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Easy Low Carb Coleslaw Recipe – Keto, Vegan, No Mayo

Easy and light Keto Coleslaw Recipe that will be a Summer favorite for you and your family.  No Mayo Coleslaw, vinegar-based and even vegan.

low carb Coleslaw bowl

This homemade coleslaw recipe that my husband, started making a few years ago, when eating low carb was not as popular as it is today.  He is not really crazy about eating a mayonnaise type of coleslaw so he said to me “let’s try to make one using oil and vinegar instead”, and it came out really good!

This low carb coleslaw is a little lighter than the mayonnaise version of coleslaw and perfect for Summer!.  We’ve served it every picnic and everyone went crazy for it and it’s been a staple in our house for years! Now you can make this easy Keto coleslaw recipe at your next picnic too.

Of course, if you prefer mayonnaise then you can just a little to your mix and take out some of the olive oil.  It’s nice to have a variety and we will talk about that a little later in the recipe.  

What Ingredients are in this Coleslaw Recipe 

Keto Coleslaw Recipe ingredients

Cabbage – the main ingredient, can be green or red or both combined. Cabbage comes in a big head so you get a lot for your money, it goes a long way. Right now everyone is talking about cauliflower because it’s being used in so many ways to replace carbs but I think there are a lot of delicious foods made with cabbage, coleslaw being one of them. 

Besides, there are a lot of great vitamins in cabbage,  Vitamin C, B1, B2, B6, A, Potassium, Omega 3, Calcium, folate, and fiber. Also similar are broccoli, Brussel sprouts, cauliflower, and kale.

Because the cabbage is raw in coleslaw, it only makes sense that you are going to get a lot more nutrients than if you cook it. 

Carrots – By using the shredded carrots a little goes a long way. You think that you are getting a lot but in reality, it’s not that much. 

Onions – I like to use red onion because it once again adds color to your bowl. Plus then I also like to add some chopped onion. It adds more of the onion flavor but lighter in taste and also gives your bowl another variation in color and texture.

Does this Coleslaw Have Mayonnaise in It? 

low carb Coleslaw

Of course, using mayonnaise in coleslaw is maybe the most well-known way to make it, but our coleslaw recipe, however, is without mayonnaise. Even though this is a coleslaw recipe without mayo in it if you prefer a creamy coleslaw feel free to change it.

What I like about this kind of coleslaw is that it stands alone at a cookout next to the other mayonnaise salads. It’s a different type of salad and one that is good for people on low carb diets, unlike potato salad and macaroni salad, both having mayonnaise. Plus it won’t spoil easily at a picnic when everyone is worried about the mayonnaise staying out too long…

It’s also a good choice for those on a vegan diet…only vegetables and oil and vinegar and spices.

Other Variations on this Coleslaw Recipe

Also, a lot of coleslaw recipes are made using some kind of sweeteners like sugar or honey or agave…etc. You can certainly do that, but you have to be careful with sweeteners as they can turn your low carb coleslaw into a high carb coleslaw and then that defeats your purpose. Instead ours is a sugar-free coleslaw that’s even better than the others!

So as a suggestion, you can do two things: just use a little sweetener instead of a lot, a little goes a long way, or you can use one of the powdered sugar substitutes like Swerve. That’s what we used in this one and it comes out really good. 

Like a lot of Low Carb recipes, once you have been eating this way for a while, many people find that their sweet tooth diminishes somewhat and they don’t need as much sweetener in things as they did before. 

Other Mix-in Ideas for Coleslaw to add:

If you want to add some other things to your low carb coleslaw for variety, you could always add some raisins, but to stay low carb you can’t add too many because dried fruit has a lot of sugar in it, which brings you carb count up. But what you could do is just throw a few raisins on the top only for garnishing. 

You could also add some apples to your Low Carb Coleslaw, it adds more texture. If you want it to be a little more tart add some green apples like granny smith, or if you want some sweetness then add something like macintosh, or if you want an apple that’s half and half go for the honey crisp, they are my favorites in a lot of things including your low carb coleslaw.

If you like some more crunch go for adding some almonds, which are low in carbs and good in protein. One last crunchy item could be some pumpkin seeds that are also packed with nutrients.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                               

How to Make Low Carb Coleslaw  

The first thing that you need to make your Coleslaw is a big mixing bowl because you will be combining all of your ingredients together into that one bowl.

Keto Coleslaw Recipe low carb

Start by chopping your cabbage, and onions and then place into your bowl. Next shred your carrots and add them. If you are short on time to prep your coleslaw, the grocery stores usually carry Several pre-chopped types of coleslaw, in the lettuce section. It comes in bags.

low carb Coleslaw Recipe

Next, add your oil and vinegar and your spices and sweetener and blend well. 

