This creamy Vegan Coleslaw is whipped up in just 5 minutes and the perfect easy vegan side salad to serve with BBQ tempeh or topped on Buffalo Cauliflower Tacos. This dairy free slaw tastes just like the fresh summer classic you know and love!
Why You’ll Love This Recipe
- 6 simple ingredients. I’ve worked hard to only include the absolute essentials in this vegan cabbage coleslaw. I also prepared it with ingredients I almost always have on hand because chances are, you do too! This vegan coleslaw is as simple as it gets.
- Made with pre-chopped bagged coleslaw mix. In order to throw this cold salad together as quickly as possible, I used a bagged cabbage and carrot mix. If you’re shredding your own, don’t worry! Full measurements for you down below as well.
- Best ever dairy free coleslaw. Many traditional versions of coleslaw created in the United States contain buttermilk and contain dairy. This version contains no buttermilk or vegan milk alternatives.
- Made in one bowl. In addition to being made with simple ingredients, this slaw recipe comes together quick and easy in one bowl. Fast cleanup for busy weeknights!
Ingredients and Substitutions
- vegan mayonnaise – I’ve prepared this mayo coleslaw with quite a few different vegan mayonnaise brands and almost work well with very similar results. If you are using an avocado oil based vegan mayonnaise, the flavor is still good but the results are less creamy and fluffy because the oil in the mayonnaise breaks down quicker.
- lime juice – My secret ingredient for the best, tangy vegan coleslaw is using fresh lime juice. It adds the perfect flavor that you just can’t get with another acid. For an even stronger lime flavor, add 2 teaspoons of lime zest.
- apple cider vinegar – Apple cider vinegar helps balance the sweetness in the mayonnaise and maple syrup. If necessary, you can substitute it with white vinegar. I don’t recommend substituting additional lime juice – this vegan coleslaw dressing needs the additional sourness from the vinegar.
- celery seed – Note that celery seed and celery salt are not the same thing and cannot be used interchangeably. Celery seed is made with just dried celery and adds a bright and subtle bitterness and is essential to brightening the flavor of the homemade coleslaw dressing!
Step by Step Instructions
- Whisk together the homemade coleslaw dressing. In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the vegan mayonnaise, maple syrup, celery seed, apple cider vinegar, and lime juice until smooth and creamy.
- Add the cabbage and carrot mix. In the same bowl with the vegan coleslaw dressing, add the vegetable slaw mix on top.
- Toss to combine. Using serving utensils or a spatula, toss the cabbage coleslaw in the vegan coleslaw dressing until completely coated and the dressing is evenly incorporated.
- Cover and chill. Tightly cover the bowl with a lid, saran wrap or tin foil and transfer to the refrigerator. Chill for 30 minutes or up to 1 hour. Serve immediately as a side salad.
How to Cut Cabbage for Slaw
Although using bagged coleslaw mix is a great option for busy weeknights or easy vegan dinners, sometimes you’ve got a full cabbage head on hand that you want to use up.
To cut cabbage for slaw, you can use three methods:
- Knife and cutting board.
- Food processor with a slicing blade attachment (fastest method!)
For all methods, you will need to cut the cabbage into quarters. Rinse the cabbage head under cool water and peel off the outer layer and any wilted cabbage leaves.
On a cutting board with a sharp knife, cut the cabbage in half and then each half in half again, creating 4 cabbage wedges.
How to Shred Cabbage with a Knife
Place each cabbage wedge flat side down on the cutting board and thinly slice each wedge longways into long, thin shreds or crosswise for shorter shreds.
How to Shred Cabbage with a Mandolin
Using a mandolin with the blade of your desired thickness, carefully slide each cabbage wedge over the blade until shredded. For best stableness, slide the cabbage wedge over the blade with the flat, cut side of the wedge on the blade.
How to Shred Cabbage with a Food Processor
Place the cabbage wedges down the food processor feed tube and press them down into the blade with the feed tube pusher. Continue until all cabbage is shredded. This method will shred the cabbage in seconds!
Note that these methods will also work for shredding carrots, if you have those too!
When stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator, dressed vegan coleslaw will last up to 5 days. You may find that some of the dressing will pool to the bottom of the storage dish – this is okay. Just toss the cabbage and carrot mix in the dressing again before serving any leftovers.
No. Freezing coleslaw is not recommended because it will change the texture of the cabbage and cause it to release excess moisture. Fresh cabbage is the only cabbage that should be used in coleslaw.
Although coleslaw can store for up to 5 days, if you are planning to prepare coleslaw for dinner or guests, it is best to prepare just an hour or so before the meal. The fresher the coleslaw, the more creamy and crisp the slaw will taste.
Tips for Success
- If you are on a budget, cut the cabbage and carrots yourself. Pre-mixed bags are convenient, but they are about 3 times more expensive than cutting it yourself. Get your best bang for your buck and shred it yourself.
- Use fresh lime juice! Bottled lime juice does not compare to the flavor of fresh.
- Keep this recipe on hand for summer dinners. It really does come together in just 5 minutes, making it perfect for pool parties, hot summer nights, or as a creamy topping to your favorite vegan burger or BBQ dish.
What to Serve Vegan Coleslaw With?
- In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the vegan mayonnaise, lime juice, apple cider vinegar, maple syrup and celery seed.
- Add in the cabbage coleslaw mix.
- With serving utensils or a silicone spatula, toss the coleslaw mix in the coleslaw dressing until evenly coated.
- Cover the mixing bowl with a lid, saran wrap or tin foil and refrigerate for 30 minutes to a 1 hour until chilled.
- Serve immediately as a side salad or topping.
- If you are using a cabbage head and carrots instead of a pre-made mix, use 2-3 cups red cabbage, 2-3 cups green cabbage and ½-1 cup of shredded carrots.
- Vegan mayonnaises that are avocado oil based are less stable in their whipped texture and melt back to oil more quickly than other vegan mayonnaises. The flavor is still good but they are not as creamy.
- For a stronger lime flavor, add two teaspoons of fresh lime zest.
General note about salt
Please pay attention to the type of salt called for in the recipe (if applicable). Not all salts are made equal and cannot be substituted 1 for 1. If you are substituting table salt for kosher salt, you will need to cut the amount called for in the recipe by at least half.
Disclaimer: The Nutritional Information provided for this recipe is only an estimate. The accuracy of the facts listed is not and cannot be guaranteed.