If you’ve never had coleslaw made without mayonnaise, I hope you’ll try this! I was kind of a weird kid in the fact that I didn’t really like coleslaw growing up. The cabbage always seemed to be drowning in watered-down mayo and it was never very appetizing to me. Fast forward to the present and I’m married to a man who is not a fan of mayonnaise on anything. Funny how these things work out.
The first time I read a no-mayo coleslaw recipe, I thought it was worth a shot. I mean, I love cabbage and carrots and onions…it was the mayo I wasn’t fond of. Sure enough, I was an instant fan and now, 30+ years since trying that first recipe, I make a number of variations of oil and vinegar coleslaw. There’s the basic one I make, which is just shredded cabbage, onions and carrots tossed with a bit of canola or grapeseed oil and then dressed with white or cider vinegar. Add a little salt and black pepper and that’s all there is to it. There’s also one I make (which I’ve posted here) with fresh ginger, garlic, scallions, sesame oil and sesame seeds – toss it with a little grapeseed oil and seasoned rice vinegar and you’ve got a delicious, healthy side dish. Slivered or sliced almonds are great in this also, or even peanuts, if you’re partial.
This version is just as simple, it just has the added tang of Dijon mustard. The basic gist of any of these is this: you don’t need a lot of oil – start with just a tablespoon or two. Drowning your coleslaw in a lot of oil is not going to look or taste good. I don’t add any oil to this recipe because the Dijon serves as an alternative.
You may need to play around with this a bit, to suit your tastes. My “1/2 head of large cabbage” isn’t exactly a specific amount and can vary, obviously,
I shred my cabbage a number of different ways, depending on the quantity of slaw I’m making and (believe it or not) the mood I’m in at the time. I have a Cuisinart food processor similar to this one that makes quick work of cabbage shredding. I also have a sturdy mandolin that I didn’t pay a fortune for and works like a charm. Don’t be sucked into expensive models, especially if you’re not sure you’ll use the darned thing.
No-Mayo Coleslaw with Dijon Mustard Dressing Recipe
- 2 healthy tablespoons Dijon mustard
- 3/4 cup cider vinegar
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 1/8 teaspoon celery seed
- 1/2 head large green cabbage, shredded (I mix it up with red cabbage too, if I have it on hand)
- 4 medium carrots, peeled and shredded
- 1/2 large red onion, sliced thinly and cut into 1-inch pieces
Whisk the mustard, vinegar, salt, pepper, and celery seed together in a large bowl. Add the shredded cabbage, carrots and onions. Toss together until the cabbage mixture is coated. Refrigerate for at least 1 hour before serving, so the flavors have time to marry. Personally, I think this is best if you can let it sit overnight and really let the flavors come together.
At first, it may seem like you don’t have enough dressing but be sure to stir the whole mix together for a few minutes. You may be surprised at how little dressing you really need for this. Also, taste test it as you go – you may find you want to add a bit more Dijon as the flavors develop.
Some other additions that I’ve added, due to what I’ve had on hand, that works beautifully in this: thinly sliced baby bok choy, sliced scallions and/or napa cabbage. Don’t be afraid to play with your food.
Bye, bye mayonnaise!