Simple Coleslaw Recipe

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Cabbage can make a tasty, affordable salad, especially when purchased on sale. This cole slaw recipe bursts with sunshine flavors of lemon, carrot, and chive. Add this Simple Coleslaw to your meal plan tonight!

serving platter of coleslaw with potatoes and chicken

You may know coleslaw as that gloppy stuff you buy at the deli counter, a little overly sweet, the crunch almost nonexistent.

If that’s the only coleslaw you know, then I’d like to change that.

Coleslaw can be sweet (but not in a bad way). It can be tangy, even a little spicy. And in my mind, it should always have a little bit of a crunch to it.

Simple Coleslaw

This Simple Coleslaw recipe is full of bright and crisp flavors and textures, perfect for those end-of-winter doldrums. And it makes use of seasonal produce as cabbage, carrots, and chives tend to do better in colder weather or are long keepers. The sunflower seeds add great crunch and texture.

It’s also just as welcome at a spring baby shower, a summertime barbecue, or a fall picnic.

Cabbage is a particularly inexpensive cole crop, so it makes for good cheap eats all year round.

Add this coleslaw as a side dish or sandwich topping next time, and see if you aren’t swayed to the fresh cabbage ways.

Why is it called coleslaw?

Koolsla is the dutch word for cabbage salad. 

What is the difference between coleslaw and slaw?

A coleslaw is a salad made with shredded cabbage while a slaw can be made with other shredded vegetables like broccoli or carrots. Broccoli Slaw is yummy!

dinner plate with chicken, potatoes, and coleslaw

How do you make Coleslaw?

Coleslaw is incredibly easy to make, especially when you can buy a bag of coleslaw mix in the cooler of the produce section. The mix is just a combination of shredded cabbage (usually green but sometimes green and purple) and shredded carrot.

You can shred your own cabbage which is great for saving a few more pennies.

To the shredded cabbage mixture you add a vinaigrette or creamy mayo-based dressing. You can serve it right away or chill it for several hours to let the cabbage soften a bit and absorb some of the flavors.

How to make this good and cheap:

Here are some of the strategies you can use to make this recipe even ore economical:

  • Shop the stores that have the best prices. When I did my big grocery store showdown, I learned that ALDI has the best prices for a lot of the things I buy,  including cabbage and coleslaw mix.
  • Shop the sales. I typically make cabbage recipes when I see cabbage on sale, but it’s pretty economical at its regular price as well.

Pro tip: Usually cabbage goes on sale in March in anticipation of the shoppers who prepare boiled cabbage for Saint Patrick’s Day. Watch for incredible sales on cabbage during the early weeks of March.

plate of simple coleslaw

The beauty of seasonal sales is that you are in no way required to use said sale item for the reason that its price was lowered. Nope. You don’t have to eat boiled cabbage!

And this Simple Cole Slaw is a great way to do that!

How I make this recipe easy:

This recipe really couldn’t be easier than it is, but having the right kitchen tools can really make your time in the kitchen more enjoyable. Over time, I’ve honed my collection so that they are perfect for my needs.

Here are the tools that I use for this recipe:

5 from 1 vote
Simple Cole Slaw Recipe
Prep Time
15 mins
Total Time
15 mins

Cabbage can make a tasty, affordable salad, especially when purchased on sale. This cole slaw recipe bursts with sunshine flavors of lemon, carrot, and chive. Add this Simpler Cole Slaw to your meal plan tonight!

Course: Salad
Cuisine: American
Servings: 8
Calories: 121 kcal
Author: Jessica Fisher
  • 10 ounces shredded cabbage about 8 cups
  • 1/2 cup shredded carrot about 1 large
  • 1/4 cup roasted and unsalted sunflower seeds
  • 1 tablespoon chopped chives
  • 1 tablespoon chopped parsley
  • 1/3 cup lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon brown sugar
  • salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  1. In a large bowl combine the cabbage, carrot, sunflower seeds, chives, and parsley.
  2. In a small bowl, whisk together the lemon juice and brown sugar. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Add the olive oil in a thin stream, whisking to blend.
  3. Pour the dressing over the salad and toss to coat well. Chill before serving.

Recipe Notes

You can serve it right away or chill it for several hours to let the cabbage soften a bit and absorb some of the flavors.

Nutrition Facts
Simple Cole Slaw Recipe
Amount Per Serving
Calories 121 Calories from Fat 99
% Daily Value*
Fat 11g17%
Saturated Fat 1g6%
Sodium 13mg1%
Potassium 123mg4%
Carbohydrates 5g2%
Fiber 1g4%
Sugar 2g2%
Protein 1g2%
Vitamin A 1430IU29%
Vitamin C 18mg22%
Calcium 20mg2%
Iron 1mg6%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

Simple Coleslaw | Life as Mom

About Jessica Fisher

I believe anyone can prepare delicious meals—no matter their budget.

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  1. Another thing that is yummy is a simple coleslaw on sandwiches! We did a BBQ chicken sandwich last night with coleslaw. I make a lighter coleslaw with a little sour cream and no mayo, some vinegar and dash of sugar with spices.

  2. Sharon says

    Yay! A coleslaw recipe that doesn’t involve mayonnaise! Thank you!

  3. Molly says

    I have no blog, so I offer my cabbage recipe in the comments:
    Poppyseed cabbage

    Shred cabbage. Juice an orange (or a lemon, or lime, whatever citrus you have). Cook cabbage in a skillet (I think with a small bit of oil, but not much at all), add orange juice, cook a little more, add poppyseed. Eat. Delicious.

    • Molly says

      And CHEAP! I forgot cheap.

  4. I just made an awesome deconstructed cabbage casserole but I haven’t posted it yet. I don’t cook a lot with cabbage but I like it SO much!

  5. Love that your coleslaw dressing doesn’t contain mayo. Sounds a little classier, a little healthier, and way yummier!
    I linked a Frugal Vegetable Soup that contains lentils, zucchini, and cabbage. It’s so simple, but so delicious.

  6. Did you know you can freeze vinegar based slaw? I was unsure when I first tried it, but it can be done! It’s a great summer make ahead side dish.

    • Jessica Fisher says

      Yes! I have one in the Cookbook. 😉 I haven’t frozen this one, so I can’t make any promises. Lemon does funky stuff to food in the freezer sometimes. But, yes, definitely with vinegar based slaws!

  7. Hattie says

    Okay, I realized today that this is absolutely the only thing I make that involves cabbage–and I only found this recipe a month or so ago! We’re recent SoCal transplants from the Midwest, where they never even say “fish” and “taco” in the same sentence, let alone cook both simultaneously. But, with all the fish taco places in the LA area, we decided to try it within a month or so of moving. We liked them, and I then decided to try making them at home.

    I found this recipe with rave reviews, tweaked it a bit for our preferences, and I must say that it is fabulous! I was surprised to see that it called for cabbage topping, because the fish tacos that we tried at a restaurant were dressed with iceberg shreds, just like other types of tacos. But, since it had such rave reviews, I decided not to swap out the called-for cabbage with lettuce, and I am so glad I did! The extra cabbage crunch and the sauce for the recipe absolutely make it!

    I think now I need to broaden my cabbage cooking horizons, though. I’ve never cared for the mayonnaise-based coleslaws that you typically find in the Midwest, but I think I might like Fishmama’s vinegar-based version!

    Hope someone enjoys this recipe!

    Fish Tacos

    1 cup all-purpose flour
    2 tablespoons cornstarch
    1 teaspoon baking powder
    1/2 teaspoon salt
    1 egg
    1 cup beer or 1/2 C white wine and 1/2 C ginger ale (We never buy beer–just don’t like the taste. So, I tried the white wine and ginger ale combo and it worked!)

    1/2 cup plain yogurt
    1/2 cup mayonnaise
    1 lime, juiced
    1 jalapeno pepper, minced

    1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
    1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
    1/2 teaspoon dried dill weed
    1 teaspoon ground cayenne

    canola oil for pan frying

    1 pound white fish fillets, cut into about Chick Fil A chicken nugget size pieces (sorry, that was the best size description I could think of)

    tortillas (recipe called for corn, but we prefer flour, so that’s what I used)

    1/2 medium head cabbage,
    finely shredded


    1. To make beer batter (or white wine/ginger ale batter): In a large bowl, combine flour, cornstarch, baking powder, and salt. Blend egg and beer, then quickly stir into the flour mixture (don’t worry about a few lumps).

    2. To make white sauce: In a medium bowl, mix together yogurt and mayonnaise. Gradually stir in fresh lime juice until consistency is slightly runny. Season with jalapeno, oregano, cumin, dill, and cayenne.

    3. Heat oil in skillet over med-high heat.

    4. Dust fish pieces lightly with flour. Dip into beer batter, and fry until crisp and golden brown. Drain on paper towels. Lightly fry corn tortillas; not too crisp. If using flour tortillas, steam wrapped in damp paper towels in microwave

    To serve, place fried fish in a tortilla, and top with shredded cabbage, fresh cilantro, and white sauce.

  8. Yum! I didn’t take a picture, but I made a very yummy (my daughter said it was her favorite dish ever) noodle dish that contained chinese cabbage (still on sale – score), sliced carrots, sliced scallions, sliced portabella mushrooms and noodles sauteed in a bit of sesame oil and tossed with soy sauce and some lime zest! It was barely cooked so everything was still a bit crunchy – yum!

  9. Kelly says

    We make a simple cabbage salad.
    2 bags shredded cabbage
    2 diced cucumbers, peeled
    about 1/2 C lemon juice
    about 1/2 C oil
    about 3 T garlic salt

    Place in a lidded container. Shake. Leave in fridge for a few hours.

  10. Stacy says

    Looks good–thanks. I have started using cabbage more and more. I love to roast it–red or green–it’s great. Also, I make a spicy coleslaw from a Racheal Ray fish taco recipe. I didn’t even think of looking for cabbage on sale, but it’s too late now for me. Anyway, I’ll save this one and make it when I have all the ingredients.

  11. thank you for this. I’ve got 1/2 a head sitting in the crisper that needs some loving!

  12. Stacy says

    Since you mentioned sales, I thought I’d say that I saw cabbage on sale for about 50 cents today at Vons in the “Just For You” program. If you’re in Southern CA, it’s a good time to buy cabbage right now.

    • Jessica Fisher says

      Thanks for the tip!

  13. Kim says

    5 stars
    Light, crunchy, and fresh. Yum!

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