This healthy coleslaw has one secret ingredient – apples! They add a slightly sweet, super crunchy balance to the traditional savory dressing. This paleo coleslaw goes great with BBQ or on fish tacos.
How to Make Healthy Coleslaw
The key to making this coleslaw is to use the sweetness of fruit to avoid the use of white sugar. You don’t need a ton of ingredients to make a good coleslaw either. This recipe only contains six ingredients total and is one of my favorites. It will also fit paleo and Whole30 diet plans as well. I think we automatically assume since it’s covered in a creamy sauce that coleslaw isn’t all that good for you, but the opposite is true. This one is packed with lots of fresh veggies and fruit and not too heavy with the mayo.
Buying Pre-Shredded Cabbage
To make my life easier, I’ll usually buy the pre-packaged shredded mix that contains red and green cabbage along with carrots. My favorite is from Trader Joe’s but I’ve also found this at Kroger and Whole Foods where you get your fresh veggies. You can also buy these things separately and just use a mandoline or thinly slice the cabbage and carrots with a sharp knife.
Apples in Coleslaw
My favorite part about this recipe is adding chopped honeycrisp apples to the mix. They still keep that crunch that you get with fresh cabbage and carrots, but with the added sweetness. I’m not sure why more people don’t do this! It’s one of my favorite ways to mix up this otherwise traditional recipe. Because apple cider vinegar isn’t permitted on a migraine elimination diet, adding apple juice is a great way to get a similar flavor without the fermentation.
Do you have to use honeycrisp apples? Not necessarily, but you do want them to be a little sweeter so keep that in mind. Fuji or gala may work too.
Tips for Keeping it Crispy
If you’re planning to make this healthy coleslaw recipe ahead for the 4th of July or a BBQ but you’re worried about it getting soggy, my favorite tips are:
- Mix the dressing in the bottom of the bowl and then place the cabbage, carrots, and apples on top. Then place the bowl in the fridge.
- Toss together about 5-10 minutes before you intend to serve, but place back in the fridge once tossed.
How to Make a Vegan Coleslaw
This is super easy, but all you have to do is sub regular mayonnaise for my Aquafaba Mayo recipe. This is especially helpful if eggs tend to be a trigger for you too. But how easy is that?! That’s literally the only sub you need.
Other Ways to Use
While this makes a great side dish, coleslaw has a great way of adding extra veggies and flavoring to other dishes. Some of my favorite ways to mix it up are:
- Topped on BBQ Pork Sandwiches (or tacos)
- On Baja Fish Tostadas
- With simple Oven Ribs
- In Chicken Tinga Tacos
Apples give this traditional coleslaw recipe a twist that adds some sweetness without sugar. This recipe is paleo, Whole30, gluten free, and can be made vegan with aquafaba mayo.
- 1/4 cup mayonnaise
- 2 green onion, chopped
- 1 tablespoon apple juice
- 1 tablespoon distilled white vinegar
- 2 tablespoons parsley
- 3/4 cup honeycrisp apple, chopped
- 12 oz coleslaw mix (shredded cabbage and carrots)
- kosher salt and pepper to taste
In a large bowl, mix the mayo, green onion, apple juice, vinegar, and parsley together until combined. Place coleslaw mix and chopped apple on top.
Toss everything together when 5-10 minutes away from serving and put back in the fridge to continue to chill. Taste and adjust any seasonings! Serve cold.
- You can buy pre-shredded coleslaw mix most places, just toss out the dressing if it comes with it.
- Gala or Fuji apples can be subbed for honeycrisp, but I like honeycrisp the best.
- This serves 4-6 people depending on portion sizes and whether you're using it as a side dish or topping on BBQ sandwiches.