Classic vinegar-based coleslaw recipe made with shredded cabbage, carrots, vinegar, and maple syrup, but no mayo. A low-calorie and easy-to-make recipe that’s the perfect side dish for your next potluck or barbecue.
To say this is an easy coleslaw recipe would be an understatement. There’s no chopping or shredding because we’re using a pre-packaged coleslaw mix. Why? Because I’m lazy and like convenience.
I don’t do summer picnics without some type of coleslaw ready to go. And, lately, I’ve been obsessed with what is known as Carolina slaw. Tangy vinegar and sweet maple syrup combined with a few spices create one amazing and flavorful salad.
There’s no mayonnaise or oil in this coleslaw dressing so it’s very light. But, it’s heavy on flavor!
This tangy coleslaw is the perfect side dish and goes great with Vegan Pulled Pork Sandwiches, Vegan Hamburgers, and Carrot Hot Dogs. But, it’s also great eaten by itself as a stand-alone side dish.
If you’ve always wanted to make homemade coleslaw but just didn’t for one reason or another, now you can and it’s so simple.
Is Vinegar Coleslaw Healthy
Yes! Most homemade coleslaw recipes and premade store-bought versions are not because they’re loaded with dairy, sugar, oil, and fat.
But, this recipe uses fresh vegetables that are tossed in a fat-free vegan dressing. Cabbage is also an excellent source of vitamin C and vitamin K with healthy doses of calcium and potassium.
It’s also very low in calories so you can eat a ton of it. Yay, cabbage!
Origins Of Coleslaw
So, where did coleslaw come from exactly? The Dutch, who founded New York state, was very fond of cabbage salad. They grew cabbage around the Hudson River. They would shred the cabbage to make a salad and they called koosla. Kool means cabbage and sla is salad. (resource)
- Fresh vegetables: cabbage and carrots are the most common and perfect base for coleslaw. I use a pre-packaged coleslaw mix (vegetables only, not the dressing) but feel free to chop your own cabbage and carrots if you wish.
- Apple Cider Vinegar: to make a tangy dressing for this slaw vinegar is absolutely essential.
- Maple Syrup: most vinegar-based coleslaws use sugar as the sweetener. But, maple syrup is the perfect sugar substitute for this recipe.
- Mustard: Dijon mustard for a little extra bite and sharpness. You could also use yellow or ground mustard if you wish.
- Celery Seed: this provides an “earthy” essence and depth of flavor to the dressing.
- Salt and black pepper: I like to wait and season with salt and pepper once the salad and dressing have been tossed together.
How To Make Vinegar Coleslaw
This is such a simple recipe that’s made with a sweet and tangy vinegar dressing then tossed with shredded cabbage and carrots.
- Open the bag of coleslaw and empty it into a large bowl.
- To a small bowl add the apple cider vinegar, maple syrup, Dijon mustard, and celery seed. Whisk everything together until well combined.
- Pour the vinegar mixture over the cabbage mixture and toss until it is completely covered.
- Taste and season with sea salt and black pepper as needed.
You can enjoy the slaw right away but I would suggest letting it chill in the refrigerator overnight. It’s much better the next day.
If you prefer a creamy coleslaw recipe then try my Best Vegan Coleslaw. It uses my cashew mayo as a base. (I really do think it is the best coleslaw recipe. But, that’s just me.)
What To Serve With Vinegar Slaw
- Vegan Carrot Hot Dogs
- Best Vegan BBQ Sandwich
- Blackened Seasoned Tofu
- Vegan Pulled Pork Sandwich
- Chipotle Chickpea Tacos
Vinegar Coleslaw FAQ
How long will vinegar coleslaw keep?
Store any leftover slaw in an airtight container covered in the fridge for up to 3 to 4 days.
Which vinegar is best for coleslaw?
I prefer apple cider vinegar. Red wine vinegar, champagne vinegar, and white vinegar are also options.
Can vinegar coleslaw be frozen?
NO! I don’t feel the need to elaborate. Just don’t do it.
Can I use green or red cabbage?
Yes, both work equally well. Red cabbage tends to be a little milder but I prefer green cabbage.
What’s the best way to shred cabbage?
If you prefer to make your own as opposed to using the prepackaged slaw like me, you can use a knife so that the shreds are a little chunkier. If you prefer finely shredded cabbage use a handheld grater or the attachment on your food processor.
Recipe Variations and Add-Ins
This is a very basic and simple recipe. But, you could always add more veggies and other things if you like. Here are a few suggestions:
- Onion: chopped red onion, sweet onion, or green onions are delicious and adds even more crunch
- Bell Peppers: Green bell pepper or red bell pepper
- Broccoli: fresh broccoli florets make a great addition to this refreshing slaw recipe.
- Nuts: it sounds weird but chopped walnuts work very well in this recipe
Recipe Tips and Suggestions
- Let the slaw sit in the fridge overnight. It’s better the next day.
