No Mayo Coleslaw

A mandoline will make slicing cabbage much much easier than using a knife.

If the seasoned rice vinegar adds too much sweetness for your taste, add a sprinkle of lemon juice. If you are using unsweetened rice vinegar, to get the right balance of acidity and sweet, sprinkle a little sugar over the salad and toss.

  • Prep time: 10 minutes
  • Yield: Serves 4


  • 4 cups thinly sliced cabbage (about 1/3 to 1/2 cabbage)
  • 1 carrot, grated
  • 2 radishes, thinly sliced
  • 1 green onion, thinly sliced
  • 1/4 cup (packed) fresh cilantro, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon seasoned rice vinegar (or plain rice vinegar with added sugar to taste)
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste


1 Assemble the salad: Place the thinly sliced cabbage, grated carrot, radish slices, sliced green onions, and cilantro in a large serving bowl.

2 Toss with dressing and serve: Right before serving, sprinkle with olive oil, rice vinegar, salt and pepper, and toss to coat.

Serve immediately.

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  • Douglas

    Elise, I have been following you and tweeting out your recipes for a little while now. I am very impressed with your work. All your recipes have been delicious. This one is no different. Mayo can be very fatty and I am not a fan of too much fat on a warm summer’s day. Your recipe without mayo makes this very refreshing. So light and delicate when I paired it with a ribeye. Delicate enough to feel a lot better about pairing with country style potatoes as well. I am a really big fan of your work. Even though I am doing all this for a college class, I plan to keep on following your recipes.


    • Elise Bauer

      Great Douglas, I’m so glad you are liking the recipes! And yes, this coleslaw is light and refreshing. It would be great with ribeye.

  • melissa

    Made this coleslaw last night and loved it. You’d really be missing out if you didn’t add in the cilantro – it’s what makes this salad stand out! Definitely a new favorite – even won over my picky boyfriend!


    • elisabeth morrissey

      What does cilantro taste like to normal people? I have the gene mutation that makes it taste like soap and ruins anything it’s in.

  • Jennifer S

    This was a great coleslaw! I added some lime juice. Yummy! Refreshing, simple, and perfect! A new staple. Thank you for sharing. Love your site!


  • thuy "T"

    Ok this is may sound weird but my Vietnamese Mother has made this “coleslaw” all my life (minus the radish). We eat it with plain white rice and any kind of salty meat- chicken or pork cooked with fish sauce. the combo is delicious and the rice balances out the flavors!

  • Kate

    I often use rice vinegar as a base for coleslaw — it’s great with some fresh ginger and toasted sesame seeds to make an Asian style coleslaw that’s especially nice with seafood. I’ve never thought to use it with a southwestern dish before, although my grandmother hates tart things and puts rice vinegar in all her salad dressings.

    Does adding sugar to the plain rice vinegar really make it taste like seasoned? I’ve always added mirin.

  • Kitty

    I make a similar Mexican coleslaw using cabbage, shredded carrot, shredded jicima, jalapeno, and cilantro. The dressing is lime juice, a little orange juice, olive oil, garlic, and cumin. Absolutely delicious!

  • Allyn

    This reminds me of an Asian-style cole slaw I learned to make in one of my cooking classes… cabbage, shredded carrots, sesame oil, rice wine vinegar, cilantro, almonds, sesame seeds, and a little salt and pepper. Simple, but *heavenly*.

    I will definitely try this recipe soon, Elise – sounds fantastic!

  • Alex D.

    I love vinegar based coleslaw. I started making them after realizing how healthy and cheap cabbage is. Some weeks I’ll buy a big head of it and make coleslaw as a side dish for the rest of the week, for under $3. Assemble it in a storage container with a lid, and you don’t even need to wash anything. Perfect with turkey sloppy joes, fish sandwiches, BBQ or anything grilled, and of course Fish Tacos.

    Also I add a finely chopped serrano pepper to the vinegar and oil dressing, along with a bit of lime juice. But then again, there’s almost nothing I’m not willing to add lime and spicy to.

    I find it will last for around 5 days dressed. By the end you may notice the pink from the radish bleeding into the cabbage.

  • Val

    I love all kinds of coleslaw and this one looks great!! I would probably add some lime juice to it though as others have suggested to give it more of a southwestern kick.

    I recently made a “Texas Two Step Slaw” recipe that I found online – it sounded rather strange but it was actually good – it had mexicorn, jalapenos, cheddar cheese, red onion and cilantro and prepared ranch dressing with lime juice and cumin. The cheese and ranch dressing really threw me off, but my daughter wanted to try it so we did and it was pretty darn tasty.

    It was (of course), not as fresh or light as the one posted here, but it was good for a change!!

  • Cora @ Cora Cooks

    I adore fish tacos and am always looking for the perfect slaw to tuck inside, so I’ll have to give this a try. I like to add a little orange zest and freshly squeezed orange juice to my slaw, probably because the first fish taco I ever tasted had a lovely citrus finish. Mmmmmmmm . . . fish tacos!

  • Alecia

    I make a similar slaw when we have fish tacos. I like to use lime juice and white balsamic vinegar. Usually I add in avocado and corn as well.

  • Damon McMullen

    This recipe looks great but my question is what can be used in place of the cilantro? Thanks.

    Well, it is the cilantro that is its defining taste. But… some people really don’t like cilantro. You could put in some arugula, that’s what we often do. It won’t be “Southwestern” anymore, but maybe add some cumin or some lime juice to it. ~Elise

    • elisabeth morrissey

      People who “really don’t like cilantro” (such as I) can’t help it. It tastes like soap to us. I thought it was my weirdness until one day when I was watching a program with Rachael Ray. She used flat-leaf parsley in a recipe that called for cilantro. She said cilantro tasted like soap to her and it was a revelation to me. I started doing some digging and discovered that there is a gene mutation that some people have that is responsible for the taste perception.

  • Heidi

    This looks so yummy, thanks Elise! Can you give us any tips for slicing cabbage with the mandoline? I have a mandoline and I love it but I can’t figure out how to use it for cabbage.

    Hmm, be careful? Sometimes it helps to cut the cabbage in half or in quarters first. A large cabbage can be a little unwieldy. Place the mandoline over a baking dish or a large bowl, so that the cabbage has a contained place to land while you are slicing it with the mandoline. ~Elise

  • KV

    Is there a possible substitution for the rice vinegar? Maybe regular vinegar or lime juice? Rice vinegar is hard to find where I live. Thanks. Love the site!

    Regular vinegar and some lime juice would work great. ~Elise

  • ellise

    I’ve got a similar recipe — I add chipotle, garlic, a little cumin, too, which really spices up the old cole slaw, and I make it specifically for fish tacos. Hooray that it’s cole slaw season!