mood.
- make it light ~ to lighten the dressing try using Greek yogurt in place of the mayo. Don’t worry about the buttermilk, despite its name, it’s super low in fat. If you don’t have buttermilk you can use regular milk, but the flavor won’t be as good.
Sweet Vidalia Onion Slaw
- 2 Vidalia onions, or other sweet variety
- 1/2 cup buttermilk
- 1/2 cup mayonnaise
- 2 Tbsp champagne vinegar
- 2 tsp celery seeds
- 1/2 tsp salt
- lots of fresh cracked black pepper
- dill, parsley, thyme, or chive
- Peel and slice the onions into 1/8 inch slices. This is best done on a mandolin slicer. Cut the slices in half or thirds.
- Put the onions into a bowl, carefully separating the strands as you add them.
- Whisk together the dressing and be sure to taste to adjust any of the ingredients.
- Pour enough dressing over the onions to saturate them, but don’t drown them. Toss well and refrigerate for several hours before serving.
- Garnish with just a bit of green before serving, it could be dill, thyme, parsley, or chive.
Questions and Reviews
can we make it work with another vinegar? I’m so tired of buying these obscure ingredients. I want to make this because I love onions.
You can absolutely use your favorite vinegar, no problem Bridgette!
Oh Sue, this is the best ever! It’s so quick and easy and absolutely delicious. I didn’t change a thing and kept the same measurements – the dressing was just fine, not too thin at all. We live in Atlanta and my neighbor’s family is from Vidalia and brought her an entire box of onions – I mean a huge box. She keeps giving me more. Tomorrow I will make the pickled version and then the slaw again this week. Just a bit of advice for your readers … I’ve known several people end up in ER after using a mandoline. I have a rule – I wear my rubber washing up gloves and really concentrate – I don’t even have the radio on until that blade is washed and put away. A mandoline makes quick work of the slaw but that blade is super, super sharp and it’s worth taking a moment to focus. Love, love ALL your recipes.
Thanks Amanda, great points about the mandoline. I always use the bulky guard that comes with mine, it’s worth the peace of mind 🙂
I`m one of those that took a trip to the ER last year,it`s not recommended to operate a mandolin while impaired.Keep that wine glass out of reach and always use the guard,I see most all chefs on TV that don`t use them.I have a Bennriner and the guard is a little wonky which I was not using,don`t drink and drive and toss that little knob of veg. it`s not worth it.
Well said ~ I always use the guard 😉
Looks delish! I’m in the market for a mandolin. Can you recommend a great one??
Hey Maria ~ I just updated the post with a recommendation and link, thanks for the reminder!
I love Vidalia onions but never thought to use them in a slaw! This is so creative and look downright tasty as heck!
My husband loves sweet onions, every time I send him to the store with onions on the list he buys vidalias, no matter how expensive they are or what I originally asked for ;)! What a great idea to turn them into a slaw!