Now that the party season is in full swing, I am always looking for fun and creative ways to bring vegetables to a potluck or a party. Since so many of my friends and family eat with their eyes, I knew I had to come up with a colorful salad that would be both nutritious and delicious.
That’s when a healthy, light coleslaw recipe came to mind. And when I started doing my research for coleslaw recipes, I never realized that cabbage is so good for you (it’s a superfood)! It is packed with a number of vitamins and minerals, low in calories, and full of antioxidants.
Upon further research, I learned the purple aka red cabbage has more nutrients than the green variety. And when I discovered a no mayo dressing was possible, I knew I was on the right track. I tested it for my husband and he simply couldn’t get enough!
Top it on sandwiches, serve it as a side dish, or simply eat it straight from the bowl, you won’t be able to get enough of this healthy coleslaw recipe, too!
Is Coleslaw Healthy? Benefits of Eating Cabbage
This homemade oil and vinegar coleslaw is healthy since cabbage is considered to be a superfood! Cabbage comes from the same vegetable family as kale, broccoli, and cauliflower, so it’s a vegetable we should all eat more often. One cup of cabbage provides 85% of your daily value of Vitamin K and is a good source of Vitamin A, C, B6, iron, and fiber, and contains a number of antioxidants.
Additionally, I refrained from using sugar in the dressing to make it a tidbit healthier.
When a coleslaw recipe is smothered in a thick, mayo-laden dressing (like it is in the traditional coleslaw recipe), the answer may be no. But with our coleslaw without mayo, you bet it is healthy!
No Mayo Coleslaw Ingredients
For The Cabbage Coleslaw:
- Green Cabbage – I used traditional green cabbage for a simple slaw recipe, but you can use Napa cabbage as well, which has a more tender, delicate texture
- Red Cabbage – also known as purple cabbage
- Grated Carrots – you will need 4-5 medium-size carrots for this mayo-free coleslaw
- Red Onion
- Italian Parsley – I used the flat-leaf variety since it has more flavor
- Jalapeno – seeded & chopped for less spice
- Celery Seed – also known as Celery Salt
- Walnuts – lightly toasted & cooled
For The Easy Coleslaw Dressing (without Mayo):
- Extra Virgin Olive Oil – since this is a raw salad, the extra virgin variety provides a light & fruity flavor
- Lemon Juice
- Apple Cider Vinegar – white vinegar can be substituted
- Garlic – minced
- Kosher Salt & Black Pepper – more or less, depending on taste
How To Make Coleslaw Without Mayo
This healthy coleslaw without mayo recipe can be made in 4 folds.
- Prep the salad ingredients: In a large bowl, combine the thinly sliced (more on that later!) green & red cabbage, carrots, onions, jalapeno, and celery seed. Give it a gentle toss to evenly distribute the ingredients.
- Make The Coleslaw Dressing (no mayo): In a mason jar with a tight-fitting lid, combine the olive oil, lemon juice, vinegar, garlic, salt, & pepper. Securely close it with the lid and give the dressing a shake.
- Assemble the coleslaw: Pour the dressing over the coleslaw ingredients. Toss it gently to evenly coat the entire salad. Finish with the toasted walnuts and parsley.
- Let It Rest: Cover it with stretch film and let it sit in the fridge for at least 30 minutes so that the cabbage leaves can soften a little bit before you are ready to serve.
How To Make This Healthy Coleslaw Dressing Recipe
A simple coleslaw dressing with no mayo is easy to make with the help of extra virgin olive oil, lemon juice, and apple cider vinegar. Rather than the thick and gloopy mayonnaise, olive oil provides healthy fats and a smooth coating, while lemon juice and apple cider vinegar give it a subtle hint of acidity to balance out the flavors.
How To Slice Cabbage
The goal of any well-made, from-scratch coleslaw is to slice the cabbage as thin as possible while still maintaining its integrity. I found there are three ways to accomplish this – using a very sharp knife, mandoline, or food processor.
With a Knife
For slicing the cabbage with a knife, first make sure it is very sharp, to make the slicing process much easier. Place the whole cabbage head on your cutting board. Slice into quarters, then trim and discard the core by slicing into it on an angle. Proceed by slicing each cabbage quarter as thin as you can until you get 2 cups.
With a Mandoline
For slicing cabbage with a mandoline, set your mandoline to the second thinnest setting. I found the thinnest setting on my mandoline produced cabbage slices that were too thin.
Place the whole cabbage on your cutting board. Slice into quarters, then trim and discard the core by slicing into it on an angle. Proceed by slicing each cabbage quarter on your mandoline, using the handguard for safety.
