Sweet and Tangy Coleslaw

4 from 2 votes

Ditch the mayonnaise-based coleslaw for good!

Sweet and Tangy Coleslaw

Not a fan of traditional, mayonnaise-based coleslaw? Or maybe you love it, but you’re trying to find a healthier, plant-based recipe? No matter the circumstances, you’ll absolutely love this Sweet and Tangy Coleslaw recipe. It’s a fun, delicious new take on the typical, boring coleslaw you’ve come across at every picnic and backyard barbecue. 

In addition to the lack of mayo, this recipe also uses healthy ingredients to slash calories. Once you realize that potluck dishes don’t have to pack a calorie-heavy punch, you’ll be planning a cookout every weekend!

Healthy Ingredients, Bright Colors, and Flavors You’ll Adore

This sweet and tangy coleslaw pairs well with burgers, barbecue, or any other cookout recipes!

We created the perfect duo by joining colorful, nutrient-dense ingredients with sweet and tangy flavors. You simply won’t be able to pass them up! Luckily, with a recipe this low-calorie, you won’t have to.

Bring on the Nutritious, Vibrant Veggies!

Bright and colorful green cabbage, carrots, and red bell pepper make this recipe stand out from all of the other side dishes on the table. These eye-catching ingredients also happen to pack a hefty dose of nutrients, too! 

Green cabbage is an excellent source of vitamin K and vitamin C, promoting healthy bones and helping repair the body. We all know that carrots are good for your eyes, thanks to their concentration of vitamin A. Red bell pepper also happens to be beneficial to your eyesight, and offers a hefty dose of vitamin C and antioxidants.

Creating a Low-Calorie Coleslaw with a Sweet and Tangy Taste

This delicious Summer side dish will be a hit at your next backyard barbecue!

We’re trading in creamy, mayo-based coleslaw for a lighter, sweet and tangy recipe. We accomplished this by using apple cider vinegar and a bit of pure maple syrup. The zesty flavor of the vinegar pairs magnificently with the sweet syrup, and the creamy Dijon mustard brings it all together. This side dish is sure to please both lovers and haters of traditional coleslaw varieties.

A Note On Apple Cider Vinegar

You’ll find that some of the most nutritious recipes out there include apple cider vinegar, and this is no coincidence. Aside from its low-calorie count (only 25 calories in ½ cup), it also offers a wide range of healthful properties. 

Apple cider vinegar (ACV) is believed to be beneficial to weight loss. One study suggests that it can increase feelings of fullness, thus controlling appetite. Furthermore, ACV also contains antimicrobial properties, which may be able to help your body fight certain types of infections. Apple cider vinegar is also believed to be able to lower blood sugar, cholesterol, and blood pressure

Main Course, Anyone?

Our Instant pot barbecue ribs are the perfect main course to pair with this yummy coleslaw.

While we wouldn’t blame you if you just wanted to eat this delicious coleslaw right out of the mixing bowl, it’s even better when combined with your other summer favorites!

Coleslaw pairs perfectly with pretty much any protein you’d make on the grill (think skewers, burgers, or fresh fish). It also goes exceptionally well with barbecue. Try serving our skinny, sweet and tangy coleslaw with some of our other BBQ favorites, like:

4 from 2 votes

Sweet and Tangy Coleslaw

Our mayo-free, sweet and tangy coleslaw, makes the perfect addition to any spring or summertime cookout.
Yield 6 servings
Serving Size 0.75 cup
Course Side Dish
Cuisine American


  • 1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1/4 cup pure maple syrup
  • kosher or sea salt to taste
  • 1/4 cup canola oil
  • 2 tablespoons dijon mustard (I used Grey Poupon Country Dijon)
  • 6 cups green cabbage thinly sliced
  • 1/2 cup carrots grated
  • 1/2 red bell pepper diced
  • 1/2 cup sweet onion grated (I used Vidalia)
  • 1 teaspoon caraway or celery seeds
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper freshly ground


  • Whisk together the first 5 ingredients.
  • In a large mixing bowl, combine cabbage, carrots, bell pepper, onion, caraway seeds and black pepper. Add the vinegar mixture and toss to coat. Serve immediately or refrigerate until ready to serve.

Nutrition Information

Serving: 0.75cup | Calories: 116kcal | Carbohydrates: 12g | Protein: 1g | Fat: 7g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Sodium: 35mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 9g |
SmartPoints (Freestyle): 5
Keywords Quick and Easy, Vegetarian

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More Healthy Side Dish Recipes

Searching for more picnic and cookout-worthy side dishes? If so, we think you might also like these delicious recipes:

1. Maple Baked Beans

These maple baked beans are super easy to make, and are full of sweet and delicious flavor!

You’ll never buy premade baked beans again after trying this delicious recipe! The sweet and savory flavors of these maple baked beans will complement any burger, hotdog, or barbecue-based dish perfectly! Plus, it only takes 20 minutes to prepare!

2. Grilled Corn on the Cob with Basil, Olive Oil, and Sea Salt

There's nothing better than fresh, grilled corn on a warm Summer day spent in the backyard!

Corn on the cob is one of the most popular sides to serve at a cookout, and for a good reason! This recipe is super simple, but it’s flavors are anything but basic! Fresh basil, olive oil, and sea salt (combined with the smoky flavor of the grilled corn) create one truly mouthwatering side!

3. Old-Fashioned Potato Salad

You'd never know that this satisfying and creamy potato salad is good for you (and plant-based, too!)

We’ve placed a plant-based spin on an old-fashioned potato salad recipe, creating a totally healthy and delightful side dish. With such a tremendous amount of flavor, you would never know that it’s both mayo-free and oil-free, drastically reducing the calorie count. 

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Gale Compton

Gale co-founded SkinnyMs. with a goal to provide women with delicious recipes, fitness routines, and ways to reach their ideal weight. Gale has been featured on the Today Show in which she won a cook off for the best Lasagna. Be sure to search for her winning recipe, Skinny Lasagna Rolls.

Guided by her firm belief in healthy eating and the power of exercise, Gale has written two cookbooks and several fitness ebooks. She earned her Fitness Training Certification from, National Exercise & Sports Trainers Association. Gale loves to run with her dog Maggie and has completed numerous half-marathons.

More by Gale


    1. Kim, You can, just be sure it is a lighter olive oil, I would recommend Extra-Virgin specifically for salads.

  1. this was a great slaw – just the right amount of sweet and tangy – I did use a pre chopped veggie salad from Trader Joe's so I didn't have to spend as much time in the kitchen – a great salad to take to a bbq!

  2. My dressings been in the fridge for about three weeks. There doesn't seem to be anything in it that would go bad, and it was in a tightly sealed glass container so I'm going to eat it. It's kinda glob-by, but here goes.

  3. Didn't have any caraway or celery seeds so will prob chop some celery leaves and put them in. My husband doesn't do mayo, milk or cheese so this was a great slaw for us! Hated grating the onion but it adds a nice invisible spicy element. My first time making a slaw ever and will make this more often! Thanks for sharing!

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