If you are going to add a sweetener this would be a good time to do so. Then give it one last good stir and stick it in your refrigerator to chill up. 

bowl of Keto Coleslaw Recipe

That’s it, you’re done! I told you this coleslaw was really easy to make!!

The Secret to a Great Coleslaw

Everyone wants to know the secret to great coleslaw. In my opinion, whether you make a mayonnaise-based coleslaw or an oil and vinegar-based coleslaw, the best thing is letting it sit to soak up all the flavors, that’s what is really going to make your coleslaw stand out from the crowd. A lot of foods taste better after a few hours or even the next day is ok too.

However, you want to consider that there’s a fine line between letting your cabbage soak up all the flavors of the things that you added to it and it getting too soggy.  Letting it soak for an hour or two will soften your coleslaw up a little bit, without making it too soggy with your dressing. Doing this will give you all the flavor you want without being soggy. 

Is Coleslaw Low Carb/Keto? 

Yes for sure coleslaw is Keto/Low Carb. It’s just vegetables and oil and vinegar.  Even if you like it a little sweeter and you add a sugar substitute which don’t add any Net Carbs at all. If you are a person that just can’t have your coleslaw this way with oil and vinegar then feel free to add a little mayo, still no carbs in mayo.

Our low carb coleslaw only has 2.2 Net Carbs per serving, and it’s a big serving so chow down!

Is Coleslaw Vegan?

Yes this Low Carb Coleslaw Recipe is also Vegan. It’s only the vegetables and oil and vinegar with some spices. If it had mayonnaise in it, that would make it not vegan because mayonnaise has eggs in it. They are one of the main ingredients in mayonnaise, but you need not worry here!

Shredding the Cabbage vs. Buying Pre-packaged

2 bowls of low carb Coleslaw keto

One thing that you might be wondering is “do I have to chop all of that cabbage or shred the carrots myself?” Well anything you do from scratch yourself is always very nice but in the busy world that we live in and with the number of meals that we eat in a week or a month, it’s nice if we can take some short-cuts in our cooking and still have our food taste as we slaved over it for hours.

In this case, you can take a couple of short cuts and buy pre-packaged cabbage which makes it easier for you, and at the same time have a very delicious Low Carb Coleslaw.

What I do for this recipe is start out with the pre-shredded coleslaw mix that comes in a bag, something like the lettuce that comes chopped in a bag. Then I cut up some purple cabbage myself and throw it in with the pre-cut green cabbage. 

Another shortcut you can take is with the carrots. You could peel and shred your own carrots but why do that when you can find them in a small bag already shredded for you. Keep it simple.

I always say that your food should taste homemade but if there’s a simple way to make something, then go for it. That way it’s duplicatable in the busy world that we live in. You can make it and then share it with a friend too. 

At certain times of the year, especially in March, the cabbage goes on sale really cheap so you may get a better deal to buy a whole head and shred it yourself, but mostly I just buy it in bags shredded. It’s one of the cheapest vegetables to buy. 

Try it both ways and see which way that you prefer.

How to Shred Cabbage:

I get lots of questions on how to shred cabbage, and it can seem tricky, but it’s really easy.  However, there are 2 ways to successfully shred the cabbage, you can either shred it by hand, using a good large knife. It’s not very hard to cut and you can shred a whole head in just a few minutes. 

Or you can use a mandolin slicer for your cabbage and your carrots if you don’t buy them already sliced. In this recipe, I bought the green cabbage and carrots already shredded in bags and then I cut the purple cabbage myself. It only took 5 minutes. Try it both ways and see which way you prefer. 

Is this Coleslaw Recipe gluten-free? 

Yes for sure it is gluten-free. My friend is severely allergic to gluten and this is one of the things that she can eat because it’s just vegetables and spices and oil and vinegar. She always looks forward to the new recipes that we have developed in our kitchen, making this coleslaw recipe perfect for her.

The coleslaw goes so well with so many meats, especially in the Summer, it’s one of those foods that when it’s so hot out it’s refreshing, and surprise surprise it can be a meal all by itself if you’re not too hungry or if you are on a vegetarian diet. 

What to serve Coleslaw with:

huge bowl of Keto Coleslaw

In Summertime you can serve any of the many delicious types of meat with it that gets cooked on the grill. Like burgers, hot dogs, kielbasa, brats, chicken, steak, pot roast, and the list goes on…..One thing that our family thinks goes real good with coleslaw is cooking up a few racks of baby back ribs. Another great pork option is pulled pork

Recently we had a special family dinner because it was the first night that my daughter in law arrived from Italy for the Summer. And one thing she loves is BBQ sauce. So along with the ribs and the coleslaw we made low carb bbq sauce and low carb keto mac and cheese, all of which we have put those recipes on our website for you to enjoy too. And what’s best is that they are all Keto/Low Carb.

Another nice thing about this coleslaw is that when you bring it to a picnic, it will be sitting side by side next to potato salad and macaroni salad, 2 other popular side dishes with hot dogs and hamburgers, both mayonnaise-based, but this coleslaw, being oil and it’s in a league all of its own.

When it’s hot out and the hostess of the picnic is worried about leaving the mayonnaise salads out for fear they will spoil quickly, this coleslaw holds up much better.  For people that can’t have mayonnaise or carbs, this low carb coleslaw is a sure winner.

Can you Make your Low Carb Coleslaw in Advance? 

Yes, you can make your coleslaw in advance. Whether its a few hours ahead or even a day ahead, the advance preparation gives a chance for the flavors to soak in and enhance. That makes your low carb coleslaw tastier the next day. 

If you don’t want to mix the cabbage with the oil and vinegar until you are ready to serve it, for fear it won’t be as fresh as it could be and be a little soggy you can do that too. Just mix up everything else the day before and then add your oil and vinegar just before serving your low carb coleslaw. 

How to Store Coleslaw, How Long Does it Last?

The best way to store your coleslaw is to put it in a container with a tight-fitting lid. That way it will stay fresh for about 4 or 5 days in your refrigerator. Your coleslaw may start to settle in the bowl in the refrigerator and look like less volume.  

If after a couple of days your coleslaw starts to get too wet, then just add a little more shredded cabbage and mix or if you would prefer, just drain off the excess liquid. If you store it the right way it will taste even better the next day than it did the first day. As much as my family loves it the first day they love it even better the next day. So wrap it good and enjoy it. 

Keto Coleslaw in a bowl

Other Similar Low Carb Recipes:

If you’re in the mood for some other Keto Side Dishes then try our:

Both of them are Keto-friendly and low carb, and will have your friends raving!

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Keto Coleslaw Recipe

Easy Low Carb Coleslaw Recipe

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  • Author: Leigh Oskwarek
  • Total Time: 15 minutes
  • Yield: 12 Servings (1/2 Cup per serving) 1x
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This easy and light Keto Coleslaw Recipe that will be a Summer favorite for you and your family and a perfect side dish! No Mayo Coleslaw, vinegar-based and even vegan!


  • 4 cups shredded green cabbage
  • 1 cup shredded purple cabbage
  • ½ cup shredded carrots
  • 1 small red onion, sliced thin
  • ½ cup scallions, chopped
  • 6 Tbsp olive oil
  • 4 Tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tsp powdered Swerve
  • ½ tsp celery seed
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ¼ tsp black pepper


  1. First chop cabbage and place in a large mixing bowl.
  2. Shred carrots and mix together with the cabbage.
  3. Chop red onion, and scallions, then add to the cabbage mixture. 
  4. In a small bowl add the oil, vinegar, Swerve, and spices. Whisk together. 
  5. Pour oil mixture over cabbage and toss thoroughly.
  6. For best results, let chill for at least an hour in the fridge before serving.


NET CARBS – 2.2 per serving

So throw some of your favorite meats on the grill this Summer and enjoy your delicious Low Carb Coleslaw as your side dish. Make enough so that you can have leftovers other nights, which will make it easier when you come home from work and part of your dinner is already made!

And don’t forget when you make your coleslaw to do it a couple hours ahead of time so you can let the flavors really soak in before you eat it. 

When you are done eating it for the night, drain off any excess liquid and then throw on a tight fitting lid and your Low Carb Coleslaw will last for a few days.

It’s gluten free so feel free to make it for any  of your friends who can’t eat any gluten.

  • Prep Time: 15
  • Category: Side Dishes
  • Cuisine: American
Recipe rating 5 Stars 4 Stars 3 Stars 2 Stars 1 Star


Thursday 30th of September 2021

How does 3 cups of shredded cabbage and 1/2 cup of carrot shred and some onion become twelve 1 cup servings of coleslaw? The volume just doesn't work out for me. Maybe a 1/2 cup serving size, or 1/3 cup serving size?

Leigh Oskwarek

Thursday 7th of October 2021

Hi Susie, Sorry for the typo error on the coleslaw recipe. It should be 12 1/2 cup servings. It's 4 cups green cabbage, 1 cup of purple cabbage, along with carrots, onion, scallions. Enjoy!

Leigh Oskwarek

Wednesday 6th of October 2021

Susie, It's obviously a typo. I will look up our original recipe and get back to you asap.