In need of a new mandoline in the kitchen? This is the brand (affiliate link) that I have and love. If you are in need of an easy to use, clean up, operate, and store mandoline I cannot recommend it enough. It is safe to use and does a great job shredding all kinds of vegetables and fruits.
Using a Food Processor
Of all three methods, I think using a food processor is the easiest and quickest one.
Before you shred cabbage in a food processor, first slice your cabbage into quarters. Then slice into quarters, trim and discard the core by slicing into it on an angle.
Fit your food processor with the shredding disk (aka grading disk) and feed each quarter of cabbage into the tube as the machine is running.
How Much Sliced Cabbage is In One Head?
One medium-size green or red cabbage will yield 8 cups of thinly sliced cabbage. If that seems like a lot of excess cabbage, simply double the recipe or save the remaining cabbage for my Sesame Asian Chicken Salad.
How To Make Coleslaw From A Bag:
Although I prefer to use fresh vegetables for this recipe, if I am short on time, the prepackaged bags of coleslaw you can find in the grocery store work wonders and save you a lot of time in the kitchen.
For this recipe, you will need 1 (16 oz) store-bought bag of shredded slaw mix which includes green cabbage, red cabbage, and carrots. Simply add the remaining ingredients, prepare the dressing, and mix to combine.
What Kind of Vinegar For Coleslaw?
I prefer the subtly sweet flavor of apple cider vinegar to make more of a sweet and tangy coleslaw. If you don’t have apple cider vinegar on hand, white vinegar will work just as well.
Can I Make This Vegan Slaw Ahead?
Yes, and it actually tastes better when made ahead. To get the best results, make this coleslaw recipe without mayo at least 30-minutes (or up to 2 hours) before serving to allow enough time for the cabbage and vegetables to absorb the dressing.
Other Cabbage Recipes You Might Also Like
Other Vegetable Side Dishes You Might Also Like
- No Mayo Potato Salad
- Mexican Pasta Salad
- Texas Caviar Dip
- Mixed Bean Salad
- Summer Wild Rice Salad
- Grilled Mexican Street Corn Salad
- Watermelon Salad Recipe
- Tomato and Mozzarella Salad
- Cucumber Dill Salad
- My Go-To Recipe for Potato Salad
- Love salads? Check out all our salad recipes in one place.
No Mayo Coleslaw Recipe
For The Coleslaw:
- 2 cups green cabbage sliced thinly
- 2 cups red cabbage sliced thinly
- 2 cups grated carrots 4-5 large carrots
- 2 teaspoons kosher salt
- ½ cup red onion chopped or sliced thinly
- ½ cup chopped Italian parsley
- 1 jalapeno seeded and chopped
- 1 teaspoon celery seed
- ½ cup walnuts lightly toasted
For The No Mayo Coleslaw Dressing:
- ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
- 2 tablespoons lemon juice
- 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
- 1 clove garlic minced
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- ¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
- To prepare the coleslaw: Place green cabbage, red cabbage, and carrot in a bowl.
- Stir in the onion, parsley, jalapeno, and celery seed. Give it a gentle toss to make sure that all the vegetables are equally distributed in the bowl.
- To make the dressing: Place olive oil, lemon juice, vinegar, garlic, salt and pepper in a mason jar. Close it with the lid and give it a shake.
- Drizzle the salad with the dressing and toss. Sprinkle it with walnuts and serve.
- The prep time listed below includes the 30 minute refrigeration time. If you decide to let it sit in the fridge please add more time to the total time.
- Want to sweeten it up a bit? Now, I know that my version here is a no-sugar coleslaw and many of you might prefer your coleslaw with a bit of sweetness. If that us you, feel free to add 1-tablespoon maple or agave syrup to the simple coleslaw dressing.
- Don’t have walnuts on hand? Substitute an equal amount of toasted, chopped almonds instead.
- Looking to up the nutrition? Omit the green cabbage and make a bright and beautiful red cabbage slaw with 4 cups thinly sliced red cabbage (about the amount you will get from ½ medium head of red cabbage) and turn it into a purple cabbage coleslaw.
- Want to make this a keto coleslaw (no mayo)? Omit the grated carrots and simply replace it with an equal amount of green and red cabbage.
- Have guests who can’t live without mayonnaise in their coleslaw? No worries, add 2 tablespoons of your favorite mayonnaise (I love vegan mayo – this brand (affiliate link) is my favorite ) into the dressing, give it a shake, and drizzle the cole slaw with it.
- Don’t have red onion on hand? Swap it with green onions.
- Looking for leftovers? This healthy coleslaw recipe will last up to 2 days stored in an airtight container in the fridge. I recommend only 2 days because, after the two-day mark, the coleslaw starts to breakdown and become too soggy.
This recipe was originally published in September 2019. It has been updated with additional information with no changes to the originally published recipe in June 2020.