Vegan Coleslaw

You’ll love this easy vegan coleslaw recipe made with the best coleslaw dressing! You’ll need only a few ingredients to make it and it’s a perfectly creamy and delicious side dish for any summertime meal.

Looking down on the right side of a bowl of coleslaw with a bowl of more coleslaw sauce in the background.

I love a good summer salad recipe. It’s one reason I turn to this Kale Salad so frequently. I turned to inspiration from my Midwestern roots when making this vegan coleslaw.

You’ll love the creamy and slightly sweet dressing served over a mixture of green and red shredded cabbage. That’s why I like to think of this as a vegan KFC coleslaw recipe. It’s so amazing!

Why This Recipe is a Winner

  • Adding both green and red cabbage gives your veggie slaw a op of color and texture
  • Maple syrup makes the sauce tangy, sweet, and irresistible
  • Letting the slaw marinade in the fridge before serving helps soften the cabbage slightly and melds the flavors together.

Key Ingredients

Ingredients are laid out on a table. The labels next to them read, celery seeds, dijon mustard, vegan mayo, vinegar, maple syrup, green cabbage, carrots, and red cabbage.

You can find the full printable recipe, including ingredient quantities, below. But first, here are some explanations of ingredients and steps to help you make this recipe perfect every time.

  • Lemon — We’ll use both the zest and the juice of the lemon.
  • Oats — I used rolled oats for this recipe, but you can substitute instant oats.
  • Chia — We’ll add some ground chia seeds to create a thicker texture. You can use whole chia seeds; I just prefer ground because it creates a smoother finished texture.
  • Syrup — I used maple syrup, but you can substitute agave nectar.
  • Milk — We’ll use almond milk for the best overnight oats! Substitute your favorite plant-based milk.
  • Yogurt — I love adding some plant-based yogurt (plain, unsweetened) for an even more tangy flavor.
  • Protein Powder — I add some vanilla protein powder for increased flavor and nutrients. If your protein powder is not sweetened, you may want to add an extra teaspoon or two of sweetener.
  • Cornstarch — We’ll use cornstarch to thicken the lemon curd topping.
  • Turmeric — A pinch of turmeric makes that lemon curd sunny yellow.
  • Cabbage — We’ll use a mixture of green and red cabbage, finely shredded. See more below on how to shred cabbage for coleslaw.
  • Carrot — We’ll add a cup of finely shredded carrots.
  • Mayo — I prefer vegan mayo, but you can substitute dairy-free yogurt.
  • Vinegar — You can use white or apple cider vinegar.
  • Sweetener — Maple syrup is my go-to sweetener, but you can substitute agave nectar. If you prefer granulated sugar, be sure to stir it in with the sauce until the sugar dissolves.
  • Celery seeds — This is optional, but I love the bursts of celery flavor they provide.
  • Mustard — I use dijon mustard, but you can substitute yellow mustard.
  • Salt + Pepper — Add salt and pepper to taste.
Looking down on a head of green cabbage in the garden, with large dark green leaves around it.

What Cabbage is Best for Coleslaw?

Red cabbage is tougher and therefore requires it to be grated finer. Green cabbage is a favorite for its texture and flavor in slaws. You can substitute with napa cabbage, but it tends to leach more water than green cabbage. When selecting cabbage, look for heavy, compact heads without dried or blemished leaves. You can expect smaller heads to be more tender. Wrap cabbage tightly in a plastic bag and store it in the fridge for up to 2 weeks. Once cut, you’ll want to use the cabbage within 2 to 3 days.

How to Make Vegan Coleslaw

  1. Combine the shredded cabbage and carrots in a bowl. 
  2. Stir together the dressing ingredients
  3. Pour the dressing over the bowl with the cabbage.
    A hand holds a bowl of sauce pouring it over shredded cabbage and carrots.
  4. Stir it together, cover, and refrigerate for up to an hour.

