Looking for the best Healthy Coleslaw Recipe? Well, look no further. Not only is this coleslaw recipe packed full of antioxidants from the red cabbage and fresh herbs, but the creamy dressing is also naturally mayo-free. Turn this salad into a main meal by adding some baked tofu or a few eggs.
The summer markets are bursting with berries, stone fruit, and fresh tomatoes. With the overload of delicious blueberries and wild blackberries, we sometimes forget about the more humble harvests. Cabbage springs into season in summer and has a lengthy season, lasting over 6 months depending on the climate. Cabbage is also packed full of antioxidants and is an easy addition to summer salads, BBQs and stir-fries.
“The impressive amount of antioxidant phytonutrients in cabbage is one key reason why cabbage intake is liked to a decreased risk of cardiovascular disease. Red cabbage is especially high in anthocyanin which provides cardiovascular protection.”
Why I Made This Healthy Coleslaw Recipe
Increasing Vegetable Intake
I see many clients who have a hard time getting enough vegetables into their day. The minimum recommended amount is 2 ½ cups of cooked vegetables per day or 5 cups of salad. Coleslaw is an easy way to switch up your salads in the summer and also makes a great hearty winter salad.
Health Benefits of Cabbage
Opt for red cabbage more often which is higher in the antioxidant anthocyanin, also found in other purple foods including blackcurrants, blackberries, blueberries, eggplant (in the skin), cranberries, cherries and purple sweet potato. Anthocyanins not only offer cardiovascular protection but also have been linked to longevity, cancer prevention, and decreased risk of dementia.
Health Benefits of Parsley
Parsley is a great source of vitamin C, with a half a cup serving offering around fifty percent of our daily needs. Vitamin C is a potent antioxidant and helps with the absorption of non-haem (plant-based) iron,
It Is a Healthy Coleslaw with Apple Cider Vinegar
Unpasteurized apple cider vinegar contains beneficial bacteria and has a role in promoting good digestive health. For more on why we should be including fermented foods in our diet see my post – 5 Tips On How To Improve Gut Health Naturally – Prebiotics, Probiotics and Fermented Foods.
It Is a Healthy Coleslaw Recipe with No Mayo
Yogurt can be a lower-calorie alternative to mayo and offers the benefit of helpful probiotic bacteria. Purchase a good quality yogurt, ideally from grass-fed animals, which can boost the nutritional value of the yogurt making it richer in omega-3 fatty acids and beneficial conjugated linoleic acids (CLA).
Healthy Coleslaw Recipe Variations
Healthy Coleslaw Recipe with Greek Yogurt
This recipe uses regular plain yogurt. For a protein boost, or to use whatever is in your fridge you can replace the regular yogurt with Greek yogurt. As Greek yogurt is naturally thicker, you make need to add 1-2 tablespoons of water of olive oil to thin out the dressing.
Crunchy Healthy Coleslaw Recipe
The addition of toasted almonds adds a nice crunch. For additional crunch, toss 1/2 cup of sunflower seeds in with the almonds and bake as per recipe instructions. Add the toasted sunflower seeds to the salad with the almonds.
Paleo Coleslaw Recipe
To make a paleo coleslaw recipe replace the yogurt with extra-virgin olive oil mayonnaise. Option to double the amount of almonds added to the recipe.
Cabbage and Apple Slaw
Add some natural sweetness to this recipe for something different. Core and thinly spice an apple and add to the prepared salad. Dress immediately to prevent the apple from browning.
Healthy Coleslaw Recipe No Sugar
This healthy coleslaw recipe uses the natural sugar from maple syrup for sweetness, which has a lesser effect on blood sugar levels than common white sugar. If you wish the salad to be completely sugar-free omit the maple syrup. Option to add some natural sweetness from fruit (see above).
Tips On Making This Healthy Coleslaw Recipe
Toasting The Almonds
Roasting your nuts can also reduce some of the phytate levels, a fibre compound in plant foods that can bind to minerals in foods and make them less absorbable by the body. Nuts such as almonds contain a compound called acrylamide which when heated over 260 degrees Fahrenheit / 130 degrees Celsius is carcinogenic in experimental animals. B-vitamins are also not heat-stable and are better roasted at a lower temperature.
