This is the type of coleslaw I grew up eating, as my mom can’t stand the mayonnaise versions. German coleslaw (krautsalat or cabbage salad) doesn’t typically include carrots, but it can, and is made with an oil and vinegar dressing rather than mayonnaise, which is more Dutch American.
As with standard slaw, the cabbage and everything else is sliced very thinly. After resting for a little while, the vegetables soften and turn into an all around excellent salad. I’m a big proponent of eating some raw vegetables in the colder months and this is a good way to do that.
Oil and vinegar coleslaw lasts several days in the refrigerator so it’s a good thing to add to your meal prep rotation if you’re into that. Store in a sealed container and take what you need each day.
Ingredient Notes and Substitutions
- Red cabbage: this adds colour, but red cabbage also has a slightly stronger flavour than white, so keep that in mind.
- Apple: fairly traditional, apples add sweetness and make a more complex coleslaw. Use a good eating apple that’s a bit tart.
- Onion: red if possible, but white onion can be substituted.
- Vinegar: apple cider vinegar, preferably, but white wine or plain white vinegar can be used. Lemon juice can be substituted for vinegar. Use about 3 tablespoons, or the juice of an average lemon.
- Mustard: Dijon or German, but not yellow hotdog mustard.
Step by Step
Step 1: make the vinaigrette in a jar or small bowl.
Step 2: grate or thinly slice the vegetables, add to a mixing bowl, and add the vinaigrette.
Step 3: use your hands to massage the vegetables.
Step 4: once mixed, serve immediately or store in the refrigerator.
Use all red or all white cabbage if preferred. You can leave the carrot out or replace it with more cabbage, but don’t omit the apple or onion. A vegan coleslaw will rely more on good ingredients, as there isn’t a thick dressing coating everything.
Use a food processor fitted with the thinnest blade attachment to quickly slice the cabbage. I use my food processor for both the cabbage as well as grating the carrot, apple, and onion (it’s just so much faster). Alternatively, thinly slice by hand and use the large side of a box grater.
As mentioned above, this lasts for several days if refrigerated. It’s essentially pickled, so the vinegar and salt preserve the vegetables. Wilting isn’t an issue here and the salad tastes even better after a day or two, though it’s best served at room temperature.
Other vegetables, like kohlrabi, can be added to the coleslaw if you’d like. Grate alongside the carrots.
If you want to make enough coleslaw for a large group, simply increase the recipe to make as much as you need. Keep in mind the amounts of red and white cabbage and carrots should be approximately equal.
More Cold Weather Salads
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- ¼ red cabbage about 200g (7 oz)
- ¼ white cabbage about 200g (7 oz)
- 2 medium carrots about 200g (7 oz)
- 1 large apple, cored
- 1 small red onion about 60g (2 oz)
- 3 tablespoons olive oil extra virgin
- 2-3 tablespoons apple cider vinegar to taste
- 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
- ½ teaspoon sea salt to taste
- ¼ teaspoon black pepper
- Core the cabbages and slice very finely. This can be done by hand or using a mandolin or a food processor attachment.1/4 red cabbage, 1/4 white cabbage
- Grate the carrots, apple, and onion. Use the large side of a box grater or the grating attachment in a food processor.2 medium carrots, 1 large apple, cored, 1 small red onion
- Place the vegetables into a large mixing bowl.
- Pour the vinaigrette over the salad and use your hands to mix until well combined. Serve immediately or, if you have the time, allow it to rest for at least 30 minutes first.
- Vegan coleslaw will keep for several days in a sealed container in the refrigerator. It can be eaten cold but is best served at room temperature.
- Add the olive oil, vinegar, mustard, salt, and pepper to a small jar or bowl. Shake or whisk until well mixed and the vinaigrette is fully emulsified.3 tablespoons olive oil, 2-3 tablespoons apple cider vinegar, 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard, 1/2 teaspoon sea salt, 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
* For American cup measurements, please click the pink link text above the ingredient list that says ‘American’.
Nutrition is provided as a courtesy and is an estimate. If this information is important to you, please have it verified independently.
This post was first published in November 2016. It has been updated with improvements to the recipe as of March 2022.
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