Food & Drink

Carolina Cabbage Slaw with Roasted Sweet Corn

Pair with roasted chicken, pork, or beef for the perfect side or main course

Photo: Beatriz da Costa.

“I have so many memories of sitting at the picnic table in my parents’ backyard, shucking corn with family and friends. We’d shuck bushels at a time while sipping large glasses of iced tea. Cool drinks and big belly laughs made the time fly by, as did dishes like this; the promise of roasted sweet corn was always an incentive. Another way to do this at home is to season the ears of corn and throw them under the broiler on a sheet pan.” —Alexander Smalls


  • Carolina Cabbage Slaw with Roasted Sweet Corn (yield: 6 servings)

    • 4 medium ears corn, shucked

    • ½ cup olive oil

    • 1 large head savoy cabbage, cored and shredded

    • 1 (5-ounce) bag baby spinach

    • ½ cup mayonnaise

    • ¼ cup sweet pickle relish

    • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard

    • 1 teaspoon celery seeds

    • ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper

    • ⅛ teaspoon ground nutmeg

    • Salt and pepper


  1. Brush the corn with 1/4 cup of the oil. Grill the corn, turning occasionally, until tender and charred in spots, about 13 minutes. Set the corn aside until cool enough to handle, then cut the kernels from the cobs.

    In a large bowl, combine the roasted corn, the remaining 1/4 cup oil, the cabbage, spinach, mayonnaise, relish, mustard, celery seeds, cayenne, and nutmeg. Taste and season with salt and black pepper. Cover and chill for several hours before serving.


Excerpted from MEALS, MUSIC, AND MUSES: Recipes From My African American Kitchen by Alexander Smalls with Veronica Chambers. Copyright © 2020 by Alexander Smalls. Reprinted with permission from Flatiron Books. All rights reserved. Photography by Beatriz da Costa.