How to Shred Cabbage for Coleslaw

There are many ways to shred cabbage for coleslaw, including using a knife, a mandolin, or a food processor. Each of these processes involves removing the cabbage core first. Here’s how to do that:

  1. Wash the head of cabbage under running water and remove any wilted outer leaves.
  2. Cut the cabbage in half, down through the core.
  3. Cut the halves into quarters.
    Looking down on four quarters of cabbage on a cutting board with a chef's knife beside it.
  4. Use a paring knife to cut in and down around the core on each quarter to remove it.
    Looking down on a cutting board holding four quarters of green cabbage, each with the core cut out. There's a chef's knife beside it with the cut-out core beside it.

How to shred cabbage using a knife:

  1. Use a chef’s knife to cut thin strips of the quarters, resulting in shredded cabbage.
    Looking down on a hand holding a chef's knife, shredding cabbage on a cutting board.
  2. Be sure to cut down on the cabbage, away from your hands.

Shredding cabbage using a mandolin slicer:

  • Place one of the quarters on the mandoline. If it’s too big (extends beyond the sides of the mandolin), cut off a little on one of the sides.
  • Press the guide (to protect your fingers) into the cabbage and press it to gently move the cabbage up and down the mandolin.
    A hand holds a tool shredding green cabbage with a mandoline. There are large pieces of green cabbage beside it.

How to shred cabbage using a food processor:

  • Attach the shredding blade to the food processor
  • Cut each quarter into pieces that are small enough to fit through the top of the food processor’s feeder.
    Cabbage is in the top of a food processor, using the shredding blade to shred it. There is shredded cabbage in the main bowl of the food processor.
  • Use the food processor’s feeder to push the cabbage through, repeating with each section.

Quick Fix Tip

If you’re in a hurry, you can substitute two bags of coleslaw mix, which usually includes shredded cabbage combined with shredded carrots.

Best Vegan Coleslaw Dressing

When it comes to making coleslaw, you have options for a vegan sauce, including:

  • Want your vegan coleslaw with yogurt? Substitute plain vegan yogurt for the mayo for a lighter dressing.
  • Substitute Cashew Cream for the mayo.
  • You can even use this Tahini Sauce in place of the mayo.

You can make the dressing sweeter or less sweet by changing the amount of maple syrup used.

  • Sweeter Sauce — Use 3 to 4 tablespoons maple syrup
  • Less Sweet — Use 2 tablespoons maple syrup.
  • Zero Added Sugars — Stir in 2 to 3 teaspoons of stevia or monk fruit sweetener.

What Goes with Coleslaw?

Coleslaw is a classic side dish you can serve with a variety of main courses. Here are a few ideas for what to serve with coleslaw:

  • Vegan Fried Chicken is a classic pairing with coleslaw. These crispy vegan fried chicken sandwiches and crunchy coleslaw are a perfect match. 
  • Fried Tofu — Another fried main that can be served alongside coleslaw is this crispy fried tofu. Serve it as a sandwich or as fried fillets.
  • BBQ Jackfruit is another excellent option. The smoky, slow-cooked BBQ Jackfruit pairs well with the tangy coleslaw.
  • Veggie Black Bean Burgers are a popular choice for a summer cookout, and coleslaw is a great way to add some extra flavor and crunch.
  • Sandwiches are another excellent option for coleslaw. There are so many vegan sandwich options that pair well with coleslaw. 
  • Vegan Hot dogs make a perfect vegetarian twist on a classic summer food. Serve veggie hot dogs with coleslaw to add some extra flavor and crunch. 

Enjoy coleslaw on its own as a light lunch or snack. Try adding some dried fruit or nuts to your coleslaw for variety.

No matter what you choose to serve with coleslaw, you’re sure to enjoy the delicious combination of flavors and textures.

A bowl of creamy coleslaw sauce sits in front of a larger bowl full of shredded cabbage and carrots.

Frequently-Asked Questions

What is in coleslaw?

Some slaws have a vinegar dressing while others have a mayo-based dressing. When you’re making vegan coleslaw you have options for the dressing base, including vegan mayo, vegan yogurt, and even tahini or cashew cream base.

What cabbage is best for slaw?

Green cabbage is preferred for coleslaw because of its milder flavor, color, and texture. However, you can also use red cabbage and even Brussels sprouts to make your slaw recipe.

