Carrot & Cauliflower Coleslaw Without Cabbage or Mayo

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by Maggie Turansky

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Are you looking for a quick, easy and tasty coleslaw without cabbage or mayo? Do you want a crowd-pleasing salad dish to bring to a barbecue or picnic (make sure to check out my potato salad recipe for another idea)? Whatever your reasons, my carrot, cauliflower and apple slaw is sure to be exactly what you’re looking for.

Far too many coleslaw recipes drown mountains of soggy cabbage in a heavy, mayonnaise-based dressing that really isn’t the best thing to bring to sit outside for hours at a sunny barbecue. There is also often a fair amount of sugar in traditional slaw, as well.

My recipe also doesn’t use refined sugar and only adds a tiny bit of honey to take the edge off of the acidity of the bright vinaigrette that it’s tossed in. So if you’re looking for the perfect recipe for carrot coleslaw without mayonnaise, then look no further. This one is sure to be a hit.

Carrot & Cauliflower Coleslaw Without Cabbage Recipe

So without further ado, let’s get into the nitty-gritty of how to make this fantastic carrot and apple slaw with a spiced vinaigrette instead of a mayo-based dressing. And to start off, let’s make the dressing.

This coleslaw uses a very zingy apple cider vinaigrette in lieu of a mayonnaise and sour cream-based dressing.

And because of the way the carrots and cauliflower tend to absorb the dressing, it has a high vinegar-to-oil ratio than a typical vinaigrette. If you’re not a fan of such astringency, then just either decrease the amount of vinegar or increase the oil content.

Carrot & Cauliflower Coleslaw
Carrot & Cauliflower Coleslaw

So to begin, pour some good-tasting apple cider vinegar into a small bowl. Then, whisk in a drizzle of honey, some dijon mustard, a grated or very finely minced clove of garlic and some garam masala.

I love the spiciness that garam masala gives but if you don’t have this or don’t want to buy it for one recipe, you can sub in some curry powder, ras el hanout, or even 1/4 teaspoon of cumin, 1/4 teaspoon of ground cardamom, 1/4 teaspoon of cinnamon and a 1/4 teaspoon of black pepper to get the same kind of flavours.

Once this is all well combined, slowly drizzle in the oil while whisking constantly. This will emulsify the dressing and allow it not to separate and also aid it in adhering to your vegetables. Set the dressing aside for later.

Adding the oil while whisking your dressing
Adding the oil while whisking your dressing

Now, peel a few large carrots and grate them on the large holes of a box grater or in a food processor. I find that the large holes of the box grater to be preferable because they give the carrots a bit more texture than the small holes. The carrots were far too feathery when grated on the small holes. Plus, it takes longer to grate! Add the carrots into a large mixing bowl.

Next, cut a small head of cauliflower in half and remove the core. You can easily do this by cutting a v-shaped notch around the core with your knife and pulling it out with your fingers.

Slice the cauliflower into thin slices and then continue to chop it into nice, bite-sized pieces. It’s up to you how big or small you want them to be, but I prefer them to be relatively small. Add this into the bowl with the carrots.

If you have a large cauliflower, only use half of it and then use the other half in something like my roasted chickpea and cauliflower salad!

Slicing the cauliflower for your coleslaw
Slicing the cauliflower for your coleslaw

Then cut an apple into four panels along the core. Slice each panel into thin slices and then stack those on top of each other and slice into thinner strips still. Toss the julienned apples into the bowl with the carrots and cauliflower.

Next, thinly slice a red onion. I find that onion slices separate most easily when I slice the onion in half and then remove the root end by cutting a v-shaped notch with my knife (kind of like a scaled-down version of coring a cauliflower, honestly).

Then, make some thin slices of onion, toss them around to try and separate the layers if they’re being stubborn, and cuck them into the bowl with the rest of the things.

Finally, chop an ample amount of parsley and add it to the bowl. Don’t chap the parsley too finely here as you want its flavour to be a major player with all of the rest of the components.

Now all there is left to do is pour your dressing over the carrot slaw and mix to combine. Give it a taste to adjust for salt and pepper.

Mixing the coleslaw
Mixing the coleslaw

It will likely taste pretty astringent right now, but give it time to absorb the flavours and allow everything to kind of meld together. This is why I say to refrigerate the coleslaw without cabbage for at least two hours and preferably overnight. It gets a lot better when you do this.

Once the slaw has sufficiently rested, you can serve alongside anything that you would choose!

Carrot & Cauliflower Coleslaw without Cabbage or Mayo

Carrot & Cauliflower Coleslaw Without Cabbage or Mayo

This carrot, cauliflower and apple slaw is tossed in a zingy vinaigrette and is sure to be a hit at your next barbecue or picnic
5 from 1 vote
Servings 6
Prep Time 15 minutes
Additional Time 2 hours
Total Time 2 hours 15 minutes


  • 120 ml apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tsp honey
  • 1 tsp dijon mustard
  • 1 tsp garam masala
  • 1 garlic clove grated or very finely minced
  • 60 ml neutral oil
  • 4 large carrots peeled and grated
  • ½ head cauliflower finely chopped
  • 1 apple julienned
  • ½ red onion sliced


  • In a small bowl, whisk together vinegar, honey, mustard, garam masala and garlic until well combines. Whisking constantly, slowly drizzle in oil until emulsified in the vinegar mixture. Set aside.
    Adding the oil while whisking your dressing
  • Combine carrots, cauliflower, apple, onion and parsley in a large mixing bowl. Pour over dressing and stir until well combined. Cover and refrigerate for at least 2 hours or overnight to allow flavours to meld.
    Mixing the coleslaw



Calories: 140kcal | Carbohydrates: 13g | Protein: 2g | Fat: 10g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 0.4g | Monounsaturated Fat: 8g | Sodium: 54mg | Potassium: 338mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 7g | Vitamin A: 6811IU | Vitamin C: 28mg | Calcium: 31mg | Iron: 0.4mg

Disclaimer: Nutritional information is automatically generated and provided as guidance only. Accuracy is not guaranteed.

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This coleslaw without cabbage can be used in any instance where a traditional coleslaw would be served. Super easy to throw together and incredibly zesty and flavourful, this is sure to be a hit at your next picnic or barbecue!

Are you searching for a great carrot slaw recipe? Have any questions? Let me know in the comments!

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Maggie is the creator behind No Frills Kitchen. She is a world traveller, home cook and recipe developer who loves to experiment with new cuisines and techniques at every chance she gets. No stranger to improvising and making do with the equipment and ingredients she has available, she is passionate about sharing her knowledge with others. Read More

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