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5 Tiny Swaps That Will Make Your Coleslaw Healthier

Looking for simple and tasty ways to make a healthy coleslaw recipe? These dietitian-approved ideas help you create a slaw you can love all year long.

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Fiesta ColeslawTaste of Home

It’s time to replace the traditional mayo-based coleslaw for recipes with more nourishing and flavorful ingredients. Not only will these healthy coleslaw recipe swaps be lower in calories, but they’ll also fill you up with fiber, plant proteins and nutrients. Here are five simple changes to make you coleslaw recipes a little healthier.

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Broccoli slawTaste of Home

Change up your slaw base

The veggie world is wide-open when you create your slaws. Try shredded red cabbage, broccoli, kale, carrots, beets, jicama, shaved Brussels sprouts or thinly sliced fennel. Not only will using a combination of veggies add a burst of color to your bowl, but it will pack it with nourishing antioxidants, fiber, as well as a variety of good-for-you vitamins and minerals. This broccoli slaw recipe does exactly that by combining broccoli, carrot and red cabbage.

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Apple Maple Pecan SaladTaste of Home

Use healthy fats

Sprinkle chopped pistachios, almonds, walnuts or pecans into your slaws for a crunchy and savory taste. Our maple apple slaw gets an upgrade with a helping of chopped toasted pecans. Like in this recipe, you can skip the saturated fat-laden mayo and toss your coleslaw with a freshly made vinaigrette that will also add some heart-healthy unsaturated fat. If you’ve never whipped up your own vinaigrette before, check out this handy guide.

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Honey-Orange Broccoli SlawTaste of Home

Sweeten naturally with fruit

Rather than a tablespoon or two of sugar, toss some sliced apples, peaches, mangos or strawberries into your slaw. You can also some diced dried fruit, such as dates, apricots or cranberries and mix into your slaw, like this colorful slaw that’s packed with raisins and orange zest. If bites full of fruit aren’t your thing, simply add some pureed fresh fruit to the dressing for a more subtle sweetness.

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Moo Shu Mushroom WrapsTate of Home

Add herbs and spices

Mincing fresh herbs like dill, rosemary and thyme into slaws gives coleslaw an aromatic boost without adding extra sugars or fat. Not sure which herbs go well together? Check out our Ultimate Guide to Cooking with Fresh Herbs for help.

Spice blends can also take your slaw to the next level when you don’t have fresh herbs on hand. Curry powder or turmeric will give your recipe a touch of powerful curcumin to fend off inflammation and tickle your tongue with powerful flavor. This curry coleslaw is sure to boost your spirits with the first bite.

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Easy Peasy SlawTaste of Home

Toss in plant-based protein

Make your slaw a meatless meal by tossing in protein like beans, chickpeas or cubed extra-firm tofu (find out how to best cook flavorful tofu, here). Beans, peas and lentils add a heartiness to coleslaw that will fill you up with fiber and lean protein without adding saturated fat or cholesterol.

Vicki Shanta Retelny, RDN
A registered dietitian nutritionist, book author and speaker, Vicki has a passion for helping others embrace simple lifestyle habits that lead to health and happiness. When she is not in the kitchen whipping up tasty, nourishing meals for her family: two children, a husband and pet pug named Stella. Vicki enjoys a soothing face mask, Pilates and the occasional trip to their local sushi hotspot.