- Use a pre-packaged coleslaw mix and add some chopped red cabbage and extra carrots for a nice pop of color.
- Celery seed can be a bit strong. So, if you’re new to this seasoning I would add half the amount at first. Then taste and add more if you like.
More Vegan Summer Salad Recipes
I hope you enjoy this healthy vinegar coleslaw recipe. It’s full of flavor and sure to be hit at your next summer potluck. Please leave a comment below with a star rating. I would greatly appreciate it.Print
Best Vinegar Coleslaw Recipe (No Mayo)
- Prep Time: 5 mins.
- Chill Time: 60 mins.
- Total Time: 1 hour 5 minutes
- Yield: 6 cups 1x
- Category: Vegan Side Dish Recipes
- Method: Raw
- Cuisine: Vegan
- Diet: Vegan
This vinegar coleslaw recipe is made with an oil-free, mayo-free dressing that’s tangy, sweet, and delicious. Just 7 ingredients and ready in 5 minutes.
- 1 bag pre-packaged coleslaw of choice (14–16 ounce)
- ½ cup apple cider vinegar
- ¼ cup maple syrup
- 2 Tbsp Dijon mustard
- 1 tsp celery seeds
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Open the bag of coleslaw mix and empty it into a large bowl.
- In a small bowl add the apple cider vinegar, maple syrup, Dijon mustard, and celery seeds. Whisk everything together until well combined.
- Pour the sauce over the coleslaw and toss until completely covered. Taste and season with salt and pepper.
- For best results let the slaw chill for at least an hour in the fridge or optimally overnight. But, it can be served immediately if desired.
Let the slaw sit in the fridge overnight. It’s better the next day.
Use a pre-packaged coleslaw mix and add some chopped red cabbage and extra carrots for a nice pop of color.
Celery seed can be a bit strong. So, if you’re new to this seasoning I would add half the amount at first. Then taste and add more if you like.
- Serving Size:
- Calories: 91
- Sugar: 13 g
- Sodium: 160.2 mg
- Fat: 0.4 g
- Carbohydrates: 20.4 g
- Fiber: 3.9 g
- Protein: 2.4 g
- Cholesterol: 0 mg
Keywords: vinegar slaw, carolina coleslaw, vinegar dressing, vegan coleslaw recipe
Love this recipe. I’ve never liked mayo so traditional slaw has never been my thing. This is perfect all year as a side, topping, or as a salad base to build on with other ingredients.
Trued it and it’s great! Will make this again.
Nice! I love this dressing, it goes great with every salad, such as a kale walnut apple salad! Tasted great in the coleslaw, and I can’t wait to use this to top my veggie burger tomorrow night! I found that I only needed to put about half the dressing for one head of cabbage, 2 large carrots, and 1 red pepper. Rats…I did change the recipe by also adding sunflower seeds, and garlic, fresh parsley and fresh cilantro……but I was mostly looking for an oil free, white sugar free dressing and that was perfect! Thank you so much for the inspiration!
I dont like maple syrup. What could I use as a replacement? Could I use monk fruit sweetener? How much?
Yes, that will work. I would start with 1-2 Tbsp then make it fit your taste.
Thank you for All your recipes. Really enjoy them and I love your background. Heard you on podcast w Rip…and have been a fan ever since!
Wow, thank you so much, Judy!
This was delicious and easy – thank you! What is the serving size for the nutrition information? It doesn’t appear to show.
Perfect! And no fat!!!
One more comment. You mentioned adding walnuts to the coleslaw. I make a delicious one for the holidays that includes walnuts and dried cranberries along with the green and red cabbage and red onion. No carrots. Everyone loves it. The dressing is similar to yours except it uses sugar. I will try it with maple syrup.
I’m a bit late in commenting as I’ve made this coleslaw several times. So yummy! Serving with homemade vegan crab cakes and sweet potato fries done in an air fryer tomorrow night.
Thank you for another great recipe!
Sounded like a recipe I would like so I now have a bowl of it sitting overnight in the fridge. A sample tasting tells me I am going to make this my go to coleslaw from now on.
Thanks for this recipe!
This is fantastic. I subbed Champagne vinegar because I didn’t have apple cider vinegar and it worked great!
That sounds awesome:)
This is the second time I made it.. Have always loved coleslaw but when I went completely plant-based was disappointed with recipes I found or tried to make myself. I Love this. Thanks for the recipe.
What a great compliment. Thank you so much!!! I’d really apprecitate it if you gave it a star rating. It helps with all the google stuff:) Blessings.
Thanks you, Shane. I just made this for later today. A simple tasty recipe…the kind I like.
This Vinegar coleslaw recipe is a Carolina-style cabbage salad and the perfect side dish for your summer barbecue. Made with just 7 simple ingredients, this coleslaw is tangy, sweet, crunchy, and delicious. There’s no mayo and it’s completely oil-free!