Coleslaw is a classic side dish, but this Healthy Coleslaw recipe without mayo is lighter than a traditional coleslaw recipe and an added bonus of being dairy free and vegan too. Still all the crunchy vegetables that you know and love from homemade coleslaw, but with a tangy olive oil based dressing, rather than mayo. It's lighter, fresher, ready in 10 minutes and a MUST at any picnic or BBQ.
Whilst I do enjoy a creamy mayo based coleslaw, I find it pretty heavy and I far prefer this lighter, no mayo coleslaw. There is still plenty of flavour from the dressing, but this slaw recipe is suitable for everyone with it being dairy free and egg free. Homemade coleslaw is so easy to make - just chop up your veggies and mix together with this easy dressing. A side dish that everyone can enjoy - life is too short for bad coleslaw after all!
If you are looking for some other coleslaw recipes to try, then why not try our Mexican Coleslaw, which is zesty and spicy and goes perfectly with tacos and burritos.
Why you will love it
- Lighter and fresher than regular coleslaw - Not using mayo in this healthy coleslaw makes it just 103 calories a portion. Much lighter than traditional homemade coleslaw.
- A side dish everyone can enjoy - This vegan coleslaw means that everyone can enjoy it. It's dairy free and gluten free too.
- Perfect for BBQs and picnics - Coleslaw is a must side dish at a BBQ and this coleslaw salad makes a nice change from the mayo heavy ones.
- Takes just 10 minutes to make - Just chop everything up and mix it in a bowl. So easy!
- Can be made in advance - This coleslaw without mayo actually tastes better after a few hours, as it allows all the flavours to come together. Making it in advance is ideal if you are serving it at a BBQ.
- Cheap to make - Homemade coleslaw is made with budget friendly ingredients like cabbage and carrot.
- Cabbage - This is a red cabbage coleslaw, which adds lots of colour to the healthy coleslaw. You could swap it for a white cabbage, but it won't look as pretty.
- Carrot - These add extra crunch too. To add even more colour, add a mixture of orange, yellow and purple carrots.
- Spring onions (scallions) - You could use red onion, but we prefer the flavour of spring onions.
- Oil - This is where most of the coleslaw dressing comes from, so make sure to use a really good quality extra virgin olive oil, as you will be able to taste the difference.
- Vinegar - We love a vinegar based coleslaw. Instead of the mayo, this healthy coleslaw recipe has more of a vinaigrette. We used apple cider vinegar which is great for gut health.
- Maple syrup - A little touch of sweetness helps to cut through the vinegar flavour and balance it all out.
- Salt and pepper - Generously season.
- Mustard - We used Dijon mustard for the creaminess, but wholegrain would work too.
- Garlic - This is optional, but adds an extra kick of flavour.
A full ingredients list with measurements is in the recipe card below.
How to make healthy coleslaw - Step by step
One: Shred the cabbage, grate the carrot and slice the spring onions (scallions) diagonally.
Two: Mix all the dressing ingredients together in a bowl.
Three: Put everything together in a large bowl and mix well.
Is this coleslaw healthy?
Well, anything with lots of colour and vegetables is always going to have plenty of nutrients in it and making your own homemade coleslaw means that you can control exactly what goes in to it.
This coleslaw is still quite low in fat, despite not using mayo, because it uses olive oil. But it is healthy fat, and something that can definitely be part of a healthy and balanced diet.
This coleslaw also uses red cabbage, which is the healthier of the cabbages as it has more vitamin A and iron than green cabbage. Cabbage also has anti-inflammatory benefits, so that is a bonus too. One cup of cabbage also has about 85% of your recommended daily intake of Vitamin K, which is essential to help with blood clotting. So much goodness from this veggie.
Vegetables - We have kept the vegetables in this pretty classic with red and white cabbage, carrot and spring onion. They all add lots of colour, flavour and crunch, but you don't have to stop there.
Feel free to add and swap the vegetables you use, and use this side salad as an opportunity to clear your fridge out. You could use strips of bell pepper, grated courgette and even some diced cherry tomatoes. We also like adding grated apple for some extra sweetness.
Coleslaw dressing - We have gone for a vinaigrette based coleslaw dressing. However, if you did want it creamy, but lighter than using mayo, then you could use a Greek yogurt or creme fraiche instead.
Herbs - For some extra flavour without extra calories, add some fresh chopped coriander or parsley.
Personally, I hate it when coleslaw is dripping in sauce, which is why I prefer this to traditional mayo based coleslaw. I think the sauce (whether mayo based or not) should lightly coat the vegetables and compliment them. It shouldn't be over-powering.
We made this vegan coleslaw dressing with a base of really good quality olive oil, mixed with apple cider vinegar, maple syrup, dijon mustard, garlic and seasoning. It's the perfect balance of flavours and a really simple but flavour packed dressing.
What to serve with Healthy Coleslaw
This is such a versatile side dish, it goes with almost anything. We like making it for burger nights and serving it with our Cajun Chicken Burgers or Pork and Apple Burgers. It is quite a cooling side, so it goes well with Slow Cooker Jerk Chicken too.
Chicken and coleslaw is always a good match, so why not try it with our Lemon Rosemary Chicken.
Frequently asked questions
Yes, this is a great dish to make in advance as the dressing really soaks in to the vegetables after a few hours. If we are serving this up at a BBQ, I make a big batch of it the night before, and keep it in the fridge. I get it out of the fridge about an hour before I am going to serve it.
This coleslaw will keep in the fridge for 2-3 days, however it will start to get a bit soggy towards the end of that, so it is always best eaten fresh. We don't recommend freezing it.
• Save yourself some time with the prep of this vegan coleslaw by putting all the vegetables in a food processor to shred them together.
• Feel free to swap or add the veggies that you use in this coleslaw. Anything chunky and crunchy works well.
• If you wanted to make a mayo based coleslaw for your guests, just divide the mixture into two bowls, and add mayo to half the dressing for one bowl.
• Add some extra flavour with some fresh herbs. Coriander, parsley and dill work well.
• If you don't have apple cider vinegar, you can swap it for lemon juice. This actually adds a nice freshness to the slaw.
• Add some extra crunch to the finished dish with some seeds and crushed nuts.
• You can give this coleslaw a little kick of spice by stirring in some finely diced jalapenos.
More side dishes
If you’ve tried this vegan coleslaw recipe, or any other recipe on the blog, then let us know how you got on in the comments below - we love hearing from you!
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Healthy Coleslaw (No Mayo)
- 0.5 white cabbage
- 0.5 red cabbage
- 2 carrots
- 6 spring onions
- 6 tablespoon olive oil
- 4 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
- 1 tablespoon maple syrup
- 1 pinch sea salt and black pepper
- 1 tablespoon dijon mustard
- 2 garlic cloves crushed
- Shred the cabbage, grate the carrot and slice the spring onions (scallions) diagonally.
- Mix all the dressing ingredients together in a bowl.
- Put everything together in a large bowl and mix well.
- Save yourself some time with the prep of this vegan coleslaw by putting all the vegetables in a food processor to shred them together.
- Feel free to swap or add the veggies that you use in this coleslaw. Anything chunky and crunchy works well.
- If you wanted to make a mayo based coleslaw for your guests, just divide the mixture into two bowls, and add mayo to half the dressing for one bowl.
- Add some extra flavour with some fresh herbs. Coriander, parsley and dill work well.
- If you don't have apple cider vinegar, you can swap it for lemon juice. This actually adds a nice freshness to the slaw.
- Add some extra crunch to the finished dish with some seeds and crushed nuts.
- You can give this coleslaw a little kick of spice by stirring in some finely diced jalapeños.