Best Healthy Coleslaw Ever (no mayo!)

The BEST healthy coleslaw made with fresh purple cabbage, carrots, cilantro, and a kick of heat from jalapeño. There’s no mayo or sugar, just a naturally sweet and slightly tangy dressing with a hint of pure maple syrup. This simple, healthy coleslaw recipe is vegan, paleo & dairy free and perfect serving with your favorite grilling recipes all summer!

Prep Time
20 mins
Cook Time
0 mins
Total Time
20 mins

I don’t know about you, but I have a real addiction to the superfood underdog AKA red cabbage. (Some people call it purple, but technically it’s red.) I’m not sure when the cabbage obsession really started (maybe it was from this salad) but now I’m basically convinced that cabbage needs to be in EVERYTHING.

Did you know that red cabbage is actually the healthier cabbage? Don’t get me wrong, both red and green varieties are wonderful but red cabbage actually contains more vitamin A and iron than it’s green counterpart. Both cabbages colors help to promote a healthy gut (which is what we’re all about these days), fight inflammation, boost your immunity and contain plenty of nutrients your body needs. CABBAGE PATCH PARTY.

Wait wut.

coleslaw in a bowl with two serving spoons

My favorite thing about cabbage isn’t just the nutrition though. It’s the epic CRUNCH it gives salads and slaws. It’s addicting and I can’t stop putting it in recipes.

Fun fact: I loved coleslaw as a little girl. I’d ask for big bowls of it with lots of black pepper. Dad made a homemade version with lots of mayo. This version isn’t Dad’s but IT IS for all you millennials. Heh.

coleslaw ingredients on a cutting board

Is coleslaw healthy?

While coleslaw is really just made up of a bunch of crunchy, colorful vegetables, traditional coleslaw recipes are usually covered in dressings made up of mayo and sugar. In this healthy, paleo coleslaw recipe we’re skipping the mayo entirely and tossing all of the gorgeous veggies with a tangy, slightly sweet dressing made with apple cider vinegar and simple ingredients to keep the coleslaw vegan and dairy free.

Ingredients in healthy coleslaw

This incredible healthy coleslaw recipe uses fresh ingredients to create a crunchy, bright gut-friendly coleslaw without mayo or sugar. You’ll need:

  • Red & green cabbage: I love using both red and green cabbage for extra crunch and a variety of flavors.
  • Carrots: you’ll need plenty shredded carrots in this healthy coleslaw recipe.
  • Cilantro: for the perfect amount of freshness.
  • Jalapeño: a fun kick of heat in this coleslaw! Feel free to omit if you’re sensitive to spice.
  • Green onion: for a little extra zip in this coleslaw.
  • Pepitas & toasted sliced almonds: both the pepitas (which are roasted pumpkin seeds) and almonds add a wonderful extra crunch with all of the veggies.
  • Olive oil: a bit of olive oil will help the “dressing” coat all of those gorgeous veggies in the coleslaw.
  • Apple cider vinegar: use apple cider vinegar to add that tangy delicious flavor found in coleslaw recipes. It’s also great for gut health!
  • Pure maple syrup: instead of using granulated sugar like in traditional coleslaw recipes, we’re justing a bit of pure maple syrup to lightly sweeten the coleslaw. Feel free to adjust depending on how sweet you like it.
  • Garlic: a little garlicky flavor makes this healthy coleslaw extra delicious.
  • Cayenne pepper: add a pinch of cayenne for a little extra heat, or feel free to omit.
  • Salt & pepper: to bring all of the flavors together.

While this version isn’t your typical coleslaw, it’s still got delicious flavor thanks to carrots, cilantro, jalapeno (if you want), seeds, nuts and a zippy apple cider maple dressing. It’s a little sweet, a little spicy, and better than that soggy white coleslaw they serve at restaurants.

ingredients for coleslaw in a bowl before mixing

How to make healthy coleslaw

  1. Add all of the coleslaw ingredients to a large bowl except for the pepitas, almonds and dressing.
  2. In a smaller bowl, add your dressing ingredients and whisk to combine.
  3. Pour the dressing over the coleslaw and toss well to combine. Taste and adjust seasonings if need be. Place the coleslaw in the refrigerator for at least 1 hour to let the flavors marinate.
  4. Before serving, add in the pepitas and toasted almonds and toss to combine.

How to store healthy coleslaw

Store this easy, healthy coleslaw covered in the fridge for up to 5 days. This is an amazing make-ahead recipe for picnics and BBQ’s because the flavors deepen as the coleslaw marinates!

healthy coleslaw being mixing a bowl with two serving spoons

Recipes to pair with this healthy coleslaw

Incredible Slow Cooker Pulled Chicken Sandwiches

Ultimate Vegan Black Bean Burgers with Creamy Tahini Garlic Sauce

Blackened Salmon Tacos

Sweet Potato Black Bean Tacos

Vegan Sweet Potato Burgers

healthy coleslaw in a bowl with a fork

See how to make healthy coleslaw

If you make this healthy coleslaw recipe, be sure to tag #ambitiouskitchen on Instagram. We’d also love if you would leave a comment below and rate the recipe. We appreciate you! xo.

Best Healthy Coleslaw Ever (no mayo!)

4.91 from 30 votes
healthy coleslaw in a bowl with a fork
Course Appetizer, Gluten Free, Grain Free, Paleo Friendly, Side Dish, Vegan, Vegetarian
Cuisine American
Keyword dairy free coleslaw, healthy coleslaw, healthy coleslaw recipe, vegan coleslaw
Prep Time 20 minutes
Total Time 20 minutes
Serves 8

The BEST healthy coleslaw made with fresh purple cabbage, carrots, cilantro, and a kick of heat from jalapeño. There's no mayo or sugar, just a naturally sweet and slightly tangy dressing with a hint of pure maple syrup. This simple, healthy coleslaw recipe is vegan, paleo & dairy free and perfect serving with your favorite grilling recipes all summer!

Ingredients

  • For the slaw:
  • 1/2 medium head of purple cabbage, shredded (about 3 cups shredded cabbage)
  • 1/2 medium head of green cabbage, shredded (about 3 cups shredded cabbage)
  • 2 heaping cups shredded carrots
  • 1 cup finely chopped cilantro
  • 1 jalapeño, seeded and finely diced
  • 1/2 cup green onion (green part only)
  • 1/2 cup pepitas
  • 1/4 cup toasted sliced almonds
  • For the dressing:
  • 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
  • 1-2 tablespoons pure maple syrup, depending how sweet you like your slaw
  • 1 clove garlic, finely minced
  • ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper, optional
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • Freshly cracked black pepper

Instructions

  1. Add all the ingredients for the slaw except for the almonds and pepitas to a large bowl.

  2. In a small bowl, whisk together all the ingredients for the dressing. Pour all over the slaw and toss well to combine. Taste and adjust seasonings as necessary. Cover and place in fridge for at least an hour to allow flavors to marinate together.

  3. Before serving, sprinkle with toasted sliced almonds and pepitas; toss again and serve.

Recipe Notes

How to store coleslaw: store this coleslaw covered in the fridge for up to 5 days. This is an amazing make-ahead recipe for picnics and BBQ's because the flavors deepen as the coleslaw marinates!

Nutrition
Servings: 8 servings
Serving size: 1 serving
Calories: 140kcal
Fat: 8.8g
Saturated fat: 1g
Carbohydrates: 14.5g
Fiber: 4.6g
Sugar: 8.4g
Protein: 4g

Recipe by: Monique Volz // Ambitious Kitchen | Photography by: Eat Love Eats

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