Coleslaw Recipe Without Mayo


Coleslaw is one of the best picnic and cookout sides you can make, and if you’ve ever worried that your mayo-based slaw would go bad sitting out on the table, this sweet and tangy coleslaw recipe without mayo makes it even better. 

Image shows a white bowl full of coleslaw made with purple cabbage and carrots, without mayo. A cutting board with purple cabbage sits near the bowl.

This is the best side dish for a barbecue lunch or sous vide pork loin. It’s also perfect for a potluck!

We love mayo – truly. In fact, I love to make my own homemade mayonnaise with olive or even coconut oil for spreading on sandwiches (we use gluten-free sandwich bread), cooking, and anything else. 

Yes, even coleslaw. We often make homemade coleslaw dressing. And I do love that sort of creamy coleslaw – it’s what I grew up eating – probably what you grew up eating too. 

Image shows two white bowls full of coleslaw made from purple cabbage and carrots sitting on a white table. A cutting board with a carrot and cabbage sits in the background.

But this mayo-free vinegar coleslaw recipe is just perfection. It’s a sweet and tangy coleslaw recipe, a little bit more sophisticated, if you will.

In my opinion, the coleslaw recipe without mayo has a better mouthfeel and a nice, crisp, clean flavor. 

What You’ll Need to Make Coleslaw Without Mayo

These are pretty simple ingredients that you probably already have in your refrigerator.

  • Shredded cabbage (I use a mix of red and green)
  • Carrots
  • White wine vinegar – you could also use apple cider vinegar or even white vinegar. This is a nice way to subtly change the flavor
  • olive oil
  • A little bit of sugar. Honey or agave nectar can also be used
  • Paprika
  • Celery seed
  • Crushed red pepper
  • Salt and pepper
  • Optional ingredients: Add red onion or a teaspoon of Dijon mustard for extra pizazz.
Photo shows a white table with several bowls on it. Each bowl is filled with different ingredients to make coleslaw without mayo- cabbage, carrots, oils and seasonings.

That’s fewer ingredients than most salad dressings unless you make a homemade dressing like healthy buttermilk ranch or, especially, paleo strawberry vinaigrette. 

A note about kids eating vegetables: I have to say that I’ve found kids tend to prefer cooked vegetables. When they do eat raw vegetables, like this coleslaw, I’ve noticed they can be a little skeptical about strong flavors. While I’m a fan of exposing them to flavors they wouldn’t normally choose themselves, in order to ease them into eating vegetables, it can be really helpful to err toward sweeter, less flavorful dishes.

In that case, you can reduce or omit flavorful ingredients like celery seed, reduce vinegar, or exchange it for lemon juice and increase the sweetness. While we tend to demonize sugar, keep in mind that kids naturally gravitate toward sweet flavors as a survival mechanism because sweet flavors are typically safer than bitter or stronger flavors. You can also use a more nutrient-dense sweetener like honey, maple syrup, or some stevia.

How to Make Coleslaw Without Mayo

Once you have your ingredients together, shred about half a head each of green and purple cabbage, plus 2-3 carrots, and put them in a large bowl. 

You can do this using a sharp knife, mandoline, or the shredding attachment of your food processor.

Image shows a photo taken from above of a white bowl full of ingredients to make coleslaw. The purple and white cabbage, and orange carrots each take up about one third of the bowl.

Tip: One way to make this recipe super easy is to buy coleslaw mix from your grocery store and skip the cabbage chopping/shredding step. 

In a separate bowl, combine all the dressing ingredients and whisk them together. 

After that, simply pour them over the cabbage and carrots and mix them up. 

Photo shows a hand holding a small white pitcher, pouring an oil and seasoning mixture over a large bowl of cabbage and carrots to make coleslaw without mayo

That’s it, you’re ready to serve! 


Coleslaw Recipe Without Mayo

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This sweet and tangy coleslaw recipe without mayo is perfect for summer cookouts, picnics, or whenever you want to serve a clean, crisp coleslaw

  • Author: Elise
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Total Time: 10 minutes
  • Yield: 4 servings 1x


  • 1 lb green cabbage
  • 1 lb red cabbage
  • 23 carrots
  • 1/2 cup white wine vinegar
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 2 Tablespoons sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon celery seed
  • 1/2 teaspoon paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper


  1. Shred cabbage and carrots and set aside
  2. Combine remaining ingredients and whisk together well to dissolve the sugar
  3. Pour over cabbage and carrots and toss
  4. Enjoy!

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A Few Delicious Serving Suggestions

As mentioned above, this is a great side dish for a lot of things, but it particularly stands out on: 

How to Store Coleslaw Without Mayo

To store this healthy coleslaw recipe, simply refrigerate it in an air-tight container.

This should last 5-7 days in the fridge, but I do not recommend freezing it. Freezing vegetables you intend to eat raw is a little more iffy than cooked food.

Other Cabbage Recipes to Try

Raw cabbage is such a great source of fiber, which is another great reason to love this sweet and tangy coleslaw recipe. Another great way to get that fiber in is homemade sauerkraut. It might be even easier to make than coleslaw and has the added benefit of lots of probiotics. 

Image shows a large bowl of coleslaw without mayo, photographed from above, sitting on a table. Nearby is a white plate with some forks on it.

And don’t forget that raw isn’t always king. I know a lot of friends who feel better when their vegetables are well-cooked. If that’s you, give our stuffed cabbage soup recipe a try. We love it – winter, spring, summer, and fall. 

Don’t miss these as well: 

In any case, enjoy this coleslaw recipe without mayo with the video and detailed recipe below. 

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