Shredding The Cabbage
I love using my mandolin slicer to shred the cabbage. Having thinly sliced cabbage pairs well with this light coleslaw dressing. If you do not have a mandolin slicer, a food processor with a shredding attachment could work, as does slicing thinly with a knife.
This is a great salad for making in bulk, and having throughout the week. Don’t be afraid to dress the salad before storing it – the cabbage won’t go soggy. To keep the nuts crispy, store the roasted nuts separately, and not in the fridge.
Notes On Making This Healthy Coleslaw Recipe
Option to use mayonnaise in place of yogurt for a dairy-free coleslaw. Make sure it is vegan mayonnaise if looking for a vegan version.
Replace almonds with some toasted seeds. Toast sunflower seeds or pepitas in a heavy bottom saucepan for 5 minutes, stirring regularly to prevent burning, or bake in the oven for 10 minutes at 270 ° Fahrenheit.
Add Protein To This Healthy Coleslaw Recipe
To make this coleslaw a meal, serve it with some baked tofu (see my recipe for Baked Tofu Kale Quinoa Salad with Glory Bowl Dressing) or with boiled eggs (see Health Benefit of Eggs and Why I Eat Eggs).
Want Some More Healthy Salad Recipes?
Do you love salad as much as I do? Check out these other favourite salad recipes:
- Baked Tofu Kale Quinoa Salad with Glory Bowl Dressing
- Easy Moroccan Couscous Salad with Raisins
- Kale Salad with Beet Apple and Dill
- Japanese Salad Bowl with a Miso Tahini Dressing and Brown Rice
- Baked Tempeh Asian Cabbage Salad with Ginger Sesame Dressing
- The Ultimate Guide On How To Make Salad Dressing
This is one of my favourite slaw recipes, adapted from My New Roots Sarah Brittons’s Cookbook Naturally Nourished. Her version is a beautiful creamy autumn slaw, using seasonal Brussels sprouts and apple. I’ve revamped it to suit the summer months, showcasing one of the most undervalued vegetables on our shelves – cabbage of course.
Healthy Coleslaw Recipe with Toasted Almonds
- Mandolin Slicer
For the slaw
- 1/3 cup almonds raw
- 1 cup fresh flat-leaf parsley leaves and stems packed
- 1/2 pound green or red cabbage
- 2 carrots
For the dressing
- 4 tsp Dijon mustard
- 4 tsp apple cider vinegar unpasturised
- 2 tsp maple syrup pure
- ¼ cup yogurt plain
- 2 pinches fine sea salt
- 2 pinches fresh ground black pepper plus more as needed
- 2 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil optional
- Preheat the oven to 270F. Spread the almonds on a rimmed baking sheet in a single layer and roast until fragrant and slightly darker in colour, 20 to 25 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool completely. Roughly chop the almonds and set aside.
- While the almonds are roasting, wash and trim the cabbage, removing any damaged outer leaves. Slice the cabbage as thinly as possible using a mandoline slicer, a sharp knife or a food processor with the shredding attachment. Shred the carrots as well using a julienne peeler, or simply grate the carrots. Place the prepared vegetables in a large bowl.
- Roughly chop the parsley leaves, finely mincing the stems. Add the parsley to the salad bowl.
To make the dressing
- Whisk together the mustard, apple cider vinegar, maple syrup, yogurt, salt, and pepper. Add olive oil or water if you prefer your dressing runnier. I find this also depends on the type of yogurt used. Add a generous amount of black pepper and stir to combine before serving.
- Add the toasted and chopped almonds to the cabbage mixture and drizzle the dressing over top to serve.
Make it dairy free: Use a non-dairy yogurt such as coconut yogurt, or substitute the yogurt with mayonaisse. Recipe adapted from Naturally Nourished Cookbook
References for Healthy Coleslaw Recipe with Toasted Almonds
Rachel Dickens, The Conscious Dietitian, is a Registered Dietitian and Certified Diabetes Educator. She graduated with her Masters in Nutrition and Dietetics in 2010 from Griffith University. She strives to provide evidence-based nutrition information with a focus on plant-based nutrition and share some of her favourite seasonal recipes and sustainable eating tips.