Storage Tips

Transfer any leftovers to an airtight container and keep refrigerated for up to 4 or 5 days. If you want to freeze, I recommend freezing only the cabbage mix and then adding the mayo-based sauce after it comes to room temperature.

Looking down on a bowl of vegan coleslaw, showing shredded red and green cabbage.

Vegan Salads

If you love this vegan coleslaw, here are even more tasty summer salads to tickle your taste buds:

Looking down on the right side of a bowl of coleslaw with a bowl of more coleslaw sauce in the background.

Dairy-Free Coleslaw

This simple, but flavorful dairy-free coleslaw will be the hit of your summer picnics. Serve it as a salad, over street tacos, or even on a BBQ sandwich!
5 from 3 votes
Course: Salad
Cuisine: American
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 25 minutes
Servings: 6
Calories: 176kcal


  • 3 cups green cabbage, finely shredded
  • 2 cups red cabbage, finely shredded
  • 1 cup carrot, finely shredded

Slaw Dressing

  • ½ cup vegan mayo
  • 1 tablespoon vinegar (white or apple cider vinegar)
  • 3 tablespoons maple syrup
  • ½ teaspoon celery seeds
  • 2 teaspoons dijon mustard
  • salt and pepper to taste


  • Combine the shredded cabbage and carrots in a bowl.
  • Stir together the dressing ingredients and pour over the bowl with the cabbage. Stir to combine.
  • Refrigerate for up to an hour to allow the ingredients to combine and for the dressing to marinade the cabbage and carrots.

(The products above contain sponsored links to products we use and recommend)


You can make the dressing sweeter or less sweet by changing the amount of maple syrup used.
  • Sweeter Sauce — Use 3 to 4 tablespoons maple syrup
  • Less Sweet — Use 2 tablespoons maple syrup.
  • Zero Added Sugars — Stir in 2 to 3 teaspoons of stevia or monk fruit sweetener.
Calories: 176kcal | Carbohydrates: 14g | Protein: 1g | Fat: 12g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 1g | Sodium: 156mg | Potassium: 227mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 9g | Vitamin A: 3931IU | Vitamin C: 31mg | Calcium: 49mg | Iron: 1mg

The nutrition information shown is an estimate provided by an online nutrition calculator and should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist’s advice.

8 Responses to Vegan Coleslaw

  1. Avatar thumbnail image for MarlySue Reply

    5 stars
    Hi Marly – I love this coleslaw recipe! It is the only coleslaw I make and my friends don’t even know it’s vegan.

    • Avatar thumbnail image for MarlyMarly

      Hi Sue! Thanks so much for your comment. I’m so glad to hear you and your friends like this coleslaw! It’s something about that crunchy sweet that gets me every time!

  2. Avatar thumbnail image for MarlyMaura Reply

    Here is the recipe for the vegan coleslaw I make frequently:
    Red Cabbage Apple Slaw
    Stir all together. Taste and adjust seasonings.
    2 c sliced red cabbage, sliced
    1 large carrot, grated
    1 apple, cored, halved horizontally and sliced into small matchsticks
    1/3 c mayo
    dash celery seeds
    2 T apple cider vinegar
    1 T maple syrup
    1/4 t garlic powder
    s & p

    • Avatar thumbnail image for MarlyMarly

      Hi Maura! This recipe looks amazing! I like the use of apples to add sweetness so less added sugar. Great idea!

  3. Avatar thumbnail image for MarlyRosana Halifax Reply

    What a cool recipe, I have tried different dressing but not this one, definitely I’m gonna try. Thanks.

    • Avatar thumbnail image for MarlyMarly

      Thanks Rosana! So glad you like the look of it. I hope you enjoy it. Coleslaw is so good as a side dish, but I also serve it as a topping on tacos, etc.

  4. Avatar thumbnail image for MarlyCatey Reply

    5 stars
    I never thought of slaw as a condiment, but added this to my black bean burger and it was so good!

    • Avatar thumbnail image for MarlyMarly

      Hey Catey, so glad you liked that suggestion…and this recipe!

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