This low-carb healthy coleslaw has no mayo and is made with cabbage, carrots, parsley, a bunch of delicious seeds, and a special secret ingredient: papaya!
For whatever reason cabbage doesn’t make it into our diet very often. It doesn’t have the same reputation as broccoli, or green beans, does it? Do you ever reach for cabbage just because? To have it on hand?
Well, you should! Cabbage is an amazing superfood full of nutrients. It lasts for a loooong time even just on the counter. Cabbage is low in calories but super filling. You can eat it raw or cooked. And now comes the best part: cabbage is dirt cheap!
I have a super delicious mayo-based carrot cabbage slaw as well as a braised red cabbage recipe on the blog, but I’m convinced once you made this healthy coleslaw you’ll grab a small white and a small red cabbage every time you go to the grocery store. Now let’s get into the recipe.
Ingredients & Substitutions
- Cabbage — you can use either all white, all red, or a combination of both. Nutritionally speaking it makes little difference. I like using both so the coleslaw looks prettier and has more color but using just one color will give you the same benefits.
- Parsley — you all know I’m a huge fan of cilantro but in this healthy coleslaw recipe I really do think parsley tastes better. That being said, you do you :)
- Carrots — carrots are optional but again give beautiful color and texture.
- Papaya — oh boy! Papaya is the secret ingredient that makes this slaw the BEST in the world! I know how hard it is to get your hands on ripe papaya or papaya that will ripen nicely on the counter when you don’t live in a tropical country though. So if you can’t get it use mango instead. Will be just as delicious.
- Seeds — I love a mix of pumpkin, sesame, and poppy seeds but pumpkin alone is the only one that’s really important for crunch and flavor. It’s the seed that stands out the most.
- Dressing — to keep it simple, easy, and lower on fat and calories use only sea salt, pepper, olive oil, and lime juice. The combo of this let’s the papaya, cabbage, carrots, and seeds flavor shine through.
How To Make Healthy Coleslaw
- Slice — thinly slice cabbage with a mandoline or a sharp knife, julienne the carrots, cut the papaya in small pieces, and finely chop the parsley. Then add all the produce to a large bowl.
- Add seeds — Add 6 Tablespoons seeds to your healthy coleslaw for protein, fat, iron, and crunch.
- Season — no need to create a 50-ingredient dressing for this, keep it simple and just add sea salt, pepper, olive oil, and plenty of lime juice.
- Mix — mix it all together and give it a taste test to see if it needs more salt, then let it sit for about 5 minutes to marinate and serve.
Super easy! Am I right?
Coleslaw is NOT good for freezing. I don’t recommend it at all. Generally raw, unblanched veggies do pretty terribly in the freezer. The good thing is healthy coleslaw lasts a decent amount of time in the fridge!
Store it in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 4 days. Give it a good mix before serving to incorporate the juices back into the slaw.
What To Serve This With
My favorite way to eat healthy coleslaw is as a side dish to baked chicken breast and a slice of homemade bread.
When I have leftovers in the fridge though I often just paid it with a hard-boiled egg and call it lunch.
Frequently Asked Questions
That depends ENTIRELY on the dressing you add. High-fat, high-sugar dressings can make coleslaw pretty unhealthy. However, this coleslaw right here is super healthy and good for you.
Many restaurant or ready made coleslaws have a lot of mayonnaise and/or sugar which make them high in calories but by making coleslaw from scratch you have full control over the ingredients and the dressing to make it healthy and low-calorie.
Yes! All three! It’s suitable for just about any diet.
- 10 oz cabbage (white, red, or combo of both) - 300 g / 5-6 cups sliced
- 3.5 oz carrots - 100 g / 3 carrots
- 7 oz papaya - 200g / 1" ring or medium papaya
- 0.5 oz parsley - 15g / 1 hand full
- 1 Tbsp poppy seeds - 10g
- 2 Tbsp sesame seeds - 15g
- 3 Tbsp pumpkin seeds - 30g
- 3-4 Tbsp olive oil - 45-60 ml
- 2-3 limes
- sea salt
- Thinly slice the cabbage with a mandoline or a sharp knife, julienne the carrots, cut the papaya into small pieces, and finely chop the parsley.
- Add everything to a large bowl and add seeds and season with sea salt, pepper, olive oil, and lime juice.
- Mix well and let marinate for about 5 minutes before serving.
This recipe was inspired by Cookie + Kate.
Paula Rudd says
What could be used instead of the papaya?
Lorena Grater says
As I write in the blog post under “Ingredients and substitutions” >> Mango