I’m not a big fan of traditional coleslaw. Call me crazy, but I really don’t get the appeal of raw cabbage swimming in mayonnaise soup. That’s why I make my coleslaw without mayonnaise.
Instead, I use lemon juice, a little honey and generous dose of olive oil. The latter two ingredients add depth, while smoothing out some of the sharp edges of the lemon juice. Not only is it healthier, it makes for a light, citrusy contrast to the foods of summer, be it an unctuous rack of barbecued ribs, or a greasy leg of fried chicken.
I’m going to guess there are a few of you reading this and shaking your heads saying, “that’s not coleslaw”. Just to set the record straight, the word coleslaw comes from the Dutch word koolsalade, which literally translates to “cabbage salad”.
Lately the word “slaw” has taken on a life of its own, referring to salads made with all kinds of vegetables such as kale, carrots, and kohlrabi. The one thing they all have in common is that they’re all shredded.
I used lemon here, but this is also great with vinegar, or lime juice. I also like to add celery seed or caraway occasionally and while I personally steer clear of mayo, whole grain mustard is a condiment that plays nicely with cabbage.
When buying a head of cabbage for coleslaw, you want to find a young fresh one, as the leaves tend to get tough as they mature. Look for a firm head that’s heavy for its size.
Try a healthier alternative with this no-mayo coleslaw recipe with lemon juice and honey for extra flavor. Food blogger Marc Matsumoto explains why he prefers his coleslaw without mayo in a full blog post on the Fresh Tastes blog.
- 1/4 small red cabbage
- 1/2 small green cabbage
- 1/2 carrot, shredded
- zest of 1/2 lemon
- 1/4 cup lemon juice
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 1 tablespoon honey
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
- Remove any tough outer leaves from the cabbage.
- Trim the core and any tough stems from the cabbage and thinly slice.
- Add to a bowl with the shredded carrot, lemon zest, lemon juice, olive oil, honey, salt and black pepper. Toss to combine.
- Serve this right away for more of a salad, or store it in the fridge overnight for a slaw that’s more pickled.
Yield: 6-8 servings
Marc Matsumoto is a culinary consultant and recipe repairman who shares his passion for good food through his website norecipes.com. For Marc, food is a life long journey of exploration, discovery and experimentation and he shares his escapades through his blog in the hopes that he inspires others to find their own culinary adventures. Marc’s been featured in the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, and USA Today, and has made multiple appearances on NPR and the Food Network.