If you are making a salad for a crowd then there are a few things to bear in mind that will make it work well. It definintely helps to make a good hearty one with a bit of substance. Ideally, you also want your salad to hold up well, taste good and compliment any other dishes that you are serving your group.

The best salads for crowds are a delight for the senses. You want it to…

  1. Taste good (think tasty sweet vegetables with good dressing)
  2. Look good (think gorgeous colours)
  3. Hold up well (think firm, no wilting)

What makes a good slaw or salad for a crowd?

Slaw can contain any grated or shredded vegetables. These ingredients are usually cheap and work well in salad, which makes them ideal for a crowd.

Firm ingredients that don’t wilt  such as beetroot, carrot and cabbage means that your salad will hold up extremely well. This shredded firmness makes a slaw very appealing. 

Finally, you will need a good dressing that coats every piece of grated vegetable in your slaw. 

What is the difference between coleslaw and slaw?

Coleslaw literally translates to Dutch origins ‘koolsla’ which means cabbage salad. Traditionally it contained grated or shredded cabbage, carrot and onion, all  tossed in a dressing.

These days the most common dressings for coleslaw are mayonaise or a vinigarette.

A slaw is simply a more modern term for something that resembles a coleslaw, with any grated or shredded veggies in it. 


Grated and shredded veg ready for beet slaw


Using beet in slaw turns it pink

In my slaw recipe today I am using beetroot (called beet in the USA). Not only is beetroot nutritious, but it also makes the slaw turn a gorgeous pink colour.

The pink/red colour of beetroot is a delight for the senses, sure to make any crowd happy before they’ve even got as far as tasting your salad. 

You can grate beet in exactly the same way that you grate carrot. It’s firm with an earthy sweetness, making it an ideal ingredient for a slaw.

Beetroot raw slaw for a large group

Salad for a crowd: slaw is an excellent choice for buffets

Slaw is especially useful  if your salad is going to be sitting out on a buffet table for any length of time. It stands the test of time and holds up well without wilting.

This type of beet slaw also works as a fabulous side dish for virutally anything else you might find on the buffet table.

Making food for a crowd can be stressful as you have to juggle many moving parts of a meal including cooking times. Beet slaw is really useful as you can make it ahead of time. You don’t need to concern yourself with cooking times or serving it hot.  Simply make ahead, pop it in the refrigerator and grab it when you need it.

Do I need to peel my beets before grating or shredding?

No, contrary to popular belief you don’t need to peel your beets. Phew!

In all my years as a chef I have never peeled a beetroot. Just give them a clean, pat them dry with kitchen paper, cut off any gnarly bits, and grate them as they are. 

Fresh beetroot in my local farm shop in Wales


Tahini sauce is a good alternative to mayo when dressing a slaw

In order to keep every morsel of my salads healthy, I tend to make a homemade dressing with tahini as the base (see recipe below). It’s nutritious, creamy and delicious, making a perfect slaw dressing.

It’s not complicated and you can use fairly simple ingredients. I use a little apple cider vinegar, sea salt and water to thin it down. You can jazz it up with other ingredients, but in all honesty less is more. Plus it is easier to keep your tahini dressing simple. 

What is the best tool for making a slaw salad for a crowd?

If you are making lots of slaw the best tool to have is an electric food processor with a grating a shredding attachment. This means you can make your slaw at lightning speed.

Attachment for my compact kenwood multipro food processor Shredding and grating attachment for my Kenwood processorFood processors are available for all budgets and come with a grater and shredder attachment. I have a few of these at home (no, I am not obsessed with equipment haha, I am a chef, and teach food making on workshops) and they all work well. I’ll use a high end model for massive jobs, but I’ll use a lightweight smaller one for smaller jobs are home use.

Here is the one I used today for a crowd of 10 people: Kendwood Multipro Go 

Grating beetroot, carrot and cabbage with my compact kenwood food processor

It’s very compact with a small footprint. It’s ideal in my tiny kitchen at home since I have very little space. It does the job perfectly and is easy to take with me wherever I go. 

Alternatively if you are going to do your slaw by hand then you can use a box grater and shredder. A good one makes the process easy, which means you’ll enjoy preparing your food. I use this one here in the UK: OXO box grater

Beet slaw for a crowd

Beet slaw for a crowd with tahini sauce (no mayo)

Yield: 10 portions
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 10 minutes

A delicious beetroot salad for a crowd. This is an easy recipe for raw slaw with a homemade tahini sauce.


  • 300g (11oz) cabbage
  • 400g (4 large) carrots
  • 250g (1 large) beetroot
  • 1 small/medium onion (golf ball sized)
  • 4 tablespoons tahini
  • 2 tablsepoons apple cider vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons maple syrup
  • 2 to 5 tablsespoons water (depends on tahini)
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt


  1. If you have a food process us the shredding and grating attachment. Otherwise use a good grater or mandolin.
  2. Shred the cabbage into thin slices.
  3. Grate the carrot on a medium grate size.
  4. Grate the beetroot.
  5. Chop the onion as finely as you can.

Mix the tahini sauce

  1. Mix the tahini sauce by putting the tahini, apple cider vinegar, maple syrup and sea salt into a small jug using a metal spoon. You will find that the tahini should thicken considerably becoming hard to work with.
  2. At this point add 2 tablespoons of water. It's important to add gradually after this and keep mixing throughly until everything combines. Add a further tablespoon at a time until you get a nice pourable cream consistency. One moment it can be super thick but that can change quickly. It's super helpful to remember to add water gradually. Note: if you over do the water just add a little more tahini.

Mixing your slaw with the dressing

  1. The final stage is to mix your dressing with your grated and shredded vegetables.
  2. Spend a little bit of time with this to make sure everything is coated with your dressing. You might be tempted to make more dressing. This is not necessary once everything is coated.
  3. Enjoy immediately or pop it into the fridge to stay chilled.


Your beet slaw will keep for about three days.

Please note after half a day the dressing may start to pull the juice out of the vegetables and pool slightly at the bottom of your bowl. This is perfectly normal. If you don't want it, just decant into a new bowl and pour off the juice.

Did you make this recipe?

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More crowd pleasing recipes with beetroot…

Baked Beetroot Flatbread. Gluten-free, vegan, made with chickpea flour and raw beets

Beetroot hummus by Anastasia - Beets - gluten-free vegan dip for salads, falafel and pitta bread.

Beet & sweet potato salad with fresh basil

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Beet salad with tahini dressing for a crowd