Simple Purple Cabbage Slaw (Healthy No-Mayo Recipe)

Purple cabbage slaw with Greek yogurt is a healthy low-calorie alternative to the traditional coleslaw recipes. Learn how to make great red cabbage slaw that is juicy with a crunchy texture, but does not get watery over time.

Close-up view of purple cabbage slaw.

Why you’ll love this spicy no mayo coleslaw

Purple cabbage slaw without mayo or sour cream?” The family was quite skeptical when I made it the first time.

After all, the definition of deli-style mayo-based coleslaw is a few shreds of cabbage slathered with mayo and honey, and full of calories. This spicy no mayo coleslaw looked and tasted so light and better!

Most of the no-mayo coleslaw recipes tend to get watery and go limp if you make them ahead of time. Find out my LITTLE SECRET to keep it crisp, and at the same time, does not ooze out moisture.

So you can make this honey mustard slaw ahead of time and chill to your heart’s content.

Once everyone had a taste of this healthier version, they loved it. Since then, this tangy purple cabbage slaw has become a staple dish at home.

It is a great side dish to bring along for summer cookout. I often pair it with baked chicken breastsroasted chicken drumsticksbaked lemon mustard fishPanko-crusted fish, and sometimes fried shrimps.

Since trying this honey mustard coleslaw and succeeding, I got more confident and improvised it step by step.

Why not make this delicious recipe healthier and tastier by sneaking in more variety, color, and nutrition? So I added purple carrots and red cabbage in addition to the regular ones. And used Dijon mustard for added spice.

There are just 84 calories per serving in this healthy coleslaw recipe.

Welcome to the spicy, sweet, tangy and HEALTHY world of no mayo coleslaw!

Ingredient notes

(You can find the exact measurements and instructions in the printable recipe card at the end of this page.)

Vegetables

This healthy slaw recipe needs simple ingredients (nothing fancy!). You just need to ensure that you use fresh ingredients.

Adding purple cabbage in salads gives a delicious crunch and color and also increases its nutritional value multifold.

I’ve used a combination of green and red cabbage and carrots. If you can get purple carrots you can replace half the carrots with purple ones. You get a purple coleslaw like this:

Spicy no mayo coleslaw in a black ceramic bowl.

Herbs

This is basically a cilantro-lime coleslaw recipe. So I’ve used lots of fresh cilantro here (a personal preference). You can use dill, green onions or chives instead, or additionally.

Yogurt dressing for red cabbage coleslaw

  • Greek yogurt is the main ingredient that gives a creamy texture and taste. You can see my love for the versatile, delicious yogurt in many of my popular sauces like the yogurt dip with simple fish cakes and the versatile yogurt tahini sauce.
  • Dijon mustard, cumin and fresh lime juice add a spicy tang.
  • Honey for those of us who still want the sweetness in the coleslaw, healthy or otherwise!

Whisk all ingredients in a small bowl. This yummy dressing will ensure that you don’t miss the mayo.

How to make creamy purple cabbage slaw: step by step

Making the cabbage and carrot slaw takes only 10 minutes. You don’t even have to give it time to rest. BUT, the secret to a crunchy coleslaw lies in the prep work required for the cabbage.

Salting the cabbage

Cabbage is a water-rich vegetable with 92% water content. Water is held by pectin, a soluble fibre in the cell walls of the cabbage. When you add salt to cabbage, it breaks down the pectin and draws out the water. So if you want to prevent a watery coleslaw, the solution is to draw out water from the cabbage BEFORE adding the dressing. So much science in making a simple coleslaw!

Note: As in most of my salad recipes, I’ve used Himalayan pink salt for its health benefits and more flavor. You can use regular salt, too.

Shred the purple and green cabbage using a sharp knife and cutting board or the shredding attachment of a food processor. Alternatively, you can use pre-shredded cabbage.

Add 1 teaspoon of salt to the shredded cabbage, mix well and let it sit for an hour (or up to 2 hours if you can) in a colander. You’ll be surprised to see the amount of water that comes out of the cabbage.

Squeeze the cabbage dry, but DO NOT RINSE. You don’t have to worry about excess salt since we don’t add any more salt to the dressing.

Spicy no mayo coleslaw

Grate the carrots using a box grater. Combine the cabbage, grated carrots and chopped cilantro in a large bowl.

Drizzle the tangy dressing on the slaw mixture and toss until well combined.

This easy slaw doesn’t have to sit long in the fridge since the cabbage is already soft from all that soaking earlier. You can serve it as soon as it is chilled which would take 20 minutes, max.

Common questions about red cabbage slaw recipe

How long does homemade coleslaw last?

This coleslaw can be eaten right away or refrigerated for later. This coleslaw can last in the fridge for about 4 days if handled with care.
If you want to store it longer, freeze it. As soon as you serve, remember to return the leftover coleslaw back to the fridge so it stays fresh.

What do you eat with purple cabbage coleslaw?

The tangy slaw can be served as an easy side dish with chicken:
Oven-baked chicken breasts
Baked chicken legs with olive oil and mint
Sheet pan chicken with potatoes

This red cabbage salad makes a wonderful side for fish tacos.
It also tastes great with:
Baked salmon kebabs
Baked fish with lemon mustard glaze
Citrus marinated salmon
Simple fish cakes
Fried prawns
You can also use this purple cabbage salad in main courses like pulled pork sandwich or pork sliders.
Or go ahead and eat spoonfuls of just the creamy coleslaw. It is so good for you that nobody’s gonna stop you, not even your guilt.

How do you keep red cabbage from bleeding in coleslaw?

Salting the cabbage for about 1-2 hours and squeezing out the water before adding the dressing is a simple but effective way to prevent cabbage from bleeding in coleslaw. This way, homemade coleslaw doesn’t go watery. It can be refrigerated and also frozen with all that creamy texture and flavor intact.

What can I use instead of mayo in red cabbage coleslaw?

Greek yogurt is a healthy alternative to mayo in coleslaw. The creamy texture of yogurt enables it to be used as a substitute for cream, mayo or even cheese in many recipes, limited by only your imagination and creativity.

What can I substitute for vinegar in coleslaw?

Lemon juice can be used instead of vinegar in the ratio 3:2. (Use 3 teaspoons of lemon juice for every 2 teaspoons of vinegar, since vinegar has more of a tang than lemon juice.)

Can you freeze coleslaw?

This coleslaw can be frozen upto about 3 weeks. However, the texture will change slightly. It wouldn’t be as crunchy.

Health benefits of green and red cabbage

  • Cabbage is a very powerful brain food. The presence of vitamin K and anthocyanins within cabbage can boost brain power and concentration.
  • It is a low-calorie cruciferous vegetable rich in vitamins and minerals.
  • Cabbage contains powerful antioxidants that help reduce inflammation.
  • It is rich in vitamin C which boosts immunity. Red cabbage has 30% more vitamin C.
  • Cabbage, especially the purple variety has a high content of glucosinolates which have been associated with anticancer properties.
  • It contains insoluble fiber which helps improve digestion.
  • The vibrant red cabbage contains anthocyanins that reduce the risk of heart disease.
  • Cabbage, especially red cabbage is rich in potassium which helps regulate blood pressure.
  • It is a great source of sulfur that helps fight infections and speed-up healing.

Love purple cabbage? Try this healthy red cabbage soup or healthy chicken stir-fry with red rice and cabbage.

Health benefits of Greek Yogurt

The health benefits of yogurt are well-known, it’s full of nutrients– probiotics, protein, calcium and vitamin D to name a few, and is essential for maintaining your gut health.

Yogurt becomes an essential ingredient in your meals, especially when you are trying to lose weight by eating a healthy diet.

Looking for more sides?

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close-up view of purple coleslaw.

Healthy Purple Cabbage Slaw Recipe

Purple cabbage slaw with Greek yogurt is a healthy low-calorie alternative to the traditional coleslaw recipes. Learn how to make spicy no mayo coleslaw that is juicy with a crunchy texture, but does not get watery over time.
Author: Sheeba
Prep Time 1 hour 10 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 10 minutes
Course Salad, Side Dish
Cuisine American
Servings 4
Calories 84 kcal

Ingredients
  

Purple cabbage slaw

  • 2 cups green cabbage shredded
  • 1 cup red cabbage shredded
  • 1 teaspoon salt (regular or Himalayan pink salt)
  • 1 cup carrot grated
  • 1/2 cup cilantro finely chopped

Honey mustard dressing

  • 1 cup Greek yogurt
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 2 tablespoons lime juice or lemon juice
  • 2 teaspoons honey
  • 1 teaspoon pepper

Instructions
 

  • Add 1 teaspoon of salt to the shredded green and red cabbage in a colander. Toss well and leave it aside for an hour.
  • The salt draws out a lot of water from the cabbage. After an hour, squeeze the cabbage dry. It is now ready to be used in the coleslaw. (note 1)
  • For the dressing, place the yogurt, mustard, cumin, lemon juice, honey and pepper in a small bowl and whisk until blended.
  • Combine the shredded green and red cabbage and grated carrots in a salad bowl and add the dressing and cilantro. Toss well and adjust seasoning according to your taste.
  • Serve immediately or refrigerate if using later.

Notes

  • Salting the cabbage is an important step in making this coleslaw. Since cabbage has high water content, adding salt tends to make it watery. Here we draw out that water before adding the dressing so the coleslaw doesn’t get watery and stays crunchy and crisp for days.
  • Variations:
  • You can replace half the quantity of carrots with purple ones.
  • Add lemon zest for added flavor.
  • Feel free to add salt and lemon juice according to taste.
  • Storing leftovers: Store leftover coleslaw in an airtight container in the refrigerator. 
  • Make-ahead option: This coleslaw can last in the refrigerator for up to 4 days or frozen up to 3 weeks.
 
Simple Purple Cabbage Slaw (Healthy No-Mayo Recipe)

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Hi! I’m Sheeba, welcome to Go Healthy ever after!

I have a passion for cooking delicious nourishing food that’s easy to cook with fresh natural ingredients free from additives or preservatives. The easy healthy recipes you find here will inspire you to cook with